What I Choose To Become

Ten years ago, my boyfriend was called a failure; half his brain had taken on the consistency of peanut butter and was surgically removed. Five years ago, my boyfriend was called a dreamer; he wanted to pursue medical school rather than a minimum wage service job.

He will be starting medical school in the fall. When he graduates, he plans to send a letter to the neuropsychologist who called him delusional to thank him. His determination to succeed has largely be a big “f*** you” to the countless people who told him would never make anything of himself.

That letter stating he was a “dreamer” for wanting to pursue medical school? That will be blown up and posted on the wall of his practice. A reminder to himself and to his patients that no one else can tell us what we are or are not capable of.

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”

Carl Jung

After ten years with my partner and being slapped around by life myself, I’ve adopted a similar level of determination. I refuse to be chronically ill. I refuse to give up my career unwillingly. I refuse to be too tired to babysit my niece and her soon-to-be sibling. I refuse to give up without a fight.

A brilliant professor in college introduced my to Carl Jung–as well as Joseph Campbell, Plato, and more–and I have always admired Jung’s takes. If he were alive today, I think we would be the best of friends and have some great discussions.

Today, I’m in a strange limbo. I know why I was sick, I am mostly recovered, I’ve released my old stress triggers, and I am faced with a blank slate. A few years ago, some may have called me a failure as my health and career regressed. A few years ago, some may have called me a dreamer when I insisted I would restore my health after doctors told me it was impossible.

It doesn’t matter what has happened to me. What matters is, what am I going to do about it? What am I going to do now? What’s my next oversized, unrealistic, “you’re crazy!” dream going to be?

I suppose the dream itself doesn’t matter. What matters is that I get to choose. Career advancement? Motherhood? Or, perhaps, taking up a new hobby? Anything.

I am not a victim of my experiences. I get to choose my path forward. How empowering it is to realize that not only have I had that choice at every stage of my journey, but I have taken full advantage, even when I didn’t quite realize it. Everyday, I am laying down the stepping stone toward the life of my dreams.

17 thoughts on “What I Choose To Become

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    1. I was called a “pie-in-the-sky” dreamer long before I became chronically ill. I achieved all the dreams, a couple of times over after becoming ill. The limitations speak to the person speaking them, not the person dreaming them! “The person who says it is impossible shouldn’t interrupt the person doing it.” – Chinese proverb.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “The limitations speak to the person speaking them, not the person dreaming them!” Tamara, I love this! 💖 That’s so true–challenging is not synonymous with impossible, but a lot of folks simply aren’t willing to put in the work.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Fear of failure, fear of criticism from failure… those are powerful deterrents too, unfortunately.

        Liked by 1 person

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