January 1, 2012

The Girl Who Hoped

This is the kind of post that left me hovering over the publish button for a long time before clicking it. Forgive me ahead of time.

I watched the ball drop last night, and my heart sank with it. I saw the lights and glitter burst and then fade out, and reflected over the last year. I found myself in tears. They weren't the nostalgic, happy tears I wanted to cry, either. These tears were sad and even a little bitter. I thought about the dreams I had for myself- the ones I have had for a long time, but grew stronger over 2011- and how I hadn't come close enough to taste them or even feel them brush against my hand. Instead of becoming more of who I want to be, I feel like I've been pushed in the opposite direction.

It wasn't for a lack of desire. It seems like so many successful people preach that we need only want something badly enough, and we can get it, or that hard work alone will make us successful. They leave out the part about luck, I think. The things I want (and not things, as in something I could buy, but goals) I have wanted so deeply, so fiercely. I have worked towards them in every single way I know how, and still have ended up without at the end of the year. My college degree is one of those things, but I haven't been able to take a single class since the summer of 2009. I hate it, and I hate even more that there seems to be no way around it. I know a few other bloggers who have wanted something just as badly (and some, I know, even more), and were empty handed on New Year's, too.

Here's the truth of it- I'm scared to hope. It hasn't gotten me very far in the past. I see everyone's optimism for 2012, and I truly envy it, but sometimes I look in the mirror and think, "You're 27, and you've only gotten this far in life? What have you actually done?" That girl looks the same as the 26 year old, the 25 year old, etc. I search for ways she's grown, but come up empty.

Crying over a silly blog post isn't the way I had hoped to spend New Year's Day, and I apologize if I sound ungrateful. I know I am blessed. In some ways, I wish I could switch off that ache in me that wants to grow and run farther, but it doesn't work that way- or if it does, I still wouldn't do it.

I don't want to be the girl with potential, the girl with hope. I want to be the girl that did it, instead of the girl who dreamed it. I want to be the girl who doesn't cry when the ball drops at the end of 2012.

13 kind comments from you:

Mrs. Wookie said...

I've definitely felt this before how years can repeat over the same shit and you feel completely unchanged compared to the rest of the populace. 25 and 26 were 'meh.' 27 was an improvement. 28 is my year. Only because I'm making it so.

I want things that instant and I'm not happy unless I get my way - which proves that life is never like that so I've been disappointed in the past.

Bitterness can't take away from having a cutie-patootie daughter. Seriously, you could take video of her and I'd watch. And I don't even know her.

Sometimes life's a bitch - a big bitch. That's when you buy sunscreen and visit California where you're welcome to enjoy the beach and gorgeous sunsets. :D

Clearbluewater3 said...

Just know that when I "look" at you I don't see "You're 27, and you've only gotten this far in life? What have you actually done?" I see "You're 27! You've done so much you've created a beautiful daughter who you're raising to be kind and gentle and passionate; You've created a family, a fought for it when most people would not; you are a dreamer, a writer, a mother, a lover, a friend. You've done so much. And there is so much more time!"

And don't turn off that ache because that ache is going to grow and burn until it casts a gorgeous light by which to guide you to your dreams.

I wish I lived close enough so I could watch Millie for you to take a class or two at night. If you want to air mail her to Seattle I'd be happy to :)

Hang in there love, I *know* you'll accomplish amazing things.

charla beth said...

oh, erika. your honesty is so endearing. please don't ever be sorry for sharing what's on your heart.

i agree with you about how people say you just have to work hard and dream big, as if a red carpet will simply roll out in front of you, paving the way. maybe for some it works out that way, but not for all of us. definitely not for all of us. i've seen the dreams of those i love crash around them. i've also spent a lot of time weeping during the past year wondering why God has me here, now. wondering why my life looks so different than the one i had dreamed about. wondering why He'd give me dreams just to break my heart with them. but back in november, i heard this incredible sermon about how God has given us each a promise, a hope in our heart. and about how each of us should marry the word "confident" in Philippians 6:1, where it says we need to be CONFIDENT that He who began a good work in us WILL complete it. i believe that for you, erika, and i hope God will shower over you with peace in what looks like a hopeless place. i could also bet that even if the erika on the outside looks exactly the same as she did one, two, three years ago...that the erika on the inside has changed, grown, been broken and then been built back up again. and that inside erika? that is the erika who matters. <3

i'm sorry your new years was one of heartbreak. but please know you're not alone in feeling that way and you definitely won't be alone as you press on towards what's ahead.

i hope this new year brings the promise of new and bright and beautiful things and that, even if slowly, you will be one step closer to accomplishing all the dreams God has put in your heart.

i love you. i'm praying for you.

Elizabeth said...

I could not agree more with those who have already commented. You are an AMAZING soul. If I don't convey enough how much of an inspiring woman you are, then let me say it again:: YOU ARE INSPIRING!

I will hope for you for 2012! Never lose your desires, never lose that aching, never give up on yourself!! Big hugs for you!

Hi, I'm Michelle said...

I'm so glad you decided to publish this post. You are not alone! I had very similar emotions watching the ball drop last night. The last few years have been a struggle for me as well. I could write a novel of encouraging words, but right now I just want you to know that you're not alone, and that even thought I don't know you, I love reading your blog every day and you're in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! I know exactly what you mean. I am turning 30 in just a few days and I am constantly looking at my life asking where it went. I am finally getting through school. I have tried for so long to actually go and now I just have to finish. It is a long road ahead though. The thing that always help me feel a little better (if not a lot better) is looking at my little girl and knowing that nothing is better than her.
I love reading your blog. It lets me know that I am not alone.

Allison said...

You are not alone. 2011 was not my year either. There are things that I have been striving towards this year that haven't even come close to happening and it has been difficult for me to keep hoping.

But I hope for you that 2012 is a much better year for you and that you will be satisfied with the way the year has gone. I will be praying for you!

The New "Normal" said...

I know there are no words that can help or make you feel better, but I wish there was something I could do to take some of your pain away. Your honesty always inspires me. I've been right where you are, in years past. This is truthfully the first new year that I have looked forward to and been optimistic about in a very long time. I can remember at 26, 27, 28, feeling this same way, afraid to hope and wondering if I would get to where I wanted to be. I can't say I am there yet, but I see the light. You are strong, you are amazing, you will get there. Life really sucks at times, and we don't understand why awful things keep happening when you think the worst has already come, I've been there too, but don't give up. Hold tight to your beautiful daughter and your loving family, they adore you and you all will be stronger for these times that you are going through. I know that doesn't make it any easier though...
You guys have constantly been in my prayers and will stay there through this new year. I pray that it will be an amazing one for you!

Ashley said...

I know 2011 has been a struggle for you, so I understand your disappointment. Please don't apologize. You deserve to be frustrated. You know, hope is a little like trust. Sometimes it gets dashed into pieces one too many times, and you just want to give up...and that's okay.

But, I want to encourage you. Please don't give up. Don't give up on your dreams. If I can help you make your education dreams come true this year, you know where to find me. I'm available for questions or help with your FAFSA or whatever. Just know, that I believe in you. I believe in your dreams.

You are not the same girl you were at 25...I think sometimes it just feels that way. You are growing. You are changing, and you are beautiful, dear friend.

Happy New Year ;)

Anonymous said...

Erika, I know what you mean about the successful people saying we just need to want it badly enough. What we don't know is how long they waited, the things they did, the crazy ideas they tried, the number of rejections they had, but kept going anyway.

I believe the hardest thing we can do is be positive when there is no evidence around to support it. I too had a cry on New Years Day, because I let the uncertainty and hopelessness overcome me.

Lately I've taken to going back over my life (and yes, I have more years than you :), and remember the goals I had - goals that other people scoffed at - and I achieved. While I did all that I knew how to do, I still had to have faith that it would happen. And those times when it didn't happen? - I see now that I had actually changed my mind and was focussing on something else. True story. :)

Lots of love to you sweetheart. "They" say we need to stay happy for things to come our way, so make sure you spend lots of giggle time with Millie.

Deanna said...

My heart breaks for you. I know this has been such a tough year for you...preceeded by other tough years. I am really praying that 2012 brings you the happiness and success that you are hoping for and truly deserve. (hugs)

Melissa said...

I kind of know how you feel, I feel the same way about 2011, bitter and wondering where it all went everything I set out to accomplish.

But you know what you have accomplished so much, such an inspiring person and I see that drive, the drive you want to go to school, applying for the scholarships...which I still say they were dumb for not granting it to you...but I digress. You have more determination than most I have ever met and I haven't ever met you in "real" life! You are an amazing mother, an amazing wife you has fought for your marriage overcome so many things in 2011!

But I do agree with everyone else, not to lose that hope, that hope is what will get you there, that aching will turn into it happening and you will look back in amazement and see all that you have accomplished and have yet to accomplish.

Keep your chin up! I have a feeling 2012 is gonna be a great year for a lot of people, you included!

and sorry for rambling on!

ginanorma said...

Omgsh, I have to tell you about my Hopes And Dreams post! Honestly, it's all too much hype "theNew Year new you" thing! Just live in now and in the moments that are here and beautiful, or at least seeking out the beauty in any moment, THAT is real life, not all this self focused goals an "plans". I could go on and on, but for now, let's just say, I can relate, and I feel for you, and thank you for being real and authentic and honest.

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