Sometimes, I feel as though I’m floating endlessly through space. I have no destination, no planned course. My goal is nonexistent. I am just a being that exists in the vast, infinite universe that has some sense of consciousness, though this could be more or less than others. I have no purpose, no point, no reason. I just am.
Other times, I feel so crowded by purpose, so encumbered by worries and anxieties, that reaching a goal is impossible. Mental pain swallows me, twists my insides, makes me physically ill, to the point that I cannot leave whatever bed I lie in. I do have a purpose, a point, a reason, all of which are to die and rot and replenish the earth with minerals and organisms.
And then, at times, I am made aware that I am a human soul, with a body, a brain, hands and feet, organs inside this body that work overtime to ensure my health. My purpose is to do more than float or die. It is to find joy in life, to help others find joy in life, to love my wife to the best of my abilities, to repair broken relationships, to build new ones, to create and destroy and do whatever else my heart desires. It is to experience and conquer anxiety and love and hate and do all of the things that the other being who lacks a purpose, or whose purpose is to die, would seize up at.
I conquer my fear.
I convince myself that it doesn’t matter if my parents are disappointed in me. I get out of bed and go to work. I re-apply to college and restart my FAFSA paperwork. I play my piano and sing at the top of my lungs. I create beautiful art simply by tapping my fingertips against buttons on a keyboard and post it on the internet for the world to see.
With the gorgeous woman I am so lucky to call my wife by my side, I watch my favorite movie, listen to my favorite music, read my favorite book, write my favorite story, walk down my favorite path. I process my feelings, assess what creates that floating feeling, tackle what creates that crowded feeling. I do things that I like to do with the person I love and work with her to become a better person.
I change who I am.
I choose a new name, use new words, wear new clothes, try new foods. I change my hair, my clothes, my favorite movie, my favorite music, my favorite story, my favorite path. I grow and become better and different. I learn and compute and put out different knowledge that might help someone else.
I stand my ground.
I am proud of who I am. I come back down to earth. I break free of my crowded restraints. I destroy what’s holding me back, create bridges to leap over canyons, look for new paths, and continue forward with no shame. I stand tall and opinionated and strong-willed.
I sit down in the middle of the night before Thanksgiving to write down all these feelings I’ve been keeping in. I think about how I just moved across the country to start a new life and leave behind the old things keeping me back. I look into all of the possibilities of my future to assess every chance, every statistic, and do my best to make a good choice. I gaze on the sweet face of my sleeping wife who steps when I step and leads when I can’t.
I am proud of who I am. I am proud of what I feel. There is no shame, no anxiety, no fear, nothing that could hold me back in this one moment. Tomorrow may be a different story. But, for now, this is the truth.
And I am.