Life Update: Keeping the World at Arm’s-Length

I couldn’t stop talking about my new job, until I started it and realized a few things about myself I didn’t expect when I was dancing in my bedroom with all the promise of a new beginning…

I’m not good at asking for help…

It didn’t occur to me how hard it would be being the new kid on the block, feeling unsure and insecure and having to navigate the introduction, “Hi, I’m Stephanie, I’m new here, can you help me?” I don’t know a lot about everything, but I’ve always known everything about the thing I know something about and for years I was the one people went to for help, not the other way around. I didn’t think it’d be so hard, the role reversal, but boy was I wrong.

I’m a little shy sometimes…

I know, if you know me, like really know me, you’re shocked, me too. I had no idea I was shy, until I was face to face with my dream job and having to share about MY life. I’ve never been so nervous to talk about my favorite subjects: myself, my blog, my boyfriend, but there I was feeling a little inadequate and like I didn’t belong, and not because anyone was trying to make me feel that way, but because I was getting in my own way!

At 26, sometimes I still feel all of 16…

You ever feel like you’re in high school? Sometimes, at 26, I feel very far away from 16, but these past few weeks, I’ve felt 16 all over again. I felt that way sitting alone in the lunch room on my first day, and I feel that way getting dressed every morning.

I had a realization this past week…

One year ago today was the day I thought my dad was going to die. My mom called me at 4am, I rushed to the hospital and when I got there the doctors left the room so I could say goodbye; I cried laying beside him in his hospital bed, until the room was filled with doctors and nurses and interns again. My mom and I left and they put him on a ventilator; they said it would only keep him alive long enough for my brothers to come and for his brothers to come, but they were wrong. Here we are, a year later and in some ways I feel more traumatized today than I did that day. They say only 20% of people with ALS live past 2 years, my dad’s diagnosis was 22 months ago. I’ve spent the past year feeling afraid to lose him, but feeling like I already did at the same time.

This week, I realized: ever since that September day, I’ve kept everyone at arm’s length. My family, my friends, my boyfriend, my new coworkers, the person I’m becoming. Arms can pull people in, or push them away and I’ve been guilty of the latter. So, from here forward I’m opening my arms and my heart. The past few days have been easier at my new job, I’ve laughed and felt more comfortable and started to feel like I’m fitting in. I’ve realized that as much as I blamed my retail job for my every unhappiness, I love that stupid blue shirt, I look forward to walking in and everyone asking me how I’ve been, I can’t even complain about the big-wet-cheek-kiss from the guy at security. I realized that I have to love my dad without the fear of loss because in the end I’ll regret pushing him away, not pulling him closer. I also realized that I can’t protect Darren from my less than perfect life, more than that – I know now that he wants all of it, all of me. They say growing is uncomfortable: they’re right; but staying the same? That’s the most uncomfortable thing of all.


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