The Gremlin on My Shoulder

This morning I woke up sad. And scared.

I’m sad because my Amazing Adventure comes to an end this weekend.

I’m sad because I’m done driving to new and exciting places.  The beauty of this country and all its natural wonders is spectacular and breathtaking. There are so many places I still would love to see.

I’m sad because I have enjoyed the hours of solitude driving in the car with my thoughts to myself, with the miles of road ahead of me and the ever-changing landscape surrounding me.

I’m sad because I’ve loved writing about my adventures, incorporating the pictures of my experiences and sharing them with all of you.

I’m sad it’s over. I would like to continue on and on, because as long as I’m on the road, I don’t have to face the reality of my life.

Because I’m scared.

At first thought, I’m scared of deciding where I want to live. Then I’m scared of finding a place to live and finding a job.

But truly, I think most of all, I’m scared that, back in the reality of my everyday life, I will not be able to  sustain the changes I’ve made over this summer. I feel like a completely different person. I may look the same to you all when I return (although my hair is shaggy and I’ve put on some lbs), but inside I feel completely different. Which is a WONDERFUL thing – I have shed layers of unhappiness and old beliefs and habits and feel like the true Alise. But I’m scared of being completely different in the same environment once I return to Louisville. And I’m afraid to trust myself to maintain this new, authentic “me.”

Today I received an email from a friend I visited last week. She told me something that five other friends along the way this summer have also told me. She said “I’ve always looked up to you.” An incredible compliment – but one that I still, even after all my self realizations, have a hard time believing and accepting. Despite realizing all summer that I am all I need, that I am completely self sustaining and wonderful and fun to be around and happy and strong and worthy. But it’s been easy for me to do on this trip, when I”m traveling around with no responsibilities or decisions to make other than where I’m headed next. But, once I return to Louisville, in my old environment, and have to start to make some life choices, I’m afraid to trust in the new “me.”  Because I’ve spent my entire life telling myself that I can’t, that I’m not worthy, that I’m not enough, and boy those old habits and patterns are hard to break.  I said to a friend earlier today that I feel like I have this nasty little gremlin on my shoulder, who has re-appeared and is still whispering the same old shit into my ear, and I feel like I must find a way to throw it off my shoulder once and for all. And it’s so hard because it has always, always been there.

My dear friend Leah gave me a lovely book right before I left – I Can Do It, by Louise Hay. It’s a fantastic book of life changing affirmations, and I’ve been listening to the CD at various times along my trip. It occurs to me that I should listen to it some more on my way back to the ‘Ville. I’m determined to find the trust and confidence in myself – and believe it, and live it – for the first time in my life.

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7 thoughts on “The Gremlin on My Shoulder

  1. Claude says:

    Alise, I think when you were on the road, THAT was the reality of your life. I believe that wherever I am, that is my reality. Most people figure out that they cannot escape their deepest troubles by moving to a new location. Conversely, everything that is right and good about me cannot be erased because I move to another place. My center is within me wherever I am. That’s not to say that the environment and the logistics of living and working don’t affect me, they do, but they don’t define me – I think there’s a difference.

    I have enjoyed your blogs, and I identified a lot with your experience of the solitude of the road and the physical challenges of hiking and the ways those experiences changed you – those are powerful forces, and I don’t think you will “regress”. You will remain who you are becoming – that process doesn’t go backwards.

  2. The amazing thing is that even when you are not on the road, Alise, your journey will continue. Every day, every minute you will continue to discover hidden parts of you, hidden parts of a life. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow…..

  3. Mark Simpson says:

    We all exist on this earth with our own unique set of talents, but the challenges of life can make it hard to fully use those talents. Life’s challenges are what tend to beat us down and lead to our negative thoughts.

    Alise, you have been given the unique gift of inspiring people. You are one of those people who others naturally gravitate toward. Being around you makes others happy. Being around you makes others inspired. Being around you makes others stronger.

    Wherever your final destination may be, the challenges of life will follow. Don’t EVER let them get you down. You are a shining star in this life and never let anyone or anything tell you otherwise. Keep inspiring those around you. I believe that is your purpose on this earth.

  4. I have always, and will always look up to you my friend. Coming home from an adventure is hard, but I can tell you those changes are for good — they’re not dependent on geography or schedule. Can’t wait to have you back in Louisville!

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