In times of struggle, I often think back to one of the greatest female writers and her words of wisdom that we can all look to as a beacon of light. They are the words of J.K. Rowling who so beautifully stated, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
I am no J.K. Rowling (yet, anyway…but you know, goals) but at the ripe age of twenty-two, I’m starting to see what she’s talking about.
Relatively speaking, you could argue that on paper this is the lowest point of my life. I have been out of school for over half a year now. I have no job. I don’t have much money. At the moment, I don’t even have a bedroom, much less a bed. My health is definitely not at an all-time-high. I am so single that in moments of loneliness, I can’t even think of anyone I want to pretend to have a conversation with. I’ve moved to one of the most expensive cities in the country with nothing more than the comfort of an outline of a plan. I can feel the doubt and anxiety emanating off of friends who refrain from asking me what the hell I’m doing. By a lot of standards, I am failing.
Yet, I have never felt more confident. I have never felt better about myself. I have never felt braver. I have never taken it upon myself to set my own standards.
See, what I have unintentionally done, is cut out all the useless crap that I previously labeled as “important.” I left behind a lot of baggage, both literally and figuratively. I realize that the things I was stressing about a few months ago are a lifetime away now. Some of my greatest post-graduate fears are being realized and I find myself empowered by them rather than ashamed. The people that hurt me in the past can’t touch me anymore because I won’t let them. I have beautiful horse blinders on that are forcing me to look at what I have to be grateful for because otherwise I know I won’t survive.
I have my family, including my amazing, successful, shoes-too-big-to-fill older sister. I’ll probably always be intimidated by her, I wouldn’t do half the things I’ve done without her, and she pushes me harder than I push myself. I have my parents and my brother and my dog waiting for me back home. They will be there whether I fail or fight my way to success. I have my friends that will survive the test of time and distance and I have new friends to grow with. I have strangers on the horizon that will become a huge part of my life. I have an undying passion to write and am married to creative thought. I have my books, my movies, my music, enough food, clothes to keep me warm.
I have goals. I have myself. I have this world to make my mark in.
I never in a million years would have thought that this is how it would happen. That this is how I would finally come to realize that I cannot find my happiness in the affection of others, the stability of a salary, the comforts of privacy and luxury. I realize I could have it a lot worse. I have a plan, one that I don’t know if it will work or not. But damn, I am going to try. Even if my plan doesn’t succeed, I know I will.
So here I sit. Alone, couch surfing, internet surfing, job hunting, wondering if I will wake up tomorrow feeling optimistic or defeated, having to face another rejection or a new redirection. I am just so grateful to have learned that I am more than who I am on paper. Maybe this is not rock bottom for me, maybe things will get worse before they will get better. I guess the thing that is keeping me going is that for once I am struggling at something that matters to me. I am “failing” at a dream that I made on my own. For once, I am shedding tears over what I can and can’t do for myself, rather than what I can or can’t do for someone else.
Before, I idealized telling people about the things that came from my successes. But now I think I can’t wait to show them the unbreakable foundation that I built from my struggles.