I sighed this morning when I woke up, from a weird and messed up dream.
Exactly a month ago, I set foot into a company which, if I had the choice to, I could stay at for years to come. A month before that was what could easily be the last time I ever sit down in a lecture hall to take an exam. How do you feel being done? people would ask me. I didn’t know. Was I supposed to be happy? relieved? It didn’t feel anywhere from being done.
Last week, I moved into a house that I could finally write down as both a billing and mailing address. The movers came and went in half an hour. All my possessions took up a corner of a room in 6 boxes, 2 suitcases and 1 IKEA tote bag. The new carpeted floors almost seemed inviting for my well-traveled goods to settle down on.
Yesterday I sat down at my desk, a cheap wooden surface with folding metal legs that could hopefully serve me for its lifetime. It was my desk. I wouldn’t be moving away from it anymore.
This morning, I sighed because I had thought I would have less to worry about now. From constantly going back and forth between Korea as a child and teen, hurrying off to Mudd for college and even more so rushing to finding a job, there had been no place I could call home. I did now.
I was going to have a stable income and a stable spending. There didn’t need to be any more backbreaking, late nights finishing a math problem or making $14 more to pay off the next bill. My coworkers told me, go home! Have a good weekend! and they meant it. Have a weekend of rest and fun.
I had time to do things now. The unopened art supplies and a dusty gaming laptop waited patiently in their corners for an eager but tired master. There were books that I could dive into, though I would probably dawdle off into looking at my phone in 15 minutes.
Yet, I sighed because there were always things I should do. Over the last weeks I planned and planned and planned my life in vain. I thought I would feel free that there were no longer shackles binding my legs down; yet what I found was that my legs had gone weak and afraid, unsure of what they should be doing without the whip cracking.
Was it imposter syndrome? What if I had been faking all along, only looking like I knew what I was doing, only seeming like I was good at everything I did, because I was told what to do and I followed the directions to the dot? Where were the directions now?
There were questions that came attacking at my ego. What if I just gave up on the ambitions and settled here? What if I didn’t deserve to be standing where I did, unsure but comfortable? I didn’t want to admit being an imposter. What if I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was? I deadlifted only 135lbs last night, 50 short from what I used to do easily. Fuck.
I’m a child still bumbling around, and that realization is disappointing. I’ve always wanted the time to pass quickly, for me to come to this stage in life where the first stone has finally been set. I’m here now, and everything’s changed but somehow nothing’s changed within me. This time, I don’t know anymore what the rest of the structure should look like, or how to get there.
At the least, I need to stay confident and not let the questions get to me. Maybe watching Carol Dweck’s TED talk again might help. Maybe just letting go of my worries might get me back on a clear slate. Do I even know how to do that? Where are the instruction manuals for letting go of expectations and taking it easy?
I’m reading into what I’ve thrown up on this note. It reminds me of Salisbury Cathedral, built initially in 1220 on four feet of sand above a river and completed in 38 years, but not without the following 500 years of additional construction for support and restoration. A consequence of consistent and hard labor, a work of both skill and time.
I don’t know where to go, and maybe I don’t need to. Forget trying to be a child of wit and guile; work like an ass and admit weaknesses. If I run hard enough with my eyes open, I’ll get somewhere, eventually.