How I Feel like an Alien

I’m recovering from burnout and changing career paths so some weeks are quiet and some are full. When I do a lot or get very stressed, I need to make time to recover so that I don’t get too depleted. This week I’ve taken some steps towards my future. I’ve done a YouTube video interview to be published soon, a few final edits of my book and I attended a networking function. It’s a busy week by my current standards and situation.

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I’m struggling with feelings of inadequacy and being unsure of myself at the moment. Someone told me my dreams are not realistic this week and the networking function was disappointing. I so look forward to these opportunities and often I feel deflated afterwards.

At the networking function, I sat at a table with someone who has already rejected me for a speaking opportunity. I felt uncomfortable in her presence and my confidence was really low. Another woman spoke about how she believes that the only person to see her at her worst must be her. She feels she needs to look beautiful and perfect, even for her immediate family! Considering the path I have followed, I felt like an alien in that conversation.

The burnout I experienced shook me to my core. It stripped me of all delusions of grandeur based on qualifications, job title or appearance. I had terrible hair for months that I ended up cutting myself because I was too exhausted to go out. My medication gave me acne. I put on weight from my thyroid gland being medically slowed down. I dealt with many issues around self-worth, self concept and confidence over the past two years.

I had to learn to love and accept myself despite looking ugly, feeling terrible and worthless. I feel like I have walked through a dark tunnel of flames and out the other side to find everything and everyone is different. I suffered for years approaching burnout and not knowing what was about to happen. I suffered for years in recovery and now as I emerge at the other side, why do I still have to struggle so much? Why does it feel so lonely? When will I get my moment, my time to shine when things just go my way?

alien

To survive all of this I had to develop a strong sense of self belief. I had to turn away from that negativity, look myself in the mirror and learn to love the person there no matter how she looks or what she does for a living. I cannot tell you how hard it has been for me to get to where I am now. And still, I’m shaken by a bit of cynicism. It’s hard to change your entire life, to live your dream, to be honest about what it is and to defend it from critics. The critic in my own head is loud enough, why must there be others?

How much more hustle is required to get to a place of success where others can understand what I’m doing? I look into a future where people say ‘Oh, I see what you were doing and I get it now.’ It feels so uncomfortable for me to be so very different from the people I’m interacting with. Where do I find a tribe of people who also believe that it’s possible to live the life you want? Maybe they’re in some forest somewhere dancing around a cauldron or maybe they live among us and are too scared to speak up for fear of being ridiculed.

I know that I’m different. I know that my ideals are not understood and appreciated by many. I know that my Enneagram results show me to be a disruptor, a reformer. I understand that starting a revolution is hard work but does it have to feel so lonely and isolating? Please can someone stand by my side and tell me that I’m not crazy for wanting to enjoy my life and my work? Please help me to feel less like an alien.

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Kathy
I am a champion for living your passion. Writing is my passion, my destiny and my calling. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and a wife and live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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