I'm obsessed with zombie movies. I've seen them all. I think it's because I can relate to them. They're a part of my tribe. At least, it felt that way for some time before light dawned on me. You see, I think most of us have fallen into a zombie trap at some point or another. It's inevitable in a culture that values more. More stuff, more work, more activities, more technology, more standards to describe a successful life.
And don't get me started on social media, it is the best zombie bait. I'm sure those of you with teenage children have seen them become zombie-like in their obsession. Zombies that thrash when their phones are taken away or zombies that lay dead for days when they aren't meeting other zombie expectations to have more.
Zombies have no soul, no mind that tells them to change their ways, just a body that stays focused on one task: to survive. You survive by having more. They keep moving from target to target, nonstop eating of flesh, never satisfied. And sometimes life throws bullets at it, to make it stop. But most of the time, the bullets do nothing. Just a small flesh wound. The zombie keeps limping to the next thing, keeps searching for the next meal to satisfy its soulless body, and there are no emotions or rationality behind their actions. Survive, survive, survive. On repeat for an indefinite amount of time.
For much of my young adulthood and into the early years of motherhood, I was a zombie. Twenty years of zombie life. It was a feeling of pure numbness. Very little brought joy, not even the accomplishments I worked hard to achieve as a student, as a teacher, as a mother.
For example, I worked hard juggling an internship, two part-time jobs, and a full-time course load, in addition to reading every textbook from front cover to back cover to score at least a 98 on my exams. Yet I felt nothing when I walked the university stage for my bachelor's, for my credential, nor for my Master's with an honorary distinction. I felt nothing when I received multiple awards, was invited to various elite societies, or nominated for recognition. I had no soul, no purpose other than achieve, achieve, achieve. The recognition and ceremonies were just something to chew up and swallow in 5 seconds, before moving on to the next thing. I declined invitations to join mental health research programs, study abroad, network, join clubs or activities that smelled like fun.
I was on a mission to survive.
Not to live a life.
Looking through my various awards, there is one assignment that meant something to me. I received a B for my work. It was for a journalism class and the instructor, an established journalistic writer, was highly critical of written pieces. Her written note, made me swell with pride. She wrote, "Nice work - you write well - make a lot of good points."
I was in awe of myself. And it activated a small glimmer of light that made my zombie heart pulse a bit.
Out of all of my accomplishments, why was that one small pencil-written note enough to make me awaken, even for a small moment? I think it's because it touched on my soul's desire. Not my physical and mental need to accomplish more. It satisfied the standards of my soul as a writer. That's where I am human.
Here I am, now 38, and I am alive. Fully alive. Because I have connected with myself as a writer, as a poet, as a speaker, as a multi-passionate life-long learner. I am no longer seeking achievements for other people, I am seeking joy. My joy.
My transformation from zombie to human was a twenty year process, with hungry dark nights in between, and my hope as a life coach is to help my fellow zombies not waste so much time chasing the thing that keeps them in zombie paradise. If I can help people find themselves and create a life of their wildest dreams, not matter how big or small, it's a good day's work.
I mean, who wants to live in a world full of zombies? That's what movies are for.