How many times am I going to encounter the wall, stand facing it, and with a sigh of resignation retreat? How many times will I find my back against it, chafing, before curling into a ball at its base, I give up. I resent the wall. It springs up before me both unexpectedly and predictably. I’ve been crushed against it without warning, and I’ve seen it coming a mile away. The wall is immovable and unchanging, holding me apart from reaching my highest potential, blocking the way. I can’t change it. I don’t even try.
The wall deflates me. It zaps my energy, my forward momentum. I regard it with a cynical bitterness, you again. Just when I was on to something. Invariably, I meet the wall with a towering rage I use to sink to my ass and give up, stewing in the unfairness of it all. I don’t search for footholds that might allow me to scale it. I don’t search for tools or supports to help me over it. I don’t search for ways around it. I let it stop me in my tracks, arrest my progress, every time. Super inspiring.
The wall won’t change. It’ll be there, though. It will show up. It will show up in the form of job rejections, self-limiting beliefs, negative cultural and societal forces, bad bosses, rigid systems, lack of access, depressing world events, and personal failures. I will own I’ve found myself near the bottom, laying the bricks and mortar myself, solidifying any and all chinks, preventing breeches. If I can’t transcend the wall, I’ll get busy keeping myself in, in the guise of shaping and therefore controlling it. I will make my own prison behind it. I will make it my own, and that is how I will triumph.
Except that hasn’t worked. I’m not anywhere near where I’d like to be, because of the wall, and my relationship to it. At some point, I became so disillusioned I managed my expectations down to nothing, and set up shop behind the wall, making a tiny little life. I relinquished control. I stopped wondering, stopped asking questions, stopped imagining what might lay beyond. I decided, without deciding, you go through some tough years and you give up hope and settle for stability. You trade a big, bright future for security in the here and now by making excuses, letting yourself off the hook. But then things stabilize, you look around and think, this isn’t enough! The old excuses have faded. You begin to see the wall in a different light.
Very recently I’ve reached a point where I see with utter clarity that I will either need to create new excuses for remaining blocked by the wall, or find a way past it. The first option fills me with dread, leaving me with only one choice–find a way past it.
I’m opting for the most direct method, the one I know I can do, a feat of strength that will get me past this state of ennui and lowered expectations. The wall won’t change, but I can. It’s not going to magically remove without effort from me. I’m punching through the wall. That’s how I’m going to do it. It’s the most immediate way I can see, going through it.
I’ve come to suspect the wall’s impossible heights and lengths are of my own design, reinforced by my own self-limiting beliefs. I know I’ve gotten busy smoothing the cracks, keeping myself safely inactive behind its formidable mass. I’m beginning to suspect the wall may be made of less than I imagined, and that perhaps it’s only ever lived in my mind. What if it’s actually made out of tissue paper? What if it’s really only a foot high? What if there have been ladders and ropes and hands reaching down from the other side all along?
I’m going to find out. I’m going to set out to punch a Kate-sized hole in it, all the while watching for other possible ways around or over it. I’m going to ask for help. When my energy flags, or I don’t immediately see progress, or I feel myself backing away, I’m going to remind myself of the pain of the enclosure. The pain that is guaranteed to worsen year by year. The pain of a wasted life. When my desperate Millenial need for instant gratification threatens to consume me and suck me back into numb inaction, I’m going to see that for what it is: bricklaying.