An airplane wing through airplane window with blue sky background

Waving through a window

“I’ve learned to slam on the brake before I even turn the key.
Before I make a mistake. Before I lead with the worst of me.”

Those first few lines from the soundtrack of hit Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen resonated with me immediately after the first listen. As I played the song on loop, it verbalized what I’ve been going through for almost a decade, and what has prevented me from successfully moving forward to any direction.

It has been an endless and troublesome cycle, I tell ya.

In countless situations I would take a few steps ahead, sometimes even sprint towards a goal, before abruptly coming to a full stop. A voice in my head would start telling me how I don’t deserve good things. That it’s not worth putting in any effort. That in my constant struggle to become a better version of myself, in the end I will never be good enough.

100% of the time I will believe those words.

So I would stop on my tracks, turn around, and with my head facing down walk back to the starting line while I hide my beaten confidence behind a blanket of self-deprecating jokes.

I never let myself finish the race.

The battle between two wolves

Remember the parable about the two wolves? It took me a while to accept that I’ve been feeding the wrong one. And now that I’ve been actively fighting the big bad beast within, there are nights when I go to bed badly bruised from the daily combat.

The past six months have been the toughest so far. It felt like I was being pushed and pulled into different directions. My head filled with hundreds of mixed thoughts about career, family, purpose, relationships and self-improvement. Until now it has been rough both mentally, as I try to find stability, and physically as well. I’ve lost a lost of weight due to overthinking and putting myself in a lot of mental stress.

What I’ve figured out so far is that things don’t get any easier after crossing the 30th mark. We should all probably know and accept that by now. But we become stronger, as we rightfully should, after surviving every pile of garbage being thrown at us from every direction.

I keep telling my friends (and oh, how I am blessed with so many great ones) about the difficulties I’m going through and they are always on call to help me pick up the pieces every single time. I’m still standing today because of those people and I can only hope to be the same source of strength to them.

So as I continue to battle my way through one day at a time,  trying to make peace with both beasts inside me, I owe it to all the people who have been there for me (and to myself) to keep fighting the good fight.

And to have more courage than fear.

Published by Rob Bautista

A little socially awkward and always a late bloomer, I prefer spending my weekends getting high on top of a mountain peak, soaking my feet into saltwater, savoring the best flavors of local food, getting lost within the inner streets of historical cities, and documenting everything in photographs. But most of the time I chill inside cozy coffee shops or laze on my bed.

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