What’s Your Stuff?
What’s your stuff?
No, I’m not talking about all the things you own in your apartment or your car or that you have in your pockets or purse at this moment. I’m talking about “your stuff.” What are the things that you are afraid to show to the world? What are the things that you are afraid to admit to the world?
This is a safe space. Let’s pretend that it’s just you and me and we’re really good friends. There are no judgments here. But if it makes you feel better, I’ll go first.
I don’t know about you but I have a lot of stuff. I am about to start grad school next week after a late application this summer. I am grateful and excited and happy. But I feel a certain regret that I did not apply sooner and now my parents are literally having to bear this financial cross for me, at least for the first year. I should have applied earlier, I should have gotten a scholarship, but I didn’t and all I can do now is work hard and do what I can to get one next year. My folks have done well for themselves but they aren’t rich, certainly not with five kids of their own they’ve managed to give a great education to. Not to mention the many other family members and friends they have helped support. I am basking in my lack of foresight and they are bearing the burden. And I feel grateful and awful at the same time.
Then there is the stuff of finding a new job. I am trying desperately to find a new career in the non-profit world, especially in a university setting which will allow me the opportunity to work, given all the restrictions I face once again as an “international student.” Of course it helps that I actually want to work in a university setting or the non-profit world using my experience in writing, marketing, and events. Actually, I need to work. My landlord, RCN, US bank, and Discover, believe it or not, are not the most understanding entities. Again, thank God for family but I still have the feeling of gratitude mixed with, oh, what’s that? Shame; shame that I still can’t get it together. My parents and family tell me not to be so hard on myself but still not being as financially independent as I believe I ought to be, is not what I envisioned for myself at this point.
Then there’s the other stuff I wonder about. You know, romantic stuff. I wonder if there is something wrong with the men in the city of Chicago or there is in fact something wrong with me. Okay, I’ll be honest – I think I’m a pretty good catch and I am perfectly fine with being single. But I am also perfectly fine with you know, dating, maybe being in a relationship. I’m sure it can be overrated and I don’t want one just to want one but it would be nice to have someone interested in me who I’m interested in. Any day now… Then there are times I wonder about my body, my face, my personality. I guess I wonder what I could be doing better even though I think all three are the things I actually do “have together.” I’m a pretty secure person after all, but sometimes I wonder what others really think about these things that make up who I am. Then I stop wondering and resign myself to not caring what others think, and then I wonder again. The cycle continues.
And of course there’s the stuff about how I think I’m a good writer but I’m struggling to find my voice and to really make something of myself with what I believe is a gift. I wonder if it is really a gift, if I’m actually good enough. I wonder if I’m too deep or not deep enough. I wonder if all I’ll ever be is a modern tortured writer that doesn’t really make a difference.
So, there you have it. There’s my stuff. Well, there’s some of my stuff. Why am I telling you this? Because it’s me, it’s not all of me – I think I’m funny, inspiring, interesting, hopeful, etc., too but I’m also trying to be more honest, and not just behind close doors. But “this-is-who-I-am-on-and-offline-without-TMI” honest. Because our society, our generation, we need more honesty. We need to stop acting like we’ve got it all together. I am telling you this to let you know that I don’t have it all together. I am telling you that I have a lot of stuff. But that’s what makes life beautiful, you know. That I can have all this stuff but still feel like the world is at my feet, and still feel confident and hopeful and happy in the present, and for the future. But especially in the present.
So let’s pretend it’s just you and me and we’re really good friends. What’s your stuff? What are the things that you are afraid to show to the world? What are the things that you are afraid to admit to the world? C’mon, don’t be shy…this is a safe space. I told you my stuff and now it’s your turn.