When I was about eight or nine years old, I was rehearsing a play. It was my own production and I invited all my neighborhood parents and friends to come watch. I loved performing and making people happy. And I was kind of bossy, so I loved being able to tell the other performers, mainly my little brother, what to do. I had done one or two shows before and enjoyed it so much that I thought I’d do one that was even bigger and better, starring me of course. I found a song I liked (Joy to the World by Three Dog Night) and learned all the words to it. I thought I’d do some choreography, too, so in my best imitation of a 70’s variety show, I moved around my stage (the backyard and swing set) and sang at the top of my lungs. As I was swinging across the top bar of the swing set, I heard some laughing. Two boys had climbed up on the fence and were watching me. They laughed and mocked me. They told me I was stupid. Then they jumped down and left. I cancelled the show and became so afraid to speak in public that I couldn’t even read in front of my class.
I believe that’s what they call shame and even though it was just a couple of little boys being little boys, I was devastated and it has impacted my entire life. I can’t handle large groups of people, even in a social setting. It’s mostly an extreme fear of being laughed at or made to feel stupid or wrong. The fear of reliving that humiliation is too much to bear. It made me change who I am. I became guarded. I became quiet and invisible. I gave up who I was to be someone I thought was more acceptable. It’s a miserable way to live.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on vulnerability the past few years and the go-to person on vulnerability is Dr Brené Brown. She’s written several books on the subject as well as on shame. Apparently the two go hand in hand and in my case, it’s definitely true. Vulnerability is defined by Dr Brown as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure” and those are traits that I’ve tried very hard to control all my life. Even in writing this blog, I’ve wanted to be vulnerable, but I’ve been holding back. I’ve always felt like I was too much and people don’t like you when you’re too much. But the people I admire the most are those who live life on their terms, regardless of how they might be perceived and the funny thing is, people love them for it. Vulnerability is, after all, courageous. As one of my favorite sayings goes, “When you do things from your soul, other people really dig that shit.” So what the heck? I’ll give it a try.
Here’s some truth: I’ve been struggling to find a job for the past several months. I quit my last job rather abruptly with no plan and no other job on the horizon. I had faith that the right thing would come along. Three months later, I’m still waiting. The problem is that I don’t want to do what I have been doing anymore. I want to go from working in a lab to working in a creative field, like graphic design. I’ve been taking classes, but I’m not skilled enough yet for even an entry-level position in that field. In the meantime, while I continue to hone my skills, I’d like to work in a fun, creative environment, but doing what, I don’t know. I need to make a certain amount of money, so I’ve tried to get higher paying customer service jobs, but I’ve been turned down because I don’t have enough customer service experience. Seriously?!? Every job out there is customer service in one way or another. How hard is it to learn some in-house script to input data and problem solve? How hard is it to be the punching bag for disgruntled customers? Why do I need three to five years experience to get paid to get shit on?
The only work I seem to be qualified for right now is call center work. It’s the bottom level of the customer service food chain. I’ve been working for over twenty years and since I don’t want to do lab work any more, I have to start all over again with no consideration for all my years of work and life experience. It’s a humbling position to be in. Once again, I’ve mucked everything up and I have to start all over again. And this time, I have no back-up. It’s me against the low-wage world. I should be used to it by now.
All my life, I’ve felt that I only had me. No one had my back. It’s been me against the world since I was a child. I had to control everything because there was no one else to do it. But lately, I’ve been studying the Law of Attraction and it’s all about trusting that the universe has your back. You are the one and only person that your source, your direct connection to the universe, has its focus on. Being one who has always felt alone, that’s kind of a big deal and it’s a little hard to accept. But I’ve tested the universe several times, always asking for it to prove it had my back, and I always got an answer in the coolest of ways. Yet when it comes right down to it, especially in regards to work and money, I still don’t trust at all. To have faith, one must have complete trust in someone or something. To let go of the mean boys in my past and be able to take that step forward in life, I have to trust the universe to do what it does best. In fact, I tested the universe today. I asked for proof once again (and I apologized for being so needy) that it had my back. I didn’t specify how it was to be done. I knew it would come in a good way. A little while later, I was watching my astrologer guru on YouTube and she said, “Have faith. The universe has your back.” No need for symbolism or to figure out if that’s really what it meant. The universe just gave it to me straightforward. In a way, I suppose it was telling me to cut the bullshit and get to trusting.
The problem is, I don’t know how to trust. How in the heck does one have faith when you have no idea what the outcome will be? Yet, that’s the very definition of faith. So, as I was whining about having to drive clear across town to my job interview tomorrow, I thought to myself, “Maybe I should just have faith. Allow the universe to do its magic even if I don’t understand where the heck it’s taking me. Stop resisting it and just go with the flow.” And what do you know, all the pressure and pushing against I felt in my body just went away. Faith is also a lack of resistance and acceptance of the way things are right now and I’m good at exactly none of these things, but I’m willing to try. I have no clue where this path is taking me, but it’ll be a much smoother path if I stop resisting. Faith. Trust. Vulnerability. Dark night of the soul indeed.