The moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us. And to save us. – Paulo Coelho
It’s been a while since I sat down to just write. As an introvert – a person who lives in their mind – writing is a release from the chaos within us. And, not allowing myself to release the mess does not necessarily create a build-up of pandemonium but essentially causes my brain to not think at all. To not think at all is the definition of a brain on autopilot, or in other words, a brain that is numb.
I can blame it on being busy, but we are all busy. Some are busy saving the world, others are busy saving their world, and few are busy saving themselves. What was I busy doing?
I moved to Switzerland for an opportunity. I experienced two Olympic Games from another perspective. I lived an affirmation I spoke on when I was back in university. I saw another world only a few can dream about. Yet, I moved to Switzerland to run away.
I ran away to escape a diagnosis. After failed chemo treatments, I thought a move would numb my brain into thinking my condition did not exist, and perhaps I could find life again. However, life had a way of showing me that it was never lost but, instead, not fully experienced.
I watch people, and I love it. If there was a job to be a professional people-watcher, I would be CEO of the company. Couple that with the sensitivity of an introvert; you get a person who seeks to make others happy and would do anything possible to make that happen, even if it’s at the expense of their own happiness.
The problem with watching others around you is that you must take the time to watch yourself. Recently, I was forced to sit with myself, something terrifying for a person like me because you are afraid of what you will eventually find.
Alone, exhausted, and vulnerable, shame found me once again.
I failed. I failed to bring happiness to the person I loved dearly. I failed to provide more support for my family. I failed to rid myself of the illness that infects my body. Now, once again, I am alone, except in another country and probably in worse conditions than I started with.
It is selfish to think you can make everyone happy. It is selfish to think you can save the world with a broken spirit. People can feel your energy, especially those who love you. Although I was so content making them happy, they could feel I wasn’t happy internally, leading them to think my unhappiness was their fault.
We cannot continue to save the world as broken spirits. However, we also cannot think we can save ourselves alone. There is a beautiful relationship between giving and receiving love, and I want to explore that connection more, without shame, doubt, or hesitation.
Jeremy Dodson is a Track & Field Olympian who struggles with the idea of perfection, hoping to break the barrier we place on ourselves so that genuine living can take place for everyone.