Earlier this week, I was getting food on my way from one commitment to the next (as is the life of the college student), and as I was paying, the cashier who helped me made a remark about my unwavering smile.
“You seem really happy […] Maybe some of your happiness will rub off on me,” they said.
I tried to brush it off, to convince them my face is prone to smiling. But to no avail. This isn’t the first time someone has taken notice of my constant smiling and interpreted it as a sign of everlasting happiness.
I’ve received several comments over the years reflecting on my constant smiles and positive attitude (i.e. “happiness”). And it’s because, often when interacting with people (which is all the time in this age), I smile. Anyone who knows me knows with absolute certainty I will be smiling a good percent of the time I’m with them. But not everyone knows my smile stems more from feelings of awkwardness, anxiety, and, okay, happiness… but usually for the other person. I care a freak-ish amount for people close to me, and when I get to enjoy their company or hear of their good fortune, I can’t help but smile. But that doesn’t mean I am always as equally happy for myself. Because, lately, behind my smile for others and their happiness, have been thoughts of immense uneasiness and confusion. Thoughts that don’t typically warrant a smile.
To say these past several weeks have been stressful is an understatement. I’m nearly a quarter in to my final year of undergraduate school, but that’s the least of my worries.
Okay… Maybe third or fourth on my worry list.
I’m at such a crossroads in my life right now. And while that sense of uneasiness originally stemmed from my sudden doubt in my ideal career/passion (that I’ve been working the past few years toward), it’s sprouted into an uncertainty with who I am and what I know about myself. Because I feel like I don’t know myself anymore, not completely. Though I guess no one knows themselves completely… Except God.
Over these last few months, I have held such pride in figuring out who I was in terms of my introversion and anxiety. I’ve made measurable progress in acknowledging and embracing these facets of my identity. I am who I am–it’s different from a lot of the people in my life right now and that’s okay. But as much as I’d like to think I’m completely at peace (and have likely said as such on here at some point–side effects of an especially low-anxiety, high-confident day), I know I have a ways to go. And that’s fine. I’ve come to grips with that (some days). But while I’m navigating through this ongoing journey, I’ve embarked on another. And, depending on how consistently you read my whirling, disorganized, bordering on a public diary of a blog, you have likely figured out what it is.
The remainder of this post discloses more on my journey with my faith and God. I strongly encourage you to continue reading. But should you wish to stop here, I respect your decision and thank you for reading to this point. Have a wonderful day.
I’m finding and solidifying my faith, my relationship with God. And that’s where I’m feeling especially crossroads-y right now. I don’t come from a family of faith. I don’t have many people in my life who practice faith. And that’s completely okay! I love the life I’ve been given and the people in it. But coming from a background with such little essence of faith has made it all the more difficult for me to openly express and feel at ease with my journey (but not enough to stop me from posting about on my blog–all of which they know about and have access to…). At least for the time-being.
But the other issue is, I don’t even really know what it is I would be saying or revealing. I don’t even fully understand where I am with my beliefs and how deeply I believe them. So how can I expect others to understand?
If right at this moment I were asked to explain my beliefs in concrete terms, I’d consider myself what I’m calling an “in-betweener”. I have faith–more than I used to: I have a relationship with God (I talk with Him and think about Him so much–it’s almost fear-inducing considering how little I used to do either) and I strive to live life according to His standards. But at the same time, I don’t surround myself with members of the believing community. The few times I’ve ventured out I’ve felt so out of my element with people who have a firmer grasp on understanding His Word and have had a relationship with God almost their entire lives, who have committed their lives to following Him.
It’s not a competition–I know that. This all stems from a relationship with Him and the striving to live through His Word. But I’m not there yet, not completely. I’m not ready to commit my life to His standards, not in the way He asks. And I don’t know if I will ever be. I feel gratified in the beginnings of this relationship, but I can’t stay in this early stage forever.
So in the meantime, I’ve sought guidance and support from those around me who have continued to greet me with love and acceptance so that I may figure out what I need to figure out. And while I’m hoping to do so soon, I know in the grand scheme of things, this will be an extensive, lifelong journey. And once I do and come to a concrete decision, I pray that those who have remained in my life up to this point will remain, regardless of what that decision means.
…I don’t think there’s a facial expression that accurately depicts internal journeys of self-discovery. But despite all I’m going through, I will always be ready and willing to give my smile, my happiness, and my love to my loved ones (whoa, shocking) and random cashiers and anyone who need it.
Thank you, Friends. Much love.