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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Marston

Thoughts on discouragement

I have spent the majority of my life wallowing in the discouragement of some failed attempt (a diet, a crush, a career goal) or in fear of the discouragement that could potentially follow future failed attempts.

I fear discouragement because well I have literally felt so trapped by it that I have tried to end my life and even after coming back from that there were so many days that seemed bleak and hopeless.

That is a pretty limited space to live your life from, it turns out.

Since the day-before-school terrors of my childhood, anxiety has been kind of the leading force in my life. It has made a lot of decisions in almost all areas of my life. It has shit all over my dreams and held me back from so many opportunities.

For all these years I say I am all about creating art that connects with people and positively contributing to the world with my passions and purpose but in reality, my actions show that most of the time I have chosen my personal comfort over my true desires. And every failed attempt of the times I actually tried, left me with more stories of discouragement and further proof. Why should I keep trying when I would just be devastated by discouragement once again? This was the question I asked when it came to everything for so long in my life that there have been times in the last decade or two that I have looked at my life and I wondered how it got to be what it was. “How was I working in oil and gas? What am I doing with my life? Who’s life is this?”, questions like these kept me up at night. THEY STILL DO!!!!!

My story that I carried with me about discouragement and the consequences of failure made my life stressful, terrifying, unfilling and sucked out so much joy from amazing moments that I actually did have in my life.

Recently, I discovered that humans are meaning-making machines. We assign meaning to everything in our lives and in doing that we create these narratives that are driven by moments from our past and these narratives rob us of fresh opportunities and possibilities right in front of us.

Every day, I am working on uncovering more of my narratives or as I like to call them “my bull shit”. Now, I am trying to make choices that are more authentic to who I want to be, and when I hear those old stories bubbling up in my head, I know that it is just my bullshit trying to have its say.

While the awareness has been somewhat freeing and has opened me up to pushing myself to commit to new possibilities for my life, I do feel like I struggle to decipher the line between my bullshit and my intuition. For me, the line between anxious avoidance and intuitive dodging sometimes feels too close to call. It is hard for me to know if the screaming that I am pushing to the back of my head is my old bullshit or my intuition trying to tell me something valid.

So far here is what I am starting to figure out about my narrative versus my intuition. My narrative/bullshit is constantly rambling up in my head while I think my intuition is those pits you feel in your stomach when something is off.

Anyhoo, that just where I am at right now. I am really committed to working myself and right now I feel inclined to throw my experience out into the internet and hope that these words find someone that needs them. I know that has been the case for me when I have been on my search for meaning and to feel less alone on this floating rock.

Here’s to the possibilities of the nothingness that lies in front of us free of any meaning we might attach to it.

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