For the last six years I’ve been lost, trying to figure out what my life’s purpose is. Getting up every day on auto pilot; doing whatever was needed to get through the day. I wasn’t focused on my self care or mental health as much as I should have been. I didn’t really take the time to think about it until recently. Traumatic things would happen to me and I would brush it off after the tears stopped. I never took the time to heal, I never took the time to be free of the pain. I just wiped my face and went to bed, waking up the next day as if nothing happened. Now, I’m constantly asking myself, how do I fit into this world? Where’s my place? How have the things in my past effected my present and what can I do to move forward? What lifts my energy and what drains it? How can I hold onto happiness for as long as I possible? I’m taking a closer look into myself these days trying to eliminate as much pain and sorrow as possible. Sometimes a person unknowingly puts themselves in situations because pain is all they know. I had to get out of the habit of being the victim. After all, it was role I was very tired of playing. It was time to start something new.
I’ve had friends in junior high who knew what it was they wanted to do out of life and were focused on getting there. Me? I was taking it day by day. I always felt like when the day came for me to look for a career or get a real job I would just Know what I wanted to do. I feel like subconsciously it was embedded in me to be with someone, that was my real goal, to find true love. I felt as though once I found the right partner we would be able to figure out the rest. Trust me I know how bad that sounds, but that was my way of viewing life. I wasn’t as focused on a career or myself for that matter. I didn’t think I had to get to know myself because well….I’m already me. Who else knows me better? But as time slowly went on I realized I didn’t really know as much about myself as I thought. It was heartbreaking to admit. How could I waste all of these years giving my all to relationships and live in a strangers body. The only thing that I was sure of was that I didn’t like the shell I was in because I was constantly teased about my appearance. My spirit was very sad and I couldn’t take it anymore. It used to bother me a lot not knowing what I liked or disliked to do. People would ask me all the time and I would draw a blank. Until I found writing.
I am naturally a quiet, introverted person (something I am still learning to fully accept). I don’ like large crowds, too many people and things to pay attention to, don’t do well with small talk because I like to dig deep and you can’t be that way with everyone and lounging around the house watching something entertaining on TV with someone I care about is good enough for me for the weekend. I don’t care to party or be lit all the time. Writing helped me to understand this part of myself. Writing helped me to put a lot of my feelings down on paper and begin piecing together who Amber is. I got to express how I was feeling without being ridiculed. Writing helped me release everything that I was feeling but couldn’t necessarily find the words to say aloud.
One day I decided I was tired of walking in circles and needed real direction. I told myself I would use those “lost years” as a starting point. Using all of the pain, anger, confusion and disappointments as my foundation. I spent a lot of years extremely depressed and at low points that the only way to go was up. I started calling that time in my life the Chrysalis stage. Why? Simple. For me. If you know me personally then you know that I have quite a few tattoos. Walking past the mirror I took a glance at myself and realized that quite a few of the tattoos had butterflies in them or were butterflies by themselves. Without putting too much thought into it, it came to me why I like them. Caterpillars are undesirable at the start and go through life surviving the best way they know how until they come to this stage in life. Their Chrysalis stage, where all of the required changes are made to turn them into a beautiful, colorful butterfly.
That’s a perfect way to describe my “lost years”. Everything that I went through happened in order to build me into the colorful butterfly that I’m meant to be. Thinking about this made me feel a lot more confident about where I am in life. I used to feel like it was over, as if I missed my chance at happiness. But, knowing that it’s only the beginning gives me a ton of hope. I don’t feel as though I’m a fully formed, colorful butterfly just yet. I have a few more things to work on and figure out. But, I am a lot closer than I was before. Progress is always good, no matter how big or small.
My message to other young ladies out there who might be feeling defeated, as though life keeps knocking them down is…don’t give up. As simple and cliché as it sounds, that’s all the advice one needs. Keep going. Keep trying. Those obstacles are all pieces to a much bigger puzzle and the more you experience the clearer that bigger picture will be to you. Know that you are not defined by the things that have happened to you. They are simply bricks to the house that is you; the source of your strength.