Today I’m starting my forty-seventh trip around the sun (yes, it’s my birthday). Weather here is cloudy with a chance of showers all day today into the coming week. I’d love to sit inside and take it easy but alas, I must drive in order to make money because my big goal for my forty-seventh trip around the sun is to save enough money for my schoolie (a school bus turned into a house on wheels).
In my last trip around the sun, I survived a worldwide pandemic, a huge winter storm in San Antonio (mild compared to a lot of places but in a place not conditioned for this it was epic), severe downturns in my earnings, massive waves of anxiety, and massive hormonal roller coaster rides (which probably fueled a lot of the anxiety waves). But I also finally started writing my non-fiction trilogy and haven’t thrown anything out on it, too.
These waves of anxiety have been something I’ve been trying to sort out for a while as I try to figure out the source. In the last couple of days, I’ve had a thought in my mind: I kick into management-mode, or crisis-management mode way too easily, so easily it feels like a default setting. So I asked myself why that was and the answer I found is early conditioning and reinforcement that dug its talons deep into me. And now I’m having to remove those razor-sharp talons out of me and that is not an easy process, my friends.
The management mode came from taking on responsibility way too early in life, for myself and for my emotions. Then it came from being given responsibility for others at a pretty young age, then taking on even more responsibility at a time when most people are living their own lives (my twenties). Overlay that with a healthy dose of daily and weekly crises, and also feeling like I had to manage things so as not to set people off and deal with their emotional storms… yeah, it’s no wonder why I feel so screwed up. The icing in this shit-cake is that no matter how much I did, or didn’t do, for some people it was never enough, or good enough. But if anyone thought I knew what I was doing, or that I looked like I had my shit together… I was making it up as I went along most of the time and just doing what worked or figuring out what worked as I did it. Any answers I had were flimsy as hell and worst of all, I had no real confidence in my abilities. And also, I felt like a failure most of the time.
In the years since my twenties, I’ve felt like I’ve been playing at being responsible or sensible. I say this because that lack of self-confidence didn’t give me strength. My strength has mostly come from fear of losing everything I have so it’s not stubborn pride or determination like so many people have thought.
In the wind-down to the end of my last journey around the sun, I realized I’ve begun to find my self-confidence. I say ‘find’ because I felt like I lost it so many years ago, and that I gave it away to people who had no idea what I was giving them. I deferred to them in silence and tried to show them I had no confidence in myself because if I did, I would be told I had ego and stubborn pride. This is why being told I had pride stuck my ass hurt me so much because it wasn’t true. When I didn’t show my emotions or just plowed through things, I was just wanting to be left alone and not take people’s shit, or take on the responsibility of managing their lives when I shouldn’t have had to.
There’s a lot more to this than I’m writing here but I’m writing it here because I’ve been silent about for too long. This is where my story is as I start my next journey around the sun here: the recovery of my self-confidence. Because I really hate feeling anxious and scared shitless as much I do sometimes (yesterday was especially bad for me until I hit the road and drove that shit off).
One of the things I hate to admit here is how much anxiety has taken from me, and how much I fed it with my own stupidity due to the self-confidence I gave away like a fool. I can’t regain the time I’ve lost in the past, but I will learn how to use the time I have now and in the future I’m given to not let it slip away from me. And I’m sure as hell not going to give it away again. I haven’t done that in a long time and I know I won’t do that now.
A year from now, I hope to be writing this from somewhere other than where I’m at now. I don’t know if it will be as I make my way down the highway of the epic American road trip (the trip from Alaska to the tip of South America) but I hope it is somewhere other than here. Because as much as I love my hometown, it’s time for me to spread my wings and see the world. And write and make my way in the world as a writer once and for all.
Because in the last year as I’ve talked about this dream of mine, no one’s crapped on it. It’s like the world and the people in it have changed along with me.
So I’m off now on my forty-seventh journey around the sun. May it be a good one.