small victories

Since most of my recent posts have been related to books I have read, I thought I’d continue with another post following that theme. I recently just completed reading Have Mother, Will Travel by Claire and Mia Fontaine. In my opinion, it was a great read and I’d recommend it to all of the mothers and daughters out there as I think you will laugh and cry with the stories shared by the mother/daughter duo, Claire and Mia, and find some of their insight to resonate with your own mother/daughter relationship dynamics.

As I read, I found myself often silently wishing I could thank Mia in person for many of her thoughts and perspectives shared shedding light on my own situatedness as I continue to feel pushed and pulled in many directions to please everyone, including society’s expectations of the “normal” progression almost assembly-like way of living and growing in this life, yet still finding myself feeling strayed, conflicted, and unsure of my own motives and desires apart from everyone else.

Since transitioning home and leaving my regular, full-time job, I’ve found it difficult to just simply adjust and be in this temporary season. I almost feel as if I have become part of what some similar age folks might refer to as the “quarter-life crisis.” As I continue to partake in the job application process, I’ve encountered receiving phone calls to inquire more about my experiences and then not ever receiving a response after I called them and left several return messages, receiving an interview opportunity and then having the employer change their mind after learning I was still residing on the opposite coast, receiving an offer that financially would make zero sense for most people as it would barely cover the rent of a 1 bedroom apartment, in addition to the many rejections and complete lack of responses. I’ve continued to apply to multiple job opportunities daily, and it is only now that I’m beginning to wonder for who am I applying for. While some applications I have sent would land my dream job if offered, others I’m beginning to feel are for the approval of others. While I know the majority of people have experienced a very similar journey, I cannot help but still feel alone. I can’t seem to find a way from not allowing it to come and blur my self-worth. I cannot help but relate exactly to what Mia writes, “Sometimes I feel like my self-esteem is similar to a beautifully constructed house of cards; the slightest of shakes and everything falls flat.” If I had to describe my ‘house of cards’ in this moment, I’d say “shaky.” While I’ve experienced over and over my ‘house of cards’ falling flat, I continue everyday striving toward not allowing them to fall. While they may shake more than I’d like to admit, they’ve recently been standing up with the help of my best friend. He and I are in this transition together and he continues to remind me of that when I lose sight. He reminds me of all the small victories I experience each day, including good health, family, a roof over my head, food and water to nourish me, and today, two legs that permitted me to run two miles.

In August, I learned that the pain I was enduring while running/exercising was caused by tendonitis in both of my knees. While many runners “deal” with tendonitis, I hated the thought that it would be something I’d always have. After many months of rest, strength training, and low-impact exercising such as biking, I’ve been trying to begin running outdoors again. Most of my runs have left me feeling a bit down as I had to end them before reaching a mile due to feeling discomfort in my knees. However, today I ran a full two miles outside with no pain. As someone who has run competitively and consistently since high school, I took my ability and love for running for granted. Today, I experienced a small huge victory. Tendonitis has humbled me. Tendonitis also provided me the opportunity to feel the excitement again in overcoming and achieving a “personal best.” Because I like to think in narrative, believing that everything is connected, I’d like to think perhaps my job application journey will result in a similar feeling as to how I felt when I ran two miles today with no pain since last August. It is in both of these processes that I must practice how to not allow my ‘house of cards’ to fall flat. But, even more importantly, it’s about learning how to not wait so long in-between the “falling flat” phase and “construction” phase.

“Sometimes I wonder if we make big moves because we underestimate the importance of smaller ones. Years are just an accumulation of thousands of hours, and what we choose to do with each of them matters.”  -Mia Fontaine


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