This is not what I planned, how did I get here?
Sometimes there comes a point when you find yourself turning over in your bed, the warm rays of morning pushing open your eyelids. You struggle come back from dreams. You pull the blankets warm around you again, perhaps tugging them hard to get them free. You lay there and ask yourself “Who are you? Do I even know who you are anymore?”
“How in the world did I end up here?” You try to push out those thought, try to make them seem a little less painful. There are worse things out there certainly. But yet you still question, still lay there and try to find a tiny bit of that romance that drew you in to the concept of love and marriage and perhaps you ask “How did I lose all of those years?“
We ask ourselves this in moments where nothing seems familiar. We have strayed so far off our plan and we have no idea how we ended up like this. We have no idea how we ever managed to end up where we are in this life.
Mothers standing in the middle of filthy kitchens with a baby that won’t stop crying, looking at her disheveled reflection finding no answer but tears are usually the first. That man driving home from the bar at 3am, trying to keep his eyes open and clear so he can make it home, wherever home might be passing the exit to his house and asking himself if he should just keep driving knows this question. I know this question all too well. I ask it all the time and still I barely know the answer.
My Mother once said to me as we were driving home from a doctor’s appointment something so profound that it engraved itself on my soul. My world felt like it was falling apart, all I could do was cry. I was 17 years old and I had just learned that nothing would ever be the same again, I was pregnant. I couldn’t imagine how my life ended up the way it had. I was about to become a number, a statistic on the wall about teen pregnancy.
I looked to my mother who was driving, her face hard and hands both so tight on the steering wheel that her knuckles had turned white. “How did this happen? Why me?” I asked, my own voice sounding so young and pathetic. Without hesitation the answer came back to me. “You made your bed, now lie in it.” Words sounding so cold and targeted that I felt like I had been thrown fully into a frigid lake and was now about to drown.
23 years later, and I still haven’t forgotten how that felt. I still remember the exact place we were in that small hole of a town. I still remember asking myself at that moment how I got there and was there any hope to get out. At 17 I was used to being appalled by things she had said and done, but this was a reality that I could not avoid. She said many other things about my situation later, most of them I barely heard over my own screaming thoughts. But it was that one statement that stuck and I tumbled it over and over in my head until I wore away the sharp edges and polished it until it became something different.
You are responsible for own actions, every choice you made up to now have been through various choices and mindless actions you have made your whole life. Now you stand here at another crossroads of your life asking yourself not how, or why… but what is next. Only you can answer this or will you lie down in this bed of your own making and simply die.
We all have conversations with ourselves, negotiations and outlines of our lives. We make bargains and settle ourselves. Not all of them are bad ones, some are simple and some are life changing. There are moments of pure joy and moments of unconscious actions, but we are the ones in charge. I truly doubt anyone has ever made it to adulthood without asking themselves at some point if they were making the right decision or stopped for a pause and asked themselves if they were exactly where they wanted to be.