I have spent my whole life working so hard trying to achieve the next highest rung on the ladder. Perpetually climbing, the rungs never stopped. I just kept pushing my body, my heart, my mind to go higher and higher.
The last few months, risking death and having to fight for my life, the ladder evaporated in my hands. It wasn’t until now that I realize I had been climbing to distance myself from my own pain and insecurity. I thought if I outran the ways I wasn’t enough, I could leave them behind me. But you cannot outpace fear. You must actually ultimately reconcile with it.
Disease kicked the wind out of me. It slowed me down enough to realize that I had been running a race all on my own. A race I could never really win. A race that I was mostly losing anyway. The only way to freedom was to quit the race. And so I have.
I don’t care about the next big thing. Instead I am quiet. I am small. I am still. The chase shaped my life, my identity, for so long I honestly do not know who I am without it. I am just me.
I don’t know who that is yet. That journey alone is scary as hell. Without the familiar ties and anchors that bind me to a concrete reality, I am just floating far far out at sea. I don’t have any shields to hide behind anymore.
Letting it all go is part relief, part insane fear. It is so much for comfortable to climb inside the box, fit inside it so the boundaries and edges are clear. Life outside those confines is uncertain and profoundly vulnerable. This during a time when we all feel compelled to take up arms to protect ourselves and the ones we love. And who could blame us?
But perhaps this is the only way I can grow into whatever is next. If I sound melancholy, I don’t intend to. While there is sadness here, there is mostly just space. More space than I ever imagined. So much space it feels big and scary and overwhelming but also very tranquil and authentic.
All I know for sure is that I am not hiding. By putting down what no longer serves me, I am whole maybe for the first time ever. For today, despite all the unanswered questions, that is enough.
Give ‘Em Hell
4 Comments Add yours
Your writing speaks to me! Thank you
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Thank you so much for sharing that with me. 🙏🏻
This is so beautiful, Katie. Thank you for sharing the contents of your heart in such an eloquent, relatable way.
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Thank you for your kind note. I really appreciate it.