When you are in your twenties you see yourself as somewhat invincible. You have youth on your side and in your mind, you believe you can do or should be able to do anything you put your mind to. You’re young, energetic and you’re smart. The world is a place where you can realise your dreams, after all, that is what the movies have led us to believe. You model yourself on the characters you’ve watched on screen all your life. You look at older women around you. Your mother, grandmother, aunts and think to yourself, I’m definitely going to have a better life than they do. You even judge them for their choices wondering how they could allow themselves to be in these situations that you deem less than desirable. You grow up and realise that life is not binary. It is nuanced, it is complicated, exciting, heartbreaking and requires flexibility. You have to look through all the noise, the façade, the avatars and the optics that are presented to you. A deeper understanding of what is actually happening around you is required.
In the past my life was largely based on what was presented before me. The pretty picture, the happiness, the fun and the seemingly successful and not so successful. I knew that there was something more, but I chose to ignore it because I wanted to fit in. I would see things differently from people, look into their souls and at the time I didn’t understand why that was. Why certain people or events gave me an uneasy feeling in my stomach. You know something is off, but you don’t know how to process it in your mind. You throw your thoughts out to the world, but then the response is not what you expected so you shut down. You retreat to your natural state of not wanting to rattle the cages, make people uncomfortable because what you’re seeing is different from them. Slowly you start hiding yourself more and more. Blending in all the while not feeling quite settled. You question every decision you make, seek counsel from sources that don’t really add much value to you. You are polite so naturally you don’t tell people that what they’re saying doesn’t resonate with you, you push on and nod in agreement. This goes on for years. You try to be all that is expected of you from your family, friends, colleagues and even yourself on some level. You are caught up in a false sense of self which will inevitably end in a train wreck. Oh, but this doesn’t happen overnight, it builds up over years, decades even, until one day you are forced to take a hard look at yourself. You have no choice, but to stop and face yourself in your most vulnerable state. This is when the journey really begins.
We all start out with plans for where we want to be by a certain age and what we want to have achieved by then. Some of us are fortunate enough that most of what we wrote down in that journal 15, 20 years ago has come to pass. The rest of us like me, are not. I barely remember what I wanted 15 years ago. What I thought I wanted is of no consequence now because I have had to rebuild my life after having gone through some shit. All my worst fears have come true. Everything that I thought I could never survive has happened. So where do I go from here? What do I do with the rest of my life? How do I tell my story in way that inspires others or at least gives them comfort that even though you didn’t get all the things on your list, you can still go on to have a fulfilling life? The world has a very finite way of measuring greatness. The accolades, center stage, the attention and money. Finding what greatness means to me is a journey I have decided to explore. I am defining what greatness is for me. It’s not an easy task, but I know in my heart that it will be worth it.
The most important thing about finding greatness for yourself is to make sure that it is a true reflection of who you are. It requires you going deeper into your core being, letting go of belief systems that have been drummed into your head for years. Rewriting the stories that you have been telling yourself about who you are. The mind is such a difficult thing to change because it is filled with so much noise. Your fears, your traumas, insecurities all cause you to build a certain narrative about yourself. In all this you forget to stop and truly look at yourself, I mean taking a really hard look at yourself. So I asked myself again what greatness means to me, is it what I imagine it to be or something else completely? Will I find greatness in the most unexpected place or thing? The key for me is to remain open as I navigate this new chapter in my life. I’m not the person I was 10 or even 5 years ago. That person is gone and is never coming back. People often talk about going back to their true self, I think it is time for me to go towards my true self. This is something only I can define for myself. I believe in my heart that in doing this, I will find my greatness.