“Do you know who you are? Do you understand what has happened to you? Do you want to live this way?” – Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy
I was knee-deep in questioning my life when this quote hit my chest.
What is my life and what is going on? – I ask myself this question every day.
From the conversations happening on social media lately, it’s clear that I’m not the only one.
A battle of the conscience, a war of the wills
Most of this conversation was triggered by groups of people who voiced their unpopular opinions. Anonymous articles by housewives who don’t know how they ended up where they are; mothers being forced to choose between their careers and their children; and people combatting the concept of “if you don’t do ABC by 25, then you’re late” – social media has been busy.
I’ve been in my feelings for the whole week. I’ve experienced rage, disappointment, and hopelessness as I’ve read the realities of many women. I’ve questioned my own life and wondered where I’ll end up in the spectrum.
I am aware that I tend to follow the non-conventional route in life – and it’s come with its pushback. Is it intentional? I’m not sure. What I do know is I’ve been faced with the choice to go the “right route”. Tick all the boxes and not have to worry about being called different – but it was also laden with trauma that wasn’t worth it at all.
But, often I do question where I stand.
Where does this put me?
The one thing I do believe in wholeheartedly is that people (read: women) should have the chance to think of the life they want outside of the pressures they’re met with everyday.
On paper, this sounds great. But, reality shows me this thinking is idealistic. But, that won’t stop me from pushing for it. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
But when I think of me? What do I want? The clearest answer I’ve ever given is, “Peace.”
I don’t want to be at war in the relationships that are about love. I want to minimize the war I experience in my career as best as possible. I want to see my plans come to life. I want to be healthy. I want to be happy.
But, what does that look like?
Will this play out as me getting married, having kids, and finding balance with the desires of my heart?
Will it roll out as life as a single woman, content with her choices but often tired of defending her decisions?
Will I discover that the dreams in my heart mean nothing and I want a completely different path?
The truth is I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.
Am I meant to have the answers in the first place?
Probably not. I don’t think any of us are.
If anything, the more we act like we have the answers, the more we set ourselves up.
What kind of life do you want?
And I’m not asking this in a self-help guru kind of way. There’s no 12-step method that’s coming after your answer, no.
I’m genuinely interested. What kind of life do you want?
That’s the thought that dominated my mind when I studied the conversations taking place online. In the midst of the angst, rage, and hopelessness, I found myself asking,
“What do I want?”
The next question that should follow? “Am I willing to fight for this?”
Bear in mind that fighting is hard. Fighting means letting go of the other side. Fighting means defending your choices – whether they’re traditional or not.
What kind of life do you want and are you willing to fight for it?
I understand there is a privilege in saying this. Not every one of us can ask, “What kind of life do I want?” Not everyone can fight.
If you live with an abusive partner, a life of freedom isn’t something you can get with the snap of a finger. If you’re in a stressful job, especially during these times, “just quitting” isn’t the answer. There are many situations that won’t qualify for this, and that is valid too.
It’s valid and it makes me sad because these situations remind me of the many systems that let us down. The justice system has let countless victims of abuse down. Don’t get me started on race. Or sexual violence.
The way the world is set up, financial freedom, or carving out your own career path is not an option for many of my peers. Especially now.
But, I’ll still put this message out there. It could help one. Anyone, really. Because, I know I’ve been that person before. The person who couldn’t use the advice because her situation has zero ways out.
That’s why we throw out messages of hope, right? To get to the one? The one we may never meet? The ones we might never hear from?
I also believe in miracles. Call me idealistic. Call me crazy.
But I’ve seen the worst situations switch up in the most unexplainable ways and I wish that for anyone and everyone in a situation where they feel like they can’t get out.
So, I’ll put this out there.
Ignore the noise around you. The noise that tells you what to do. The noise that tells you to follow the regular. Or the noise that tells you not to.
Who are you and what do you want out of your life?
Fight for your life. Fight for you. Fight for your heart.
There is space in the world for that. I believe this and I’ll carry it to my grave.
Fight for your life.
Fight for you.
Fight for your heart.