By Tanya Tiger
I awoke this morning much like I do every morning, with a whirling storm of dialogue in my mind.
Sometimes this stream of thoughts is coherent while other times it’s a mish-mosh of nonsensical jibber-jabber. This morning’s tirade started off as the latter but quickly spun itself into a coherent ah-ha moment.
As I stood in the shower, letting the hot water pound on my tired body, the thoughts began to coalesce. I started thinking about the direction my life has taken and all the twists and turns I’ve found myself stumbling around. I thought about all the times I relied on other people’s opinions of what was best for me to make vital decisions.
I thought about all the times other people have said things such as, “Trust me, I know you better than you do,” And without blinking I believed them.
When that last thought made its way from my brain deep down into my soul, I became…angry.
Not just a little angry but, like, atomic-bomb-heat-of-the-sun kind of angry. Like a movie in fast-forward, I spun through the scenarios where I asked other people what I should like, what I should do for a living, what hobbies I might like, what places might be fun to see, what was safe, what was dangerous, what I was capable of, what I should avoid, what my strengths are, what my weaknesses are, what choices I should make about everything! For so long I have looked to others, even to blame them for “pointing me in the wrong direction.”
My thought train stopped suddenly as if it had slammed straight into a concrete wall—BAM.
“What in the Hell have I been doing with my life?” I asked myself why I would let other people lay out the story line of my life and why I would blindly follow whatever plot they thought was best for my character.
Why? Why? Why?
And then, a small quiet voice whispered from within: “You’ve never trusted me.”
My anger turned to sadness in that moment. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault that my life has left me feeling stranded in a strange land. It was no one else’s fault that I feel unfulfilled in almost every aspect of my life despite the fact that everything looks shiny and nearly perfect from the outside looking in. It’s no one else’s fault that I cannot even recognize myself, my dreams or even my soul’s voice anymore.
It’s my fault and I can own that now.
It’s my fault because somewhere along the line I stopped trusting my own inner-voice—my soul’s knowing—and replaced it with the white noise of everyone else’s voices. I’m not sure how or why I hit the mute button on my own voice or why I stopped trusting such a vital part of me. All I know is that at some point, I left the safety of my heart’s harbor and got lost in a sea of other people’s shoulds.
Now that I have found my bearings, and stand firmly as the Captain of my own ship, I call to my first mate—my soul—to return and help guide me back to the current of my own life dreams.
I realize that the journey is fraught with danger.
Sirens will beckon with beautiful songs, jagged rocks of other’s anger will jut up and threaten the hull of my ship, and sorrow may follow storms of uncertainty. With all of this in mind I hoist the sails and set off in a new direction. This time my heart will be my compass and my soul will be my guide.
I am stronger now.
My voice has finally reclaimed its place. No longer can I justify settling for anything that is not wholly of my own creation.
I am homeward bound and the seas are calm.
Editor: Dana Gornall