Stuck in The Middle With You
When I was 14, I was awkward.
I had terrible acne on my forehead, my self-esteem was virtually non-existent, and I had to emotionally come to terms with the fact that fat was appearing in places it had never appeared before. Everybody said it was normal to go through changes and feel out of place, but when I looked around me, it felt like everyone had everything figured out.
People just somehow knew what to do, how to dress, and how to act. It looked like all they had to do was wake up in the morning and life just flowed in the right direction for them. For years I always wondered if everyone else had been handed the pages of a guidebook that I was clearly missing.
As a 22-year-old trying to make her way in the real world, I often still feel the same way. Except now I know that there’s no guidebook. No one is walking around with the answers, and the majority of people are still lost and unsure of what to do. All of us are just taking it one step at a time and hoping we’re going in the right direction.
That’s the most frustrating thing about adulthood.
We think it’s this magical era where things suddenly click into place. Except, when 18 came around, I was far more lost than I was at 14. And when 21 knocked on my door, I was only beginning to scratch the surface of who I was and what I had to offer the world.
If you’re anything like me, then you probably have big expectations of your life. You desire to do great things and have them mean something. You strive to look back and know that you’ve left a positive, long-lasting impact on people.
But when I look around, my life often doesn’t reflect where I want to be at all. Most of the time, it’s like I’m on a giant treadmill where, no matter how hard I run, I’m still stuck in one spot.
I’m willing to bet that perhaps there’s been a time where you felt like there was no getting out from the place you’re in. No escape button or map to guide you to the next season. Just uncertainty shrouding your mind like a fog.
You’re talking to the Queen of restlessness. As someone who wants to live life in the fast lane, it pains me to feel stuck in one place and have to wait on the next step to unfold. If we were on opposite sides of a shopping centre, I’d be the one to say ‘I’ll come meet you’ because I’d rather be the one on the move.
But if there’s one thing that’s certain about this life, it’s that at multiple points, we’re all going to feel stuck in a place we don’t belong. Perhaps it’s stuck in a pit of depression. A pit of attempting to heal from rejection. Stuck in uncertainty. Stuck with people who don’t understand you. Stuck in a random country with only loneliness as a constant companion.
But there’s a tremendous difference between being stuck and being still. Being stuck is attempting to use all of your energy to break free from a position you don’t want to be in. You can rage and throw tantrums all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re there to stay. Being still is far more peaceful and relaxing. Though you’re not where you want to be, you accept your current circumstances is contributing to a higher purpose- even if you can’t always see it.
I’m a huge believer that there’s purpose wherever we are. That, although we feel like we’re stumbling around in the dark, we’ve been divinely led to the places that will refine and transform us into the people who are going to achieve great things. Something bigger is going to unfold in our lives, if only we just trust the process.
Throughout my corner of the internet, I’ve referenced multiple times that I used to be stuck in a battle for depression. For years, I was constantly going to war with the darkness for my self-worth, and I tried looking for it in all the wrong places. No matter what I did or who I turned to, I felt like there was no escape from the dark thoughts that constantly threatened to snuff out my light.
Dark thoughts and mental illness aren’t something I wish on anyone, and it can be infuriating to hear someone say that the painful things that you wish never happened to you, happened for a divine purpose. But now that I’m on the other side, I have to acknowledge the beautiful and golden things that came from being stuck in that one dreadful season. Wrestling with the darkness to hell and back has given me the words I need to talk about the despair and painful emotions so other people can feel understood. Where others only cringe and feel uncomfortable, I’m able to dive in and sit with you in the thick of your mess. Now, I get to tell my stories of hope, victory and redemption, so that no matter where you are, you know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Something beautiful happens when you can see the value where you are. Although it may be the last place you want to be, we have to trust that if we’ve been led here, then there’s something we need to do or learn. As much as we would like the magic remote from Click to speed it up, we’re here for a purpose so we may as well milk every last opportunity from it.
I’m by no means advocating that you stay in a situation that’s no longer serving you. A lot of us have also been lulled into a false sense of security by staying in places that are no longer for us, such as a dead-end job or a relationship well past its expiry date. If you know in your heart that its time to move- then girl you gotta move.
I just think that it’s tempting to look for a back door when things get hard. But there’s a tremendous amount of value in just staying. Just because your circumstances right now may not reflect where you want to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t mean that it’s to be discounted or written off. You have no idea who needs you to be present, right here, right now.
I don’t know where you are right now, but I know that it’s not a mistake you’re here. You did not arrive by here by accident. You are not living out a remake of The Truman Show where everyone is in on some secret except you. The circumstances you’re facing, the emotions you’re enduring, the pits you can’t get unstuck from- it’s all contributing to the person you’re supposed to become. It’s preparing you to be someone who can handle those lofty dreams and big plans you’ve always envisioned for yourself.
Perhaps the impact you’ve always been longing for starts when you embrace where you are.
Enjoyed this post? Get first dibs on my personal essays, stories, and occasional advice on launching courses delivered straight to your inbox.