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i’ve been in this uncomfortable mental headspace now for months. and i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t struggling. i’ve written extensively about the cost of me quitting my job earlier this year – i’ve struggled with purpose. with direction. i’ve had so much time to question my life, my future, my value. but as much as i’ve struggled, i’ve still had a few lifelines. i’ve had soccer, which means that i’ve had some structure. i’ve had my partner, which means i’ve had stability. i’ve had my family, which means i’ve had some support. and i’ve had some presentations, which means i’ve had some mental stimulation. but now, the school year is coming to an end – gigs are no longer. soccer has concluded. and a few confronting situations have arisen in other areas of my life. and i find myself struggling to stay afloat.

they say hope is a lifeline, but i think hope is a silent killer. see, i’ve been holding onto hope most of my life. hope that my dreams would be actualised. hope that if i just focused on myself, did my thing - and did it well - that things would fall into place. hope that if i continued to give, my value would be recognised. hope that if i focused on strengthening my relationships, others would want to learn how. hope that if i led by example, it might just be enough to inspire others. but i find myself feeling hopeless – i find myself feeling destroyed by hope.

i sought an agent this year to help me break into w-league. i had nothing to lose. and after arguably my most dominant season yet, this dream has yet to come to fruition. a hope that continues to dwindle each day that passes. i’ve put my life on hold for the past few months – i’ve delayed planning holidays, delayed getting a job, delayed attending events, delayed living in the hope of what if. so where does that leave me now? it leaves me resenting the sport that i love and the politics that go along with it. it leaves me needing to find a job in an industry i’m not sure i’m passionate about anymore. and it leaves me continuing to fight for my value. because status and names get rewarded – without them, you’re swimming upstream trying to fight for it. how can you be as good as you claim, if you can’t actualise your dreams? a dream so many others have. although i acknowledge this is my perception, the situations in my life continue to reinforce these feelings.

it seems stupid to place so much weight on one goal – a goal i know i will never be in control of. but when society rewards those who make it, it’s hard to overlook its potential impact. and it’s even harder not to compare. to compare yourself to others who have made it, to others who have been afforded opportunities, or to others who are treated differently because of who they are rather than what they offer.

bitterness and resentment currently consume me. and i acknowledge the unhealthy nature of these emotions. but i also acknowledge my limitations in being able to overcome these mental battles. my reality is tainted by these struggles. every rejection serves as validation to the question, what’s the point?

lurking beyond these feelings about my own life are realities i refuse to confront. realities i have distracted myself from feeling, realities we all distract ourselves from feeling - the inevitability of death. and the inevitability of death of those dearest to us. recent events have catalysed this mental confrontation, but the emotions have not followed. because death has, and potentially always will be, something i struggle to both grasp and accept. it’s the reason i became vegetarian last year – because i could not accept the thought of killing an animal for me to eat. an animal with a family; with thoughts, and feelings. (this is not my attempt at converting others, more so an explanation for my decision). i find myself not willing to go there – not willing to comprehend the inevitable future of a life without members of my family. and i’m not sure going there really changes anything – i think about movie / tv characters you know are going to die. but i find nothing can prepare you for the eventual passing of their character – it’s still just as heartbreaking as it would have been without that foresight.

so where to from here? i don’t really know. but i do know spending time alone, spending time to feel what i need to feel, to write what i need to write, is a good place to start. i also think that being more hope-less is another place to start. hope-less in the sense of hoping less and accepting more.

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