Old thought patterns die hard

I’ve always been one of the most insecure, shy, timid, and quiet people I know. About two weeks ago, I had a massive breakthrough from which (I thought) I learned so much about confidence, about myself, about others, and about what might actually be possible. By no means was it my first growth spirt, but it was definitely a gigantic step in my life. Maybe it was the culmination of about 6 or 7 years of slow, gradual personal development. (Or maybe it was a fluke?) For a short time, I had been riding quite a high from this sudden burst of inspiration. But tonight, I’m relapsing into overwhelm and the all-too-familiar feeling of being a tiny lost puppy in a world of lions.

About 5 years ago, I was accepted into Liberty University. I remember how excited I was about going on such a big crazy adventure, pursuing a very specific career path that I’ve been extremely passionate about for a long time. I’d never done anything like that before (or since, or ever.) I even submitted the $250 confirmation deposit and everything. But I couldn’t go, I guess because of financial as well as personal/mental health/confidence issues. I know it sounds rather insignificant. But it was a pretty devastating experience for me. It was kind of a death blow to my naïve aspirations, hopes and dreams. I still haven’t recovered from it.

I’m in a different head space now, and a lot of situations in my life are so different and more advantageous than they were 5 (or even 2) years ago. So much has happened that has put me in a better position to do some things. I’ve had some experiences that have stretched me without completely tearing me apart. As I mentioned before, I’ve done some growing and learning in recent years, and even weeks.

Just a few days ago, my mom asked me if I still wanted to go to LU to get my bachelor’s in this field I’ve been so interested in for such a long time. Of course I want to go. That’s what I’ve wished I could do for the past 5 years. My parents think I’m in a much better place than I was then, and they want me to go to LU, or at least to look back into it again. My sisters all think it would be a wonderful opportunity. They all want me to go to LU. My awesome brother-in-law, who doesn’t know the whole sordid story and all the details, thinks it would be a super great idea, and he wants me to go to LU. I want me to go to LU. I want to chase my dream, enter the training program there, earn my BA, and start working in the field that I’ve been so passionate about for so long, but I’ve never been able to get into for lack of training and experience. I was the one who wanted to go in the first place. But I had given up on that goal and dismissed it as unrealistic. I had convinced myself to get used to disappointment because the thing wasn’t achievable. It was never gonna happen anyway. It was a pipedream and a reverie. So I told myself no because it was true.

Tonight, prompted by the support of my beautiful, dysfunctional family whom I love very much, and the fragile spark of rekindled inspiration, I decided to reopen the folder I got from LU when they accepted my application 5 years ago (yes, I kept it. Why do I still have that folder?!) Looking at those papers again reminded me of how soul-crushing the whole situation was and how disappointed I’ve been for years because I wasn’t able to go. It reiterated why it didn’t pan out. It immediately transported me back into the mind of the insecure child I was 5 years ago. That child never really went away. It got triggered tonight. I honestly don’t want to look inside that folder again. It makes me feel weak, helpless, like a failure, like I can’t do it. I feel small and unsure. Everything feels big, scary, daunting and impossible.

One gigantic step forward.

An enormous step back.

One of the biggest highs is now threatening to become another profound low.

I know intellectually and logically that I’m probably not thinking straight (is any of this rational or true? Why am I invalidating my own feelings again? Didn’t I just learn why that’s not productive or healthy? What the heck is going on? I’m overthinking again, aren’t I? How do I deal with that? I’ve lost my bearings. This is a lot.) I’m having a hard time knowing what to make of it all.

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Hi Friend
Thank you for your post, I am so glad you chose to write your post because the first thing I want to say to you is that this fear is understandable after it had already been a bad experience for you, I think anyone who has a bad situation is frightened to revisit and or relive it no matter how different the circumstances. Its ok to feel that fear and experience it.
Its wonderful that you have such an amazing family albeit dysfunctional (arnt we all) have you told them how you feel about opening that folder?
Those insecurities were real but as you say they were also memories of a child and ones that you have moved on from and in your words “done some growing and learning in recent years, and even weeks”
That doesn’t of course mean you have to do it, if you really do not want to do this then don’t but please don’t not do it because you feel you cant, Its frightening taking such a huge step but its also exciting and opens you up to a wonderful new world that you are more than capable of being in.
Take some time friend, relax, yes stop overthinking and then you can make the choice for yourself. Please don’t let it get you down, you have come a long way.
I would love to know what you decide…
Good Luck
Lisa :heart:

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Hey friend,

You don’t know how much I can connect with your story. I may not know your whole life, but I can tell you with certainty that this was me just a few years ago. Long story short when I first graduated there was a stigma about artists making a career worthwhile. Fast forward to a few years ago when I had already been battling depression and figuring out other big life decisions, my sweet husband supported me in applying for classes to get a bachelor’s degree in Illustration. The first couple of years were a little daunting because I had never put so much heart into school before and the first artist school I had attended shut down in the middle of the semester. It was so difficult to process, but I had to make up my mind that it wasn’t going to affect me. It’s something I’ve wanted my whole life and I’m glad that I pushed forward into unfamiliar territory. I’ve met the best professors and classmates as well as the worst teacher. However, I’m in a better place now than I was just a few years ago.

Please don’t let situations become so daunting in your life that you can’t see past the fear. Fear is an emotion just like the rest any human can experience. It’s there for a reason. Sometimes to make you stop and think. But it’s also there to propel you forward into greater experiences. No one can know what will happen in the future, but don’t let that stop you. Be filled with hope because it sounds like you already have a great support system at home and on here! It helped me a lot to make a plan and stick to it when I first started going back to school. Write down your dreams and your goals. Hang them up where you will see them everyday. Let them encourage you to keep on moving forward toward them. It may not come like you want it or in the time you want it, but it can happen if you are willing to fight for it. Don’t lose hope! We are all here for you!

:hrtlegolove: :hrtlovefist:

-@voiceless_wonder

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