If you read my post The Winds of Change, you’ll know that life wasn’t easy for us last year. And I’ve struggled to write much since then, and though I’ve tried not to put too much pressure on myself, I can’t help but be self-critical and anxious about my problems with motivation and working through trauma.
Maybe it’s just the way I was brought up – to believe that traditional ways of looking at success – achievement, money, status, contributing to society in some way – are markers of my worth. It’s frustrating to me that I take a few steps forward and then more steps back. Or at least it feels that way at times. But I’m learning to be kinder to myself.
In my heart, when I look at the people around me, I don’t judge their value by any of those things. I value their kindness, their capacity for love, their attitude and wisdom. Maybe some people value status and money more, but for me, life isn’t about that. I understand in a capitalist society and culture, we need money to get by, to experience things, but it isn’t my driving force.
I grew up having to work hard and achieve because, being deaf, I felt like I had so much more to prove. To myself and within hearing culture. But I don’t feel that life is about that. Life isn’t a collection of certificates and numbers. My experience of doing an MA, for example, is more valuable to me because of the people I met, and the things I discovered about myself.
I said to my Mum a few months ago that I feel like I’d forgotten what living looks like. What a regular life feels like. We’ve been coping with one thing after another for what feels like six years, and whilst I’ve healed to most extent from the trauma we’ve all been through, I wasn’t ready for, or expecting, to go through more so quickly.
Some people would say – that’s life, life is suffering and getting through things – but is it really? I’m sure I read an article somewhere that said life shouldn’t be suffering all the time. Life shouldn’t have to be always painful. Yes, going through difficult life experiences brings wisdom and knowledge, if processed in a healthy way, but often we don’t have the tools to completely make sense of what’s happened, or is happening.
So this year I wanted to remember and see what living really is for me. To dig down deep and process what we’ve been through and how I can learn from that. To experience life in the moment, and to connect in real, human ways with the people I love. I’ve felt disconnected from myself for a while. Perhaps even a little lost. There’s a lot of noise in this world of ours. On social media, the news, a proliferation of voices. It can make you feel at sea. I want to find my way back to shore, if at all possible.
I hope that if you’re struggling with something, you remember that it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. None of us have to put on a brave face if we’re not feeling great. And there is light at the end of the tunnel – always. I honestly believe that we all have a source of light within us. Sometimes that light wavers, but it can always be brought to life again.
‘Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.’ – Brene Brown.