26 Apr I am Enough from Kerilyn Russo
Let me start by asking, how many of you have struggled with the thought that you are not where you always thought you would be, by now?
Having this opportunity to write my thoughts on being enough could not have come at a better time for me. As I pass through my thirty-sixth year, I find myself in this uncomfortable, scary and yet powerful intersection where I am constantly facing the barrage of thoughts about my life and how it’s not as pretty as I always thought it was going to be or spilling over with the success I always daydreamed it would, and yet, at the same time, I’m awakening to the realization that yes, while that may be what I am currently experiencing, I actually DO have the power to get off the “wheel” and CREATE my life to be what I wish.
Specifically in regards to my career and purpose, one moment I feel like my life is passing me by as I spend each day in a cubicle, NOT doing what I always thought I was meant to do with my life and the next, I learn that it doesn’t have to be this way, I can declare a ‘re-do” and begin again. Where these two roads meet, I feel incredible power that I am blazing a new path for my life and for the life of my future children.
It’s no wonder why I always feel like I’m spinning! I feel like I’m caught in a game of ‘red light, green light”!
Where did this dream come from? The dream that I hold on SO tightly to. When did I create it?
Maybe it was all the Disney movies I watched, or the photos I cut out from Teen Beat Magazine and collaged to my wall of those celebrities and that I would one day marry. Maybe it came from watching the most popular kids in high school and vowed to one day be as popular as they were? Who knows really? All I do know is on the one side, where I am today, is NOT where I always thought I saw my life to be, and that realization has been a hard one to swallow.
I remember, my 10-year-old self declared, I would grow up to be a psychologist, living in Italy. From early on, I daydreamed of strolling through the countryside (also called La Passeggiata) that my grandfather spent his early years in, that I was proud to be a part of, as a successful woman living “the life” on my own terms. I never saw myself married or with children, just me finding success in my career, in a country that I grew up hearing and living through its language and food.
I remember being 14 years old, sitting in the cafeteria of my middle school, talking with my girlfriends about when we thought we were going to get married. Adamantly, I responded 32 because at that time, I was convinced marriage was not what I wanted, but I thought by 32, I would be successful enough in my career to consider the idea of meeting someone and settling down.
That dream stayed strong until an experience my freshman year, first semester of college (as a dual Psych/Italian major) sent me spinning. (after being sexually assaulted and attempted to get help) What happened didn’t compute. “Wait, wait…this is NOT in my dream!” My disillusion with psychology and my 10-year-old dream of helping others feel ‘heard’ crumbled before my eyes. Before long, my Italian classes lost their luster and I believe it was that same year, I hung my little girl dream on the shelf, if only to look at and remember as better times gone by.
It was then, that I began to take the safe route with EVERYTHING. It was as if the only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to risk losing something so precious to me again. I took the safe route to my “career” which I no longer strived to find. I began letting other people make decisions for me. I mean, why do I care? I transferred from psychology to Interior Design (of which I really didn’t know anything about, my friend did it and I thought “hey that doesn’t look too complicated.”). It was as if I didn’t fight for myself and jumped on whatever trolley came along and in doing that, became my reality.
Were there blessings? Absolutely. My parents didn’t understand why I dropped my dream so they kept fighting for me. They didn’t give up on me finding my direction so I let them take the lead. Transferring to Art School was possibly one of the biggest blessings of my life. I didn’t see myself as artistic at all, more analytical and linear, but I was among other dreamers, other plagued and passion filled souls… and even if I wasn’t actively dreaming, it was as if I was home among those that do. I actually took on Interior Design like it was a mirage of my dream, thinking “okay maybe this is it!” and was excited at the thought that I was somehow reconnecting with my purpose.
Imagine my surprise after graduation and landing my first job in the “real” world when I got laid off after just three months. I picked myself up quickly because I didn’t know any better. I lost my job each year the first three years after I graduated. I remember after the third layoff, losing whatever fight I had left in me and again, began making decisions based on what I thought was safest. At job seven, I thought I finally found it; a position where I felt I understood my role and could do my best without creating a stir. I gave it my all. NOPE. Three years later, at thirty four years old, two months before my wedding, my company suddenly and without warning goes bankrupt. TEN years and SEVEN jobs later it was official, I had NO more fight left in me.
“It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club Movie
Amazing where we find ourselves when we have the greatest Aha! moment of our lives. That Aha! moment for me was while driving, with my now husband, who was trying to get me out of the house and away from the amassing black hole I was heading into. I asked him, “What do you think I should do with my life?” He said he thought I should do what I’ve always wanted to do…“to help people” and just like that, the light bulb went on. It was as if, after over a decade of putting my little girl dream on the shelf, I remembered it was even there to begin with!
Days later, while talking to a girlfriend who was considering becoming a Life Coach, I thought “What is a Life Coach?” and I feverously began researching. Oh my goodness, it’s what I always wanted to do – help people feel heard!! I had already begun developing an idea I had, for a website devoted to supporting those in the same boat as me (being married to a chef) and I thought I could bring these two concepts together. I could be a Life Coach for significant others in the restaurant industry!!!!
So, here I am… at the tail end of my coaching program, about to become certified, begin my coaching practice called Permission Granted Coaching, after launching my concept, Married to a Chef with much success. Already, other halves from around the world are signing up to collaborate and find support. 2011 has already been a big year of great evolving for me. So far, it’s been a year of being purposeful in disconnecting with those thoughts that have sustained my existence to date, but never given me purpose and plugging back into that which I believed to be my reason for being here.
After almost 20 years of giving up my dream, you would think, that this reconnection would be the easiest thing to get comfortable with; actually it’s been one of the hardest. It has resurfaced all those fears about devoting my life to something and it not being real. Of failing, or moreso…of succeeding. I am constantly finding myself between two roads, one road is the realization my life has not happened the way I originally intended it to be, the fear that in making this leap, something outside my control will throw me off course again. At times this fear grips me and has me frozen in place for days and weeks at a time. The other road is the understanding that even though that has been my experience so far, doesn’t mean I’ve failed. Just because it took me thirty six years to get to this realization, only means I had to take a long, winding detour. I need to remember that the long, winding roads are usually the most beautiful. I’ve learned A LOT, feel I’ve gained so much life experience I can now use to help others. It’s not the destination; it’s the journey, right?
The only tool I have found to push past feeling frozen is the energy in giving myself permission to feel what I’m feeling. To allow it. I know it will not be like this forever and like a sudden thunderstorm, I take shelter until it passes. And it does, every time. When I find myself reanimating from my frozen state, I am even stronger in my resolve that I CAN and I WILL make my dreams come true. What a powerful place that is! I have to be patient knowing the light will not remain red forever, and when I give myself permission to be where I am, I look up and see, it’s turned green.
About Kerilyn Russo
Kerilyn Russo is one of the searchers. A kindred spirit, wife, sister, and daughter. A sensitive and creative soul. A fledgling greeting card designer. Last but NEVER least, she is returning to her little girl dream as a Living by Allowing Life Coach and creator of the MILLION DOLLAR idea Married to a Chef. Not to shabby, eh?
Featured image above courtesy of Jen at Bits of Truth.