Search. Searching. What a strange looking word. What a strange process.
What is the purpose? Why does it matter? What am I searching for? Is it a person? Is it a feeling? Is it certainty? Do I even want to find people? What would it be like to find someone? What if I don’t find anyone? Which would be easier? What happens if I find someone and they don’t acknowledge me? What if they are dead?
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in therapy droning on and on about how the uncertainty of the outcome of searching is the biggest impediment to starting. Uncertainty is scary but not as scary as committing and being wrong. I’m not sure which holds me back more.
Anyway you cut it it’s total shit.
Uncertainty sucks, and feeling like there is no clarity as to what the lowest risk pathway is makes taking the first step feel like a total crapshoot. I hate the uncertainty and inherent inefficiency in making decisions without information. It pains me to think I could spend years, boat loads full of cash and plenty of emotional energy on a strategy that has no guaranteed return on investment. I hate making uniformed decisions and I hate being vulnerable.
Everyone always says “you just have to be comfortable being uncomfortable or comfortable being vulnerable”. I think that is total and complete horseshit. I understand the sentiment that uncertainty and vulnerability can be assets and oftentimes present opportunities for personal growth. It’s the articulation that is shit.
Nothing about searching feels comfortable and nothing about it feels like I am in control. I know, I’m supposed to feel “ok” with not being in control. I don’t. The only thing I feel I have control over right now is not knowing. It’s all I’ve known, nothing. Now, having the possibility of learning or potentially knowing, I’m scared of losing that control, that power. It’s the only hand I’ve got and in all honestly, it’s a total shit hand. It’s a bluff. The audience knows I’m fucked, my competitors are baiting me in and I know but hold onto a glimmer of hope that if I hold out they will chicken out and I wont have to go all in. Poker analogies are shit too.
It’s all shit.
I’ve been in this conversation with my therapist, who I think probably thinks I’m full of shit, about the presence of unconditional love in my life, or lack thereof. It seems like throughout our entire conversations the only thing that I’ve been able to really give up is that I created some shit articulation that I can’t be loved unconditionally. It feels almost like by talking through all these examples or pieces of my past I’m able to dispel those articulations. It does seem like my articulation of the lack of unconditional love in my life has more to do with the articulation rather than, say, by what I experienced. That may be shit also, but it felt right writing it, which is turning out to be shit.
It now feels wrong.
I don’t even know what unconditional love is. If I felt it, would I even know? Would I call it unconditional love? The absence of unconditional love in my life is the root cause of why I’m a low self-esteem little shit. Dr. Therapist has done an excellent job of helping me realize my narrative is based on lack or absence. This framing has allowed me to say, to myself somewhat subconsciously up until now, that I belong in India and do not belong in the U.S. This framing allows me to assume that where I belong is where I would find unconditional love which on the flipside means where I don’t belong I wont find unconditional love. All of my short comings return to this central theme of being out of place and at a disadvantage because I am not in my home culture and so am not valued appropriately. This articulation allows me to see, feel, and, most importantly, create distance between myself and others. I consider this tactic a defense tactic that I put up when I feel inadequate or downtrodden and need someone to blame. As you may have guessed, this too, is utter shit.
This search for belonging and meaning, if somewhat fabricated or artificially concocted has, with the help of Dr. Therapist, challenged the notion that I “belong” in India or that I don’t belong in the U.S. This realization shifts the narrative in my head and puts myself back at the center giving myself the agency I stripped away. This agency gives me the ability to determine whether or not I can experience unconditional love anywhere. It allows me to feel comfortable defining relationships and accepting closeness to others, albeit still on my own shaky terms.
This newfound agency still feels like shit, but less shit.