This is another issue that comes up for everyone, but most especially people who have backgrounds of trauma: Embracing how unique you are, how unique the desires of your heart are independent of everyone else and being placed with people, places and situations that honor the best of who you are.
At times is easier said than done. In the past couple weeks, I have been challenged with this issue both professionally and artistically. Some of it has been to do what others around me have done: marry, have kids, be in the same job for 40 years. I have great respect and admiration for people with that tenacity. However, I never found myself with the people, places and experiences that have supported those types of lifelong commitments, and it is not because I haven’t wanted to be.
I am no longer doing my beloved wound care nursing, either. Although I loved it, I was filling in for another employee. I thought it would be a permanent assignment, but it wasn’t. Contrary to popular belief, love of the job and hard work are not always enough in certain cases. Instead, I went back to staff nursing. I thought that by becoming a wound care nurse, it would be a way for me to do what I have seen the people in my family did: Stay within a job for 40 to 50 years and perhaps even find myself married with a family. Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic, but that is not what happened. I know I am not the only one. And, as Toni Morrison has said about when we find ourselves in situations like this, I have had to reconfigure.
Further, I was given a writing opportunity to do the type of hard core “literary journalism” of my graduate training. However, I don’t do that type of writing. I am a mixed media inspirational/mind/body/spirit type of writer and visual artist.
As a direct result, I passed the opportunity to two other writers who had impressive legal credentials, impeccable writing skills and were better suited to the task. In short, it hasn’t been easy, but I have had to walk away.
Within situations like these, it becomes easy for you (and those around you who maybe well meaning, but just don’t get it) to slip into, “What is wrong with me/him/her/it?” mode, when really there is nothing wrong at all. Although it is difficult, trust must be placed into the fact that something better is coming in the future. But along the way, extraordinary self care has to be practiced right now, even if people, places and situations have not responded in kind.
When I was growing up on the South Side of Chicago, my parents had a sign in their bedroom that was written in the King James version of the Bible, but I am pretty sure that this quote was nowhere in the Bible. It said, “Good things cometh to those who waiteth as long as those who waiteth work like helleth while they waiteth.”
Being unique is a gift. Whether it is a delay or an obstacle to a long cherished goal, respect yourself, even if no one else is bothering to do it, by practicing self care. Concern yourself with people, places and situations that honor the very best of who you are. It is okay to want what you want, professionally, artistically, personally or otherwise, even if you work like hell and wait to get it.