Do you know your “Why”? Why do you wake up every morning and do your best? Why do you go to your job and push yourself to your limits? Why do you cut your children’s strawberries to look like roses in their lunch? Why do you wake up an hour earlier than you would like to so that you can put in some time at the gym? Why do you send your friend an encouraging quote when she is going through a rough time? Why do you say yes to something that you don’t know how to do and then figure it out along the way? Why do you stay up long past bedtime to see sequins onto your son’s dance costume? Why do you stand in the rain to cheer your daughter’s soccer game?
If you don’t know, then maybe now is a good time to figure it out. Why do I suggest that you should find your why? Because I know how lost I became when I did not know my why. When I would rhetorically ask myself “ugh… WHY am I doing this? What is the point??” and I could not answer, I stopped asking, and the narrative in my brain became “I am so depressed. I am so tired. I can’t.” Over time, my “can’ts” became bigger and bigger “I can’t meet new people. I can’t apply for that job. I can’t take my kids there. I can’t be a passenger in a car. I can’t go anywhere where there isn’t a washroom.” One thing after another became inaccessible to me. Wherever I did not have a “why”, my anxiety built a “can’t”. By the time I was 32 years old, I had built a wall of can’t all around me, to the point that I would grill my best friend about every place we were going and every person that would be there, and she stopped telling me if we were going to be meeting someone new, I’m sure out of genuine exhaustion from walking me through every potentiality of what could go wrong upon my meeting these people.
I am not going to lie and say that I had an epiphany and suddenly saw clearly what I wanted and what I needed and I was cured of all of my crippling anxiety, because that is unrealistic and unfair to everyone who is going through the anguish of mental health struggles. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and prescribed Cymbalta. THAT took a sledge hammer to my can’ts, and then I started to pull out my Why. Why did I lug boxes on the graveyard shift at Save On Foods? Because I wanted my husband to find his peace. Why did I organize myself to do meal prep and laundry on Sundays? Because I have kids who need to feel loved in the mornings, not yelled at as they run out the door to school. Why did I commute for a year to an office that made me unhappy on the train for more than 3 hours a day? Because the money was better than I was making and my ambition to provide for my kids began to show. Why did I get a tattoo when I have always been opposed to them? Because I wanted an indelible reminder of where I had come from and what I had endured. Why do I speak openly about my chronic illnesses and mental health struggles? Because I do not want anyone to ever feel the shame and guilt that I felt from these afflictions. Why do I take a nap on Saturday afternoon while the kids are playing? Because I know that my body needs to ready in order to do the things that I want it to do. Why am I pushing myself to develop KaliDesautelsReads when I have a perfectly good job, and this side gig isn’t making me any money? Because I want more for myself and my family. I have an ambition and a creative streak that need to be fed.
So, what is it? What’s your why? What do you want more than anything and why do you want it? When your why is strong enough, there is nothing that will get in your way that you cannot get over.