Who would have thought that I’d be back on the sofa. This stiff yet welcoming sofa. This sofa that is not my own, but allows me to be me on my own terms. This sofa absorbs every emotion, fear, and contemplative thought. This sofa and I parted ways so long ago and I thought we’d said goodbye forever. Yet here I am again, leaning forward, holding a pillow that makes me feel safe, in a place where I feel safe, talking to someone who says that my words are safe here.
How did I get here you ask, well, let’s see….
The following is based upon a true story, my story. I completed a six-month leadership rotation that almost broke me physically and mentally, however, it was truly a priceless experience and I would do it all over again if given the opportunity. I can honestly say I miss the position and the wonderful people I had the privilege of working with. Had other dependencies aligned, I would still be there. While in the rotation a leadership opportunity became available in my previous/current department and I was encouraged to by apply my leaders, but ultimately did not get the position. At the time naturally I was disappointed, especially when no specific reason was provided for the decision other than there is nothing better you could have done. As a recovering perfectionist, I would rather hear a list of things I need to improve upon than the unemotional generic response I received. A few weeks after the decision, I was scheduled to return to my previous position which was not easy. I was unsure of my place on the team at the time and it quickly became apparent that the opportunities I was afforded for exposure and growth prior to my rotation were going to be non-existent. I was quickly dropped back in the deep end of the pool with no life raft or even a chance to put my goggles on. My saving grace during those first six weeks back was finalizing the plans for my 40th birthday adventure in Spain. Eleven days in the most beautiful country I’ve ever experienced and someday hope to spend my retirement years there. I wholeheartedly could have stayed forever; the culture, the food, the scenary all made for the most memorable birthday I’ve had to date.
Still on my adventure high, I came back experience every woman’s rite of passage into the world of mammograms. Little did I know that my rule following personality, was possibly the difference between me writing this post from my bed and not a hospital bed. After a follow-up mammogram, biopsy, and MRI, I was referred to a surgeon… at a breast cancer center. They saw a spot that they wanted to remove and send for further exploration. I was diagnosed with Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia, which does increase my risk of breast cancer but is not cancer. This was not something that produced a lump or any other symptom, so without the mammogram, I would not have known that there was an issue. After surgery and then almost a year of follow-ups, poking, and prodding, I’m appointment free until January.
LADIES PLEASE GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM!!!
In the midst of this, I felt drawn back to my first love finance, and enrolled in a Certified Financial Planning program. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the late nights and constant studying will be worth it all in a few years. Obtaining the 6000 work experience hours might be a challenge, but I say bring it on. We do what’s important to us and this new path is my destiny.
On top of the challenges at work, challenges in the CFP program, challenges with my health (I have killer bunions on both feet), I also experienced challenges in my relationships. I discovered some family history that literally sent me into a spiral. I ventured once again into the world of dating that has proven to be both comical and disappointing. I’ll talk more about that in a later post. The biggest challenge of all for me has been maintaining friendships in the midst of adulting, especially when I enter those dark places. I know that not everyone is designed to be able to walk with you in the valleys. While my circle is basically the same, some of the seats have shifted and it makes me a little blue. But as with everything, we all have our paths to walk and I pray when the dust settles that no matter what, my loved ones are where and with whom they need to become their best selves.
So, after this 18-month whirlwind of suppressed emotion, withdrawal, anger, fear, disappointment, and depression; I’m back on the sofa. The sofa I left five years ago, thinking I was fixed, not knowing I had just scratched the surface. And understanding that I can’t be fixed, but I can be free. This time I think I’ll stay a little longer, be a little more transparent, be extremely angry, cry when I need to and laugh as often as possible. After all this sofa is like family. This sofa is rooting for me. Sandy, my therapist, is rooting for me.…. And so am I.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” E.E. Cummings