When I Want to Give Up, I Remember the Why

Over the past 9 1/2 weeks, I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions.  It all started with the excitement of beginning the first steps to completing the final hurdle to complete freedom.  This soon glided into the endless feeling of being overwhelmed with the amount of information that I needed to consume daily, which then lead to mental exhaustion that made me fly back to feeling overwhelmed.  Then a sudden breath-taking drop came with the death of my grandfather, followed by the slow progression back to a level of focus that I needed to be productive and progressing towards being polished.

During many of the unproductive, completely overwhelmed and paralyzed due to exhaustion days, I wanted to throw in the towel, close the books, stop writing essays and stop practicing multiple choice questions, because I clearly was not going to make it to the end of this process better prepared than when I started.  I did not see the progress.  I felt that I was getting the same types of questions wrong and missing the same issues on the essays.  I decided that I would just go back to my old life, my old career, because I was never going to be ready for this daunting exam.  I kept telling myself everyday, “You are behind. You will never catch up.”  When I needed to rest all I could think was, “I am behind. I can sleep when I pass!”  I was angry at myself, at my lack of progress and at the idea of having to tell people that I quit.

Then after going months without seeing my son and days where he wouldn’t talk to me on the phone, we were able to connect with him on the iPad and I saw his precious face.  “Hi mommy. Hi daddy. Mommy. Daddy. Daddy. Mommy.”  In that moment, all of my stress, anxiety and fear melted away.  The only thing that was important was our special gift.  His smile, his laugh, his kisses…all of the things that I missed and the exact thing I needed to see to get my mind back in order.  After speaking with him and seeing his face, I realized that I cannot quit because I have someone watching my every step; basking in my successes and pushing me through my failures.

My son is my WHY.  For some people it is a car, a job or a vacation spot. For others it may be their mother telling them that she is so proud of them or standing next to their father who was sworn in as an attorney at the same place 30 years ago.  What your WHY is does not matter, knowing what your WHY is does.  If you do not have a WHY, you will give up during a breakdown MOMENT, instead of waiting a MOMENT longer and reaching your breakthrough.

After refocusing on my WHY.  I stopped telling myself that I was behind, and instead I told myself that I was where I needed to be.  Suddenly a burden lifted from my shoulders and I had renewed energy to make my WHY proud and complete the mission I set off to accomplish.  When you reach that moment where you cannot go on anymore, stop focusing on the negative, pessimistic or potentially disastrous outcomes and focus your energy on the positive, optimistic, and successful outcomes that you have worked hard to reach.  Focus on your WHY.  Keep pushing for your WHY.  Never give up because your WHY is waiting for you on the other side.

Your WHY won’t ever let you give up, so don’t give up on your WHY.  Why you do this.  Why this matters.  Why failure is not an option.  Why you can.  Why.  Stay the course.  Persevere.  Push through the pain.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

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Roses and Fairy Tales

I don’t wear a lot of make-up, or a lot of jewelry or invest in too many material things because I have never seen my life as a story of roses and fairy tales.  I have grown up on the defense, prepared to fight many battles, many times alone with no one by my side to help me fight or to protect me.  I have tried to keep my life simple, because I was not sure what would happen next, good or bad.  I have lived, even in my happiest moments, cautiously, awaiting an imaginary gavel to fall and for the things I love to be taken away at any moment.  I am always ready and prepared to stand against any enemy because I have always felt under attack.

Throughout college I worked hard to maintain financially and emotionally.  I look back and regret never taking the time to experience and embrace the beauty of my present because I was so focused on the past and the unknown future.  I missed out on many opportunities because I did not feel that I was worthy.  I second guessed myself many times and lost out because I was afraid of succeeding.  I ran from things that I really wanted.  The only person that short-changed my experience was me, myself and I.

When I look back at all of the pictures that I took over the years, I captured many great moments.  Our first celebration of a group birthday, our first homecoming, my roommate walking in the fashion show, seeing my idols on stage and meeting celebrities in the cafeteria on random days of the week.  It appeared that I had finally received my roses and was living in a fairytale and that I had accepted that role wholeheartedly.  These pictures failed to capture the moment I found out that my grandfather had passed away and how my friends were there for me as I walked across campus to turn in my papers and get my business in order.  The images failed to capture my emotional instability, my anger and my lashing out at others because I was hurting so much inside.  There were no pictures of me in the counseling center knowing I needed help but unsure of the exact reason.  The pictures showed roses and fairy tales but that was not my truth.

My life has never been roses and fairy tales but I had to learn to let go.  Let go of my past and stop allowing it to control my present and incorrectly predict my future.  I had to learn to enjoy the moment, to stop beating myself up for taking a trip or enjoying a concert with some friends.  I had to learn to cry even when everyone else was smiling.  I did not have to fake the funk for the sake of others comfort.  I had to learn to never put on a mask but to always be myself at all times, whether the world liked, loved or hated it.  I had to learn to stop and smell the roses and dream about fairy tales because it was fun and worth it.  I had to learn that no one’s life is roses or fairy tales but that does not stop them from living out their wildest dreams.

Now my life is full of roses and fairy tales not because it is perfect but because I declared it.  I surrounded myself with beautiful people and love myself for my outer and inner beauty.  I have my King, a prince and a dog.  We live in a kingdom that is full of light and love.  My life is far from perfect.  I cry, I get frustrated, upset, I disappoint myself and others.  I aim for an unattainable level of perfection as a mother and wife and push myself too far at times.  Despite the ugly, my life is full of roses and fairy tales and I would not trade it for the world.  Live the life that you want, not the one that you think you deserve.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.