Supposed to…

For some time, now, I’ve been dealing with the realization that so much of my anxiety has been my own doing. Now, hear me out. I don’t mean that I forcefully or even purposefully caused myself to be anxious. I certainly am not someone to pursue situations that make me anxious nor am I one to revel in my anxiety. I am the first person to tell you I wish I could rid the world of the horrible monster.

What I mean is, I had the upsetting realization recently that most of my anxiety revolved around one simple question that I was subconsciously letting rule my every single day: “What am I supposed to do?” Ever since I was a child, I’ve had this notion that my life is “supposed to” look/be/seem/feel a certain way. It’s almost as if there’s this mysterious rule book somewhere, or a “How-To” guide for life that I’ve been seeking.

I’ve been guilty of having thoughts like this:

“Well, that happened. It must mean I’m not supposed to be doing this.”

“Oh, I have this job now. That means I am supposed to behave, dress, act, and live my life a certain way.”

“I said I would help this person, so I am supposed to now be available for them all day every day, whenever I am needed.”

“I am an adult. I am supposed to have a career with benefits, a family, retirement plans, and investments.”

These are just a few as I can think of dozens of others right off the top of my head right now. I guess, I’ve just been lost in this subconscious world where I assumed there would always be a “right” and a “wrong” choice. Was it my Disney-crazed childhood with movies and stories that always came to an end with a perfect little bow tied around it? Was it my upbringing where I was always surrounded by teachers and law enforcement officers? I can’t even begin to say.

(Please note that I do not at all mean I struggle with the general rights and wrongs like being kind to others or committing crimes, etc. I just mean with the choices I make for the way I want my life to be.)

I know I’ve been attracted to stable jobs where every little thing about my job is defined in black-and-white and there is no room for error or guessing. But, I then find myself dreaming of what it would be like to work in a more creative field with less strict structures and regulations.

I’ve been attracted to relationships where my role is clearly defined – usually based upon what I can bring to the table to help “better” the other person because I’m supposed to be supportive. But, I end up giving myself wholly and completely to the point where I lose my actual self and then end up scrambling to find where I’ve gone and the only answer seems to be to get out.

I’ve been stuck in thought-cycles where I know a difficult conversation has to happen, but I must rehearse it beforehand because, in order to keep the peace, I am supposed to come out on the other end of the conversation with a particular result.

Where do these boxes come from? Society? Media? Culture? Why do I insist on trying to force myself into fitting into these boxes when, in my core, I know I am not meant to? I have the key to the box, so why not open it up and break out!?

Another thing I am so guilty of is measuring my life by comparing myself to others.

“Well, my friend ‘so-and-so’ is only 28 and she already has her own house!”

“Wow. He’s retiring after 30 years in the same job/career/field? How!?”

“I graduated with this degree I am not even using, while classmates of mine are crazy-successful!”

I don’t know where this idea of a rule book or a “right or wrong way” of living life came from. I truly don’t. I don’t think that part is important to me anymore. I think the most important part to me now that I recognize and am aware of this thought process that secretly guides all my decisions… I think it’s that I acknowledge it, but that I then choose to fight it.

One thing I do know for certain is this: I no longer want my life to be ruled by what I think I am “supposed to do.”

I honestly can’t even begin to explain why I wrote all of this down. I think getting thoughts and ideas out of your head is good for someone with anxiety. Even if it’s just a brain dump into a notebook. Getting them out into some sort of physical format can be incredibly productive and healing. Some people paint, sculpt, draw, write… I’ve always found getting my thoughts out creatively has been the most cathartic and healing for me. So, I guess that is what this post is.

I am curious if a) anything I wrote above makes any sort of sense to anyone other than myself, and b) if anyone has any advice or tips for dealing with this sort of self-imposed anxiety. I know the first step is recognition, but I also know that thirty years of a habit won’t be easy to break. Like I have said previously, I want this to be a place that is completely judgement-free and supportive, so if you feel comfortable sharing your stories, please do so!

In the meantime, I am going to load up my diffuser and listen to this storm brewing outside. Storms used to make me quite anxious – even fearful – but I’ve gotten better over the years. Guess that means I can have hopes that I’ll get better about other pieces of my anxiety as well, eh?

Life has no limitations, except the ones you make.
– Les Brown

KacieThings: A Vision

Flatlay of a pen, planner, plant, and essential oil bottle

For years, I’ve dreamt of living a life that I do not need a vacation from. The thought of living a life that is fulfilling both emotionally and creatively while also providing me with the means to pay my bills… well, that’s what we all want, in a way, right? At the risk of sounding idealistic, I really don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to make the most out of every single day. Trying new things, pushing limits, breaking out of boxes, making time for things we’ve always wanted to do; these are the pieces I’d like sewn into the quilt of my life when all is said and done.

So, welcome to the new-and-hopefully-improved KacieThings blog. So much has happened since I left you more than two years ago. So many things have changed… and nothing moreso than myself.

I do hope you will enjoy your time here. Please forgive my ever-growing need for change and starting over. I hope to utilize this blog as a place to share my mind and my heart while also creating relationships and educating. My passion for wellness, advocacy, and outreach will be very prevalent here and I do hope you’ll find something rewarding about what you find here.

You should see links at the top of this blog to my Instagram and my Wellness group over on Facebook. Feel free to give those a look-over, if you so desire. You are so very welcome to join!

In the meantime, I am going to dab some Envision on my neck, crack open my neglected planner, and declare the rest of 2019 as “a time for major changes.” Sort of like a mid-year resolution, don’t you think?

Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong.
– N. R. Narayana Murthy