A friend told me the other day, “It seems like you always know what is right. You are so strong and you will figure things out in the end.” It seems like it, dear friend, but I do not always know either. Of course, I don’t have the answer to everything but I can admit that. Half of the time I sit down and draw a complete blank but I love feeling my way in the dark, grasping into the void for the things that make sense to me. And I love to look back on difficult times in my life when I felt I did not know anything and remembering what that felt like. Someone whom I love very much said to me, “You just told me what you think. Now tell me how you fell.” The closest thing that felt like feelings to me were more like longings: I wanted a cottage at the lake and watch the sunset. I wanted to sip a beer at the fireplace while sitting in a comfortable lounge chair. I wanted to be surrounded by beautiful things and most importantly, I wanted to be loved.
I had many friends who I liked and a job I liked most of the time. I used to say that I felt grateful for my job, but I didn’t feel grateful. I just knew I should feel grateful for it. I had boyfriends who were nice; I thought I was probably lucky to have them. I didn’t always feel lucky, though. So I got a new boyfriend, and I felt a little luckier, but I still didn’t really know what love is.
I never really know what the future holds for me but I can predict it to some extent. At some point, I wanted a house. Then I wanted a child, then I wanted to get married but just having a child and getting married sounded pretty horrible. I loved some of my boyfriends, I really did but I never thought they can make good husbands or fathers to my child. Actually, being their girlfriend sounded pretty terrible, too. But maybe I was just too negative. I just wasn’t sure. My gut told me no. My problem was that I felt plenty of things but never really trusted my own feelings to guide me. Asking an ex too many questions would mean an argument so it was easier to say nothing because that way at least I would feel safe and secure and nothing would have to change. But this just led to me not trusting myself, because I was mad for not bringing up the subjects that bothered me the most. I also learned not to give myself a hard time about every goddamn thing under the sun. I just think, “I am here, trying. I am a person who tries my best. I do what I fucking can. It is okay to just try.” I teach my son the same.
When I started to accept all this, I was initially overcome with feelings. I sometimes burst into tears but this is a beautiful thing. I thought, ” I am feeling really sad right now, and weak, and beat, and lost, and that is not just okay; it is good. It is exactly how I need to feel in this moment and the sadness does not make me weak. I just find my way in the dark.”
Uncertainty and vulnerability are the guides through this life we are all living. It is a good thing because leaning into not knowing will bring more knowledge and wisdom and understanding than I ever dreamed of. Being truthful and open and honest with yourself means letting in those scary emotions and noticing the angry self-talk and embracing all of it.
What does not feeling and excepting your feelings lead to? It throws you into a defensive, self-attacking stance which sucks because you are miserable, angry and uncomfortable with your own self. This in combination with negative self-talk and powering down of emotions is toxic and can lead to depression.
So, I follow my uncertainty and fear into the darkness, I accept that the darkness will always be a part of me. I am just a person who does not know all the answers and I don’t know what the future will bring but I can close my eyes anytime to feel how good it is to be alive, how good it feels just to breathe. Life is not about knowing but about feeling your way through the dark. I don’t say, “this should be lighter by now, ” because this means I am shutting myself off from my own happiness. I let the darkness be present even if this means that I have to get on my knees to crawl through it. Then I say, “Holy s*** it is dark but look at me crawling. I can crawl like a motherfucker.”