Have you ever been stuck?  And I don’t mean wedged down a ravine, I mean in a place of indecision.  Of inner turmoil.  We can become entangled in the simplest of troubles.  The tiniest complications can easily become our nightmare, if we let them.  I believe we can work our way out of a state of being “stuck,” at least in the sense I’m talking about.  Sometimes there are obstacles in our life that will not go away and remain completely outside of our control.  But the way in which we encounter such challenges determines whether or not we get dragged down or fight long enough to escape the quicksand.

I don’t really have any particular situation in my mind right now.  I have experienced many in my past though, and I’m sure many more shall arrive.  This is part of my life experience, as it should be.  By living practically and with a certain degree of trained positivity, I can usually circumvent the pitfalls that show up in my path.  This doesn’t mean I gloss over a serious situation, it simply means that I try to find the redeeming elements, because they are what will see me through.  I have never encountered true suffering in my life, and I hope I never will, but odds are that new challenges will continue to present themselves.  By finding the light in the darkness, the humor in the chaos if you will, I am able to open up new opportunities that might otherwise have been shrouded by the illusion of futility.

I have suffered from depression in the past and currently take antidepressants.  That (coupled with what was at one point near-crippling social anxiety in addition to my Aspergers) has presented me with a fairly unique set of challenges during adolescence, a difficult time for anyone.  Each year I grow.  Situations that rattled me when I was 15 seem inconsequential now, and even moments of extreme confusion and pain from earlier in my college career no longer hold that authority of negativity over me.  Life is hard, but I learn to find the beauty and truth in its mysteries whilst enduring the pain it sometimes holds.

Perhaps, I should try and find a more grounded example.  This summer, I experienced the most challenging experience of my life training with the SITI Company in Saratoga Springs, New York.  It was an amazing experience and an honor to work with so many talented individuals, but at times it was terrifying and overwhelming.  I broke down and wept on more than one occasion.  I felt like I was lagging behind the other actors, unable to do the work to a sufficient standard, and failing to appease my own sense of “accomplishment.”  At one point, I sent a text message to a very close friend which simply read, “I am broken.”

But looking back on this experience now, and even at the time, I knew the incredible importance of what I was doing and realized that ultimately the process suited my best interests.  If there was no hardship, there would be no growth.  And I would be a bad actor and a pretty shallow individual if I never grew.  I feel this change in myself and am told by my professors and even some of my peers that they can sense it as well.  This change manifests in my academic and social life and I realize just how fortunate I am to have had such an experience at the age of 20.  And, in fairness to me and some of my difficulties training this summer, a couple of months ago I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. 🙂

It is good to have standards and goals, but they should not dominate one’s existence to the point of becoming barriers in their own right.  My perfectionism has often been my own worst enemy, but when I simply strive for personal excellence unimpeded by external pressures, I am usually my most successful.  In summary, I find this quote comforting:

When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.Winston Churchill

~ by Ross on October 6, 2009.

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