My boyfriend Drew told me something the other day that I had already known but didn’t want to admit:
He said that I had a habit of getting in my own way.
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This was after he had floated the suggestion of teaching me how to ride an electric unicycle, a skill I’ve been wanting to pick up, at 7 PM that night. I had pushed away the idea and pointed out that the sun would be setting soon, and wouldn’t it be better to try when we weren’t racing against the clock? There was just over an hour until sunset and it would only take us about 40 minutes. Learning how to ride would open up an entirely new world of possibilities for me. I wanted to give it my utmost attention and didn’t know how long the learning session would be. But I was also absolutely creating boundaries for myself by giving an excuse to do it another time.
This came right after the night before my 27th birthday on the 4th of July, when I cuddled up to my boyfriend in bed in tears because I wanted to start streaming and recording content again but was convinced that it would disrupt his life locked down in our tiny one bedroom apartment. A few hours before while he was visiting some friends, I had turned on my microphone and, through the sounds of fireworks, recorded an hour long vent about the things holding me back. What I failed to realize was that the situation as it truly was, was not stunting my opportunities – but rather, the situation as I had imagined it. Nothing my boyfriend had previously mentioned had suggested the narrative of “if you do this, you will be disrupting my life.” I had automatically made those assumptions for him, and had come to the seemingly obvious conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to have a creative outlet without disturbing him in some way – a sacrifice I wasn’t willing to make for him for my own selfish desires. And so, convinced of this and feeling utterly defeated, I crawled into bed and cried.
He was quick to tell me how foolish I was for making up an excuse like that. Once again I was holding myself back.
I say “once again”, because these two instances aren’t isolated. I will often come up with reasons why I can’t do something in the moment – or at all – for activities that would only further my growth. My mind jumps to possible outcomes before I even give them the chance to play out. I make plans and plans and never execute them because there’s always something in the way of that first step. The thing itself is not important – because deep down, at the core, what’s stopping me is simply myself.
I have many future dreams for happiness that I feel are unreachable. But how much closer could I get if I would just step aside for once and let myself experience the journey?
A little bit of good news. I did go out and complete my first electric uni lesson. Of course, no first step in life comes without its challenges. At the very end of the lesson, I bailed and bashed my ankle against the wheel as it spun out beneath me. At the time of writing this, I’m currently icing the swollen spot and patiently waiting for my painkillers to kick in so I can get some sleep. But I made that first step, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Drew says this is the closest I will ever again get to the feeling of learning how to ride a bike for the first time. And I think he’s right, but not about the uni. Unlearning those defense mechanisms I’ve built up to stop myself from getting hurt won’t be an easy process. But I truly think it will open up a whole new realm of possibilities for me – and hopefully with them, a chance at being truly happy.
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Check out this video where I deep-dive into the subject and tackle why YOU might be getting in your own way, and how you can fix it:
I also chatted about this topic with viewers live on Twitch. If you want to participate in future livestreams, follow me at http://twitch.tv/emsarcade!