When your dreams come true, what do you do?
I wrote my Ph.D. thesis in 2015.
The hardest (and the best) part of that 200 page document was the acknowledgement and devotion part. I felt like that two pages out of 200 were the ones that really belonged to me the most. I had to make it right.
That devotion page; the one that is empty, except one sentence... I thought for a while and ended up writing this:
"to those who believe in the power of their dreams"
What was that even suppose to mean?
Wasn't I suppose to devote it to family or someone I know? (well... whoever is asking that question: I never functioned with "suppose to's"... so get used to that)
I wanted it to belong to people who were brave enough to follow their dreams. I wanted to be one of those people. Yet I was not.
At the time, if you asked me, I would have told you that my dream was to start my postdoc and then find an academic position. I would have told you all about it, in detail. and you would believed in it. Cause I sure did.
I didn't lie yet I was not being fully truthful either. Not being authentic to myself. I would have read some script aloud from, a well-crafted and memorized script of mine, that even I didn't know when and how I memorized... I wanted to believe in it. Truly.
Yet I knew subconsciously. All along. That this was not my dream. and I was scared as hell to admit it.
Don't we all know, when we lie to ourselves? Deep down, we all know the truth. Yet sometimes it hurts so much and we keep it hidden.
I was all beaten up by the system & universe for quite a lot and started thinking that dreams are for losers. (You can read all the details of my spectacular failure as a scientist here)
After trying twice and getting beaten up (pretty bad...), I started toughening up and rising to the occasion by being an overachiever.
The things we do to prevent us from feeling pain.
Our armors. Don't we all have at least one?
I loved mine! The PhD, then the postdoc. The scientific language that only certain people understand. The perfect success façade that I kept pulling so perfectly since high school.
I feel like I enjoyed it to certain extend, to heal my bruised ego. Yet, I never felt that it belonged to me truly. I felt like an imposter.
The interesting thing about your deepest dreams and passion is,
no matter what you do to them,
you can bury them six feet under,
or burn them to ashes,
They keep coming back to you.
They are immortal and they are meant to be realized.
It is basically impossible to get rid of them, unless you kill your "self" (which is something that I do not recommend to anyone )
For the past 6 years, on and off, I carried the weight of my broken dreams.
They came up in different shapes and forms, in disguise of low mood, anxiety attacks, mild depression, imposter syndrome and low self esteem, despite being a successful and somehow decorated academic...
and to a certain point I was okay with that.
I mean who gets to reach their dreams? (Don't be a fool, Kumsal!)
Who is allowed to be that happy and lucky? (No one, Kumsal)
Ah... I hate that inner voice. Such a liar.
I was ready to put my head down, work hard, settle with a job.
So, what happened that I finally "woke up" and ended up leaving my career behind and decided to chase my dream like a wild goose, for the third time...
In 2019, we decided to become a family of three and my daughter... She happened.
She is the joy of my life.
She has a laughter that can lighten up the worst mood,
and I can do anything to stop her from crying or hurting...
She is such an observant kid and gentlest toddler you can find.
She is my other dream coming true.
After having her, I started more and more revisiting my childhood, my family... (as if I didn't dig into the past and went through the darkest corners of my soul enough for the past 5 years …)
As every other parent out there, I want to give her the best things in life. I want her to succeed and be happy. I want her to be her own person.
It dawned on me that preaching her to be happy, to be successful or her own person... would probably not going to work if I am living a less than authentic life. Because it sure didn't work well for me, even though my parents do wanted me to be happy, told me to be successful and be my own person.