I have lived the life of “I Can’t…” and I have come out the other side. I have fought my inner demons, though they’re not all slain, and have had to fight the comforts of my own misery and despair. “I Can’t…” can rule your life and your world and turn you into a quivering ball of sad. It’s just too damned easy to “I Can’t…” your life and opportunities away.
I recall a time when all kinds of invitations and offers and possibly opportunities were coming at me and all I could manage to respond was “I Can’t…” and I was only nineteen years old. *Sigh* I sometimes feel like I wasted my youth, but I know better, I know much of it was stolen from me. I know that even when I escaped the grips of my abuser and started my life over again that I didn’t know who I was or where or if I fit into the world. Even pondering these things was such a burden that “I Can’t…” became my mantra.
Boys came and went and I was still so unsure of myself. I thought I was in love here and there and that gave me glimpses of joy, though fleeting. The inevitable heartbreak and misery that followed soon had me clinging to “I Can’t…” once again. There was even a boy (okay, he was 26) who broke up with me on my birthday and I wanted desperately to end my life over it. Luckily I have very strong instincts and incredible friends and that fateful page (yes, a pager, chi’ren) from Stephy saved myself from myself that night.
When things get hard “I Can’t…” is so much easier than I can or I will or I must. “I Can’t…” will get you out of things, good and bad. “I Can’t…” feels like a safety net. “I Can’t…” was my hidey hole away from the world. “I Can’t…” was sitting in my room crying for hours with the same song on repeat, wrenching my heart with each repetition (over that same boy). “I Can’t…” was so much easier than just saying no.
It wasn’t until I found some stability in my life, in my friends, in a new boy (and future husband; now soon to be ex-husband) that I was finally willing to let go of “I Can’t…” for a little while. When my retail career ended I didn’t know where to turn. It was a strange time, I found art and lost my grandma. I found a new career and soon began to push myself out of my comfort zone. Though, not knowing/understanding the rules of the corporate world helped me at first.
I began to ask for things, to share my thoughts and to seek improvements. I realized that the harder I pushed myself outside of “I Can’t…” the more I got out of life and my career. I got shit done! I got recognition and actually improved a few people’s work lives. It was exciting! I felt unstoppable! When that career abruptly ended I was once again lost and unsure. I had put so much of myself into that career, I didn’t know who I was outside of it.
I had learned a lesson in getting outside of my comfort zone, though. I had learned that that was the sweet spot for me. I continued to push and to strive and while I had a couple of the worst jobs ever, I chose to push further and opened my own cafe. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m proud of myself for having the vulva to do it! While selling it and walking away felt like the best decision of my life, I also don’t regret doing all of the work and going through all I did to get there.
Had I continued to let “I Can’t…” rule my world, I’d still be stuck in retail hell. I’d still be insecure and hating myself and my body. I’d still be ashamed to show my face in most places and do most things. “I Can’t…” would not have allowed me to seek self acceptance or to love and celebrate my fat body. “I Can’t…” would never have given me the chance to be happy. And “I Can’t…” won’t do a damned thing for you either! It will only hold you back and keep you down! I hope you can find a way to let it go and to rid yourself of it once and for all.