Reaching for your Wonder Woman
Recently I signed up to participate in self-care peer support groups through my job as a way of learning additional coping skills in doing our demanding work, but also lets be real here….it gets me out the office for half the day too. We were told that this group was founded three years ago and heavily supported by our director to help social workers avoid burnout and/or come back from compassion fatigue. For those of you who don’t know, I work for the local social services agency with families who are dealing with child abuse and/or neglect issues to include parental substance use and mental health issues. So as you can imagine, our job can definitely take a toll on us if we don’t take care of ourselves outside of work. What’s interesting is that as part of our opening activity we were asked to go to the facility’s play room and pick out figurines that represent what brought us to the group. An activity that my fellow play therapy gurus know…can tell you a whole lot about a person. I remember I did this with an eleven year old client who was suffering from pretty gnarly self-esteem issues and bullying. What did she choose? The Quasimodo figurine from the Disney movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Like I said….very telling. As I walked into the play room, I immediately zoomed in on the Wonder Women. Anyone who knows me or has been to my home has seen the multiple posters, mugs, and all sorts of other crap of Wonder Woman I have…..I freakin love her and what she stands for! Talk about an empowered sexy woman who of course has dark brown hair….shout out to my dark haired women! Also just given what I’ve been through in life and all I’ve been able to accomplish and overcome…dammit…I am a Wonder Woman. And my current mission in life besides helping inner city youth of color and families? Empowering women of color. So I was jumping for joy and so excited that within seconds I found my figurine. But before I could leave the room, from the corner of my eye something else caught my attention. Below from where I had picked up Wonder Woman, I saw Eeyore. All there with his busted tail and sadness. And I couldn’t help but pick it up and realize…..I also felt like he did.
For the past two months or so, I have hit my wits end at work and within my career. I’ve come to realize that I am not following my true passion and I am stunted. I am no longer learning, growing, or helping these families in the way I WANT to help them. I am bogged down by bureaucracy, policy, fear from upper management, and no wiggle room for creativity, innovation, or true social work healing and justice. I feel trapped and it’s pouring into my personal life. I am more tired, less social, and everything feels like a chore. Struggle bus and I am its passenger right now. So when I shared my two figurines with the group I realized that despite feeling like Eeyore, I knew that I was and always will be my own Wonder Woman. It is up to me to release myself from this toxic environment and follow my dreams. What I have to be however is more patient. I don’t have the luxury of just quitting my job and saying eff you to the world. I have a mortgage, school, bills, and I like food and I’m pretty sure my husband and fur baby would not like being homeless or hungry. So while I look for a more supportive work environment, I truck through with school and building my business. Doesn’t leave me much down time, but I know in the end it will be worth it. So friends and family, know that I’m not avoiding anyone…I’m just working hard to stay afloat while building my empire. In two years, I will be exactly where I want to be…graduated with my doctorate and an entrepreneur. I am speaking it into existence!
So why am I sharing? Maybe this is the sign you need to push out of where you are trapped. If you feel stunted, like the walls are closing in on you, like your job or current life situation has nothing more to offer….it’s time to get moving. What would your figurine be and what do you need to do to take the next step? Believe it or not….the step doesn’t have to be something drastic like quitting your job or swearing off men. It could be as simple as doing something new like going to the movies by yourself, IM’ing that person you’ve been too scared to before, exploring other job opportunities in other areas or even another state! Regardless of whether you start big or small, take at least one step forward. Empower yourself and remind yourself of the Wonder Woman you are. And do it by borrowing my mantra…fear never stops us from doing what we want…it just wants to make you believe it can. Think about it. Fear is an emotion that at times can be paralyzing, but the truth is….fear does not PHYSICALLY stop us from doing anything….it is our mind…we…who end up halting our progress. So remind yourself that fear like everything else passes and it can never physically stop you from taking a step forward. And learn to embrace patience because as we all know…..things do not happen overnight. This is when it’s most critical to be kind to yourself. As I told a good friend of mine, the road is brutal and one that has to be traveled, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be kind to yourself as it runs its course. Despite the road being rocky or patience not being your thing, being kind to yourself will help you deal with the waiting game while you build whatever it is you are trying to build. I believe in you, I believe in me, and I believe that all this will work out the way it should. Never give up or give in. Much love!