What are you avoiding?

There are daily avoidances – those things that just seem like they never go away no matter how many times we shove them back in the dryer, shut the door, or hide the scale. When I was a child, my mom had an ironing basket and a mending basket at the foot of her bed. The only memory I have of this blue plastic basket was that it was always full. She used to joke that things would be in there so long that we would have outgrown them before they ever got ironed or mended. (It really wasn’t that funny, actually, because it was quite true.) At times, I avoid phone calls, thank you cards, returning emails and sometimes even the doorbell. There have even been times that I have avoided my children – and dare I admit, my husband.

Oh, I can pretend that some of this “avoidance” is merely disorganization or poor time management. But the truth is – it is avoidance.

My past is flecked and speckled with avoidance – decisions that were never made, people never eradicated from my life, bad habits that needed to change, apologies that should have been spoken and definitely forgiveness I never gave. I avoided breaking up with someone by accepting a marriage proposal instead, how ridiculous was that? I was afraid that maybe that would be my only marriage request and I was more afraid of being alone than of saying no. So I simply avoided being alone.

But none of these daily or past avoidances really matter, because what I avoid the most, I think, is my own life. In fact, so much so, that I will cling to one of my “chores” that I so consciously avoided for days just so that I don’t have to engage in something more challenging. Writing, for example, mostly happens “when I have time” rather than making the time. I have been talking big for a year now that I was going to apply for graduate school. I’ve scoped out the programs near me and even decided on one: a Masters of Creative Writing. My transcripts are waiting in a hanging file marked “Emily’s Important Stuff”. Yet I still make excuses as to why I should not apply.

1. My GPA is so low that I don’t think they would even let me attend.
2. I don’t think I could keep up with the homework and help the kids’ with theirs.
3. I can’t justify paying for another degree when I’m still paying for the first one.
4. What’s the point of another degree when I don’t even have a job?
5. Maybe I’m just too old to go back to school.

Yep – they are all pretty pathetic excuses. I know, but that is what avoidance looks like. There is no rational reason why I haven’t applied or looked for financial aid. I’ve just become comfortable dreaming about it, instead of actually doing it because then I can’t fail.

I am avoiding finding out my full potential.

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