Alcohol and Sobriety,  Depression is a Bitch

Growing Pains (Not the Show)

When I was a little girl, the pains in my knees kept me up at night. Every night, like circadian rhythms, I would yell for my mom or dad, “Owwww! My knee hurts! Could I take a pill? Or could somebody rub it?” Because I’ve always been sensitive about pain, I’d indulge in any level of melodrama to get some kind of relief.  One of my parents would inevitably take compassion on me, and sit at my side to rub away the grinding pain. And I once noticed that they used on me some CBD oil when the pain became unbearable. Growing up now, I came to realise that the same medication has evolved so much that there even is Cbd oil for Pets.

We called them “Knee Pains” in our house, but of course these regular aches were growing pains. I shot up very fast, towering over everyone in every grade and hitting puberty young enough to get teased plenty. All legs and short torso, I never experienced the aching anywhere other than my knees.

Like me, except I was taller.

Sometime around the teenage years, the growing pains receded, episodes of pain stretched farther and farther apart until they simply stopped. Almost immediately, degenerative pain replaced the growing pains, but that particular brand of stretching, bone-deep agony never reappeared.

– – –

I haven’t felt like myself lately. Listless, aimless – it’s terribly uncomfortable. Some of it has to do with the mind-numbing heat, but some of it is immobility from realizing that I don’t know what the next step is. I’m looking for work, but I’m not really sure what I’m looking for.

See, I never really grieved the death of some important dreams, ones for which I sacrificed and worked incredibly hard, and so I feel stuck in a cycle of loss.

When shit happened (as it inevitably does; after all, this is life we’re talking about), I just took the next step. Soldiered on. Got jobs because I needed them to put food on the table and gas in my car. After my preferred career died, I didn’t move on, just went through the motions and took what came, even if I hated it, because I am Responsible.

Now, here I am, infinite choices: completely immobilized.

As I continue to inventory my life after alcoholism, I realize I am trying to clean my slate, which essentially means starting over. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a clean slate, and I find myself asking, “Natalie, what do you really want to do with your life?”

The truth is not as simple as I thought. My instinct is to grab at the first thing that comes at me – this is what I’ve always done. However, this time, I don’t want to just jump into something if it might be the wrong thing. I’m tired of grappling with things that don’t belong to me.

I just feel lost. I don’t know what I’m looking for.

– – –

These are growing pains. They won’t last forever, I know, but dear God! Won’t somebody please at least rub my knee?


– – –

Photo Source 1, Photo Source 2



  • Considerer

    I wish I could offer you a knee rub, but I don’t really feel qualified…I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I’m about to start a job which I think will be fulfilling, with prospects for training and career progression, but it’s not where my heart’s at particularly.

    My heart lies in words, and that can be fulfilled nicely through ‘hobby’ status, while the Real Job pulls in the pennies and enables the living.
    Considerer recently posted…Ten Things of Thankful #14My Profile

  • Linda Roy

    Oh, how I know those feelings. I think I was in major denial about the rock superstardom thing not working out (kidding about the superstardom part…maybe) and I’ve certainly had my share of detestable jobs. So I’m here to say that if it’s feasible, hold out for the thing that makes you happy and feeds your soul. It’s so important. And life’s too short and priceless to put a price on your head and a cubicle around yourself if you’re going to be unhappy. Just my two cents…which is my whole BMI royalty check. 😉 And that is one of my favorite e. e. cummings quotes. xo
    Linda Roy recently posted…Is Anybody Home???My Profile

    • Natalie DeYoung

      So you totally get it then. I’m hoping against hope that this time, if I pursue my passion, the universe will conspire to make it a way to earn a living…I just don’t have the energy to waste my time anymore.

  • Katia

    I love the “growing pains analogy”. I also think this is a very profound and honest introspection. What the last year taught me is that I always knew I wanted to write but I wrote it off as a non viable option for me, but it turns out that even if non-viable economically, it still makes me happy, so it’s viable. What I’m getting it is can you do what you want to do? Maybe not as a career but as a way to make yourself content. I really hope you can, because I feel like you would rock.

  • Chris Plumb

    What are we offering the world via our work? I don’t get paid for this writing thing, but I’ve never received the kind of positive recognition, or just plain “helping” its accomplished at my “day” job. I’m decent at every job I’ve had, but jobs aren’t really looking for outstanding performers. They just want you to do the menial task set in front of you.

    Your writing, via this blog, even though I never suffered through alcoholism, has helped me at times. Your voice is needed on the internet. I know it doesn’t pay. But you are very valuable to us readers.
    Chris Plumb recently posted…Turning the Tide in Our Favor.My Profile

    • Natalie DeYoung

      Thank you. I get so frustrated spending most of my time doing things for which I am very not well-suited. It feels like a big waste of my time. I’m hoping during this “sabbatical,” I’ll figure out the direction in which I’m supposed to go…

  • Lovelyn

    I know what it’s like to not know what you want to do. I agree whole-heartedly with Linda’s advice. Do what you love and what you have a passion for. Life is short and you don’t want to waste it doing something that makes you miserable.
    Lovelyn recently posted…Vlogging is FunMy Profile

  • Larks

    This really resonated with me.((( hugs ))) In a lot of ways I’m there with you. I’m resurfacing into the job market and don’t know quite what that means. Do I follow a dream even if it seems ridiculous? Do I do The Responsible Thing and go for the opportunity that everyone thinks I should go for? I’m starting to wonder if shooting the moon isn’t the better option for me. When I bow to peer and familial pressure and do The Responsible (yet soul crushing) Thing I tend to self-destruct. Hang in there! And keep writing!
    Larks recently posted…Seattle flip flops.My Profile

    • Natalie DeYoung

      Thank you. It is so confusing out there. I am at the point where shooting for the moon sounds more practical than settling – I’ve tried settling, and always wind up miserable (self-destructive, totally).

  • Daniel Nest

    I think we all know the feeling. Life just kind of happens and sometime down the line we stop and go: “hmmm, is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?”

    I know it’s not much help, but I think that at least now that you’ve realised you need to pick a right path, you’re already well ahead of many others. Now you just need to do some of that “introspection” thing people keep telling me about and hopefully find something that’s truly yours!

    PS: I’d offer to send you a virtual knee rub, but I realise just how creepy that sounds. And now it’s out there. You’re welcome!
    Daniel Nest recently posted…Lyuba: my secret email loveMy Profile

  • Rarasaur

    I love how knee rubs went from cozy and adorable, to metaphorical and insightful, to… creepy in the comments, haha. 😀 This was a great piece, and so relateable. I went through my own share of growing pains recently… wishing you the best luck in your growth!
    Rarasaur recently posted…Kind of a Stupid GameMy Profile

  • Chris Carter

    I think everyone hits this phase of the intersection between acceptance and moving forward in transformation of some kind.
    Be in it. This is the place where you will search and find your ‘new self’- that is why you are uncomfortable, perhaps. You are changing your ways of “jumping in” and instead- you are pausing in yourself before you do.
    This is GOOD! Try to embrace this quiet confusing time… clarity will come. Promise!!
    Chris Carter recently posted…Devotional Diary: Find The Light in EmpowermentMy Profile

  • Ericamos

    I’m so sorry that you’re going through these growing pains. It’s hard to decide what direction to go in when the direction you want to go in is off-limits for the time being. But you know what? I think you’re doing the right thing in sitting back and taking care of yourself before jumping into any job opportunity that presents itself. Taking something that isn’t for you will probably end up more painful than waiting it out. Hugs and good luck!
    Ericamos recently posted…Why I Should Work With ChildrenMy Profile

  • Samantha Brinn Merel

    I totally get this, and am kind of in awe of you for putting those feelings into words. I think you are so wise for sitting back for a little bit, and not jumping at the first thing that comes along just because it would be the “responsible” choice. I think it’s time for you to chase your dreams.
    Samantha Brinn Merel recently posted…Happy New Year, 5774My Profile

  • Ilene

    Ah, yes, I know these pains. I know the “I am responsible” bit where one stays in a job she is good at to pay a mortgage and feed the income while starving the soul. Yep. I hope you find your “What’s next.” It has taken year to find mine. And will probably take a few more years to get good enough to make money at it! Best of luck to you friend! xo
    Ilene recently posted…The FamiliarMy Profile

  • Tamara Woods

    When I was in grade school, my knee cap used to pop out of socket. That was not fun. Nowadays, it’s the throbbing when it rains, or too humid, when it’s missing the smell of muscle rub, etc.

    I decided to just do this writing thing full time late last year. It’s the scariest thing ever. I’ve had steady employment since I was 18, which was…many years ago *ahem*. I’ve tried quite a few types of employment, including some jobs that could have lead to careers. They just weren’t for me. This is the most terrifying and gratifying thing I’ve ever done. But you have to do whatever is best for you. What will make you happy? It’s scary to step out into the unknown like this. Eventually, the fear lessens and some type of confidence grows, or you’ll decide the experiment isn’t worth it. I’m working toward the confidence now.;)
    Tamara Woods recently posted…Lost inside a paperbag (A Poem)My Profile

  • Pam

    I never struggled with addiction and I’m only 5’0″ so also, no experience with growing pains, but girl, I feel you! It’s so overwhelming to have so many choices. And then you feel lucky because you have choices and then you feel like even more of an asshole for being paralyzed by the situation. I think everyone who is living life consciously deals with what you are dealing with right now. I really do. The other night I told my husband it would just be so much easier if we were the kind of people who just go to work, come home, watch tv, and don’t really think about stuff. But seriously, what kind of life is that?
    Pam recently posted…Just Gu It Already (Redux)My Profile

    • Natalie DeYoung

      It is so overwhelming! I often think the same thing – why can’t I be one of those people who work, come home, watch tv & don’t think about stuff?
      But you’re right – what a boring existence that would be.
      And anyway, I can’t change who I am.
      Natalie DeYoung recently posted…Beautiful MusicMy Profile

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