Editorial – The Policies of Starting Over: Continuing the Conversation

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Isn’t it funny how if you hear something repeated enough, it begins to sound like the truth? I am not referring to actual statements of fact, no. I am speaking in reference to how we tell ourselves the same lie over and over, which will slip out so naturally that we can no longer differentiate it from the truth.

Have you ever wanted something to be true so badly that you were willing to lie to yourself? At first, it is just enough to ease the weight of the truth, but the instant you tasted an ounce of relief, you begin to become the lie, and the lie becomes you. This will not be an easy piece to share with you; in fact, this might be the most difficult for me yet.

I have been evaluating myself and my writing recently. The people that surround me claim that I am growing and getting better, but the issue that I find is that the more I seem to do the ‘correct’ thing, the less connected I feel to it. In some cases, this is a wonderful thing. If I were to invest myself completely into every single topic I wrote on, I would spend my time doing little besides breaking my own heart. It is rational to have boundaries with your work, and often in your best interest.

I am afraid that I have been writing with an air of false confidence. I have taken up a column advising you all on how to start over when in truth, I have no idea what I am doing half the time. I wake up, I try to do my best, and I know that is what people say is the best you can do, but it feels like something is missing—that you are missing some key piece of information you should have before I try to tell anyone how to do anything.

I despise details of my personal life in my professional work, but it does have a way of bleeding through occasionally. My last relationship ended my relationship with who I was. I thought it would be wrong to truly acknowledge that, it felt strange and too real. Like, I had this whole idea of, and plan for, who I was becoming and then I gave it all up for something that caused me nothing but pain.

I made terrible decisions. I cut off communication with people who genuinely loved me, I screwed over an old roommate and destroyed a friendship and I was not listening to anyone. Everything I did was a cry for help and, somehow, I had no interest in those who were actually reaching out to help me. I got to a point where I avoided the mirrors in the house because I no longer recognized the person staring back at me.

I lied to myself every day. I told myself every day that if I got better at the things I was supposed to be doing, if I was good enough, that things would improve; that the taunting and self-deprecation would stop, but to no avail. It it took me far too long to realize that the more I gave, the more would be taken, and the less that I would receive.

I do not think I know exactly how to end this one, readers. All I know how to do right now is to be completely honest, and that is not something I’m not sure if I can do well. I am not confessing this for your pity. In fact, I do not want you to feel any for me. I want you to understand that I am an imperfect person and that I have made decisions that I am not proud of. There is no false confidence, and I am not the authority on these topics. It is just me, writing it all down from my heart as I figure it out along the way, and praying to whoever is listening that it reaches someone who might be in the same place.

I do not feel as at home anywhere as much as I do when I sit down at my keyboard. Writing feels like a part of me, and I know that I am still so young, and I have so much left to learn, but this is where I find purpose. I am honored that I get to do it, and that I get to write to so many people every week.

I had a conversation this past week that did not go as I had expected it to at all. I established in that interaction that some conversations cannot be continued without an exchange of vulnerability. To build that connection, to further that bond, we have to trust one another enough to take off a bit of the mask. Even the great Wizard of Oz was just a man hiding behind a curtain, though that is not who I want to be. If you are going to listen and this is going to reach you, I hope you know me better now. This week is nothing but me offering a bit of that mask, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.

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