I think it’s probably safe to say that we’ve all experienced a period of uncertainty and/or change at one point or another in our lives. Depending on your situation, the transitional period might be by choice, or forced upon you. But either way, I honestly don’t believe one is easier than the other.
There is no time limit. It can be a month, a year or your whole damn life. Some people have learned to deal with this and they thrive here and don’t sweat it (which is admirable). Others, like me, seek comfort and consistency because that’s what I grew up with.
I’ve been in one hell of a transition period, y’all. I’ve thrown myself into an ocean and I’m trying to forgo the habits I’d normally reach for as a life raft. As a result, I’m learning to tread water.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to write a blog post for a while. A lot has happened. I feel like I’ve been hit with more truth bombs than ever before and I’ve had to show up for myself and own up to my own bullshit in so many ways. I’ve been trying to protect myself as I heal and change in isolation as much as possible, but I know I can’t do it forever. I don’t thrive when I hide from the world. This morning I reminded myself that there’s nothing to be ashamed about.
So that’s where I’ve been. I’ve also been writing a book, but that’s beside the point.
All this uncertainty has changed me in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. You might be thinking “well….fucking DUH” but I had no idea about all the ways it would force me to evolve. The Big Snooze (a term coined by Jen Sincero that you’ll read more about below) has really really really tested me and something tells me I’m not through the thick of it yet.
“It’s like when you quit smoking or doing drugs and go into withdrawal. Finally, you’ve taken a leap and done something that’s going to massively improve your life, and for days, sometimes weeks, you feel worse than you did when you were a wild child. You’re hacking up all this nasty crap, ridding your body of toxins, shaking, sweating, puking, wondering why on Earth you thought this was a good idea. It’s really fun.
Same goes for when we rid ourselves of limiting subconscious beliefs that have been holding us back and take a giant leap outside our comfort zone. It’s a detox of such staggering proportions that sometimes it can feel like The Universe is conspiring against us — trees fall on our cars, our computers crash, we find our significant others in bed with our best friends, we get our identities stolen, we get the flu, our roofs cave in, we sit in gum — when in reality, The Big Snooze [ego, fear, the devil, whatever you call it] is creating chaos in an attempt to self-sabotage and keep everything as is, instead of moving forward into unknown, yet desperately wanted, new territory. Every successful person knows this and has been through this.
When taking great leaps forward, life often turns to shit before it turns to Shinola.”
– Jen Sincero, You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
I didn’t realize how hard it would be to leave parts of my old self behind in order to move forward. That it would feel a lot like grieving in some instances.
My workaholism. My drinking habits. My dating habits. Basically all the things that kept me comfortable but stopped me from feelings things fully or growing.
Hell, there are habits I’ve tried to walk away from 100 times and failed 100 times. It’s embarrassing, but it’s incredibly human. I thought I’d have put certain tendencies in the past by 25, but the truth is that there’s no good time (or age) to let go.
In some cases I’d do just about anything to let myself off the hook of taking change into my own hands and owning it. Asking “universe! send me a sign that something needs to change! I don’t know what to do!!!!” and the truth is that the universe had already slapped me in the face with the consequences of my action like a million times, and it was getting tired of my bullshit just like I was. So it gifted me a mental breakdown complete with snot bubbles, then proceeded to club me with a frozen trout while shouting, “WAKE UP YA SMART SLUT YOU’VE KNOWN ALL ALONG.” I came to in a different goddam dimension with so much clarity it hurt.
But that’s just me.
Hard truth: there’s no way to make leaving something behind that no longer serves you any easier. No short cut. No way to hand off the work. It’s all you, boo.
There’s no simple way to stop taking the escapism hatch and start opening yourself up to the pain of reality. Sometimes we wait to bottom out before we are forced to change, but what kind of way is that to honour the one life you’ve been granted? Don’t make me go through the trash to find that frozen trout the universe hit me with.
I truly believe we kept getting sent the same lesson over and over again until we learn it.
I can certainly say I’ve been sick of my own bullshit many times, but I know firsthand that doesn’t mean change will follow. Beating the odds and making change stick can’t come from a place of shame, wanting to prove people wrong or being utterly frustrated with yourself and your failures. It comes from an entirely different place in your soul.
You love yourself enough to know that you deserve to know what’s on the other side.
View this post on Instagram
My past self still haunts me. Not always, but sometimes. Slipping in when she finds an opening. She is a spectre. Not quite a memory — a way of being. Coming back to remind me that at one time I was a different person who set fire to everything just to watch it burn. I can’t see her when she visits me but I know she’s there. I can feel her replaying old memories on a projector onto the back of my mind. The full body sensation of shame that puts you right back there in that moment when your world revolved around whatever was happening. I feel my spine tingle, and I know I’m not safe here. I plant my feet and observe that everything keeps moving even if I stop. I can’t go back to that place and time where she was thriving and making me believe that destruction was the only option. I remind myself she’s a spectre. Gone but never forgotten. Her lessons and scorched earth are part of who I am today. She left me with almost nothing so as an act of survival, and mercy, I left her behind so I could start over. I was built from a new blueprint on the rubble she left behind. #realtalk #poemsofinstagram Photo by @mskanishaszekely
To some extent, I’m also trying valiantly to accept the fact that change and growth has no end point. So finding “comfort” forever ain’t realistic.
Real, sustainable, healthy change can only come from self-love. And I know firsthand, learning to love yourself isn’t a goddam picnic.
When I started on a self-love journey in 2015, I didn’t know what I was in for. All I knew is that I needed to change, but at the time, I wasn’t using the right fuel to make it happen.
These are what my moments of self-love look like these days. I feel myself changing as I move through making new habits and it turns out that what’s on the other side of it is…clarity. Which can be great but overwhelming. Sometimes it’s practically so blinding it stings.
So how am I coping with this newfound clarity? Well. It’s not glamorous.
It’s coping, after all 🤷♀️
I’m slowing the hell down in pretty much every way.
I’m staring out the window at midnight listening to music I loved as a teenager on repeat.
I’m reaching out when I’m flailing before I disappear into the quicksand of fleeting feelings.
I’m staying sober and drinking so much f*cking La Croix.
I’m prioritizing sleep.
I’m holding space for people I love who are in pain.
I’m thinking about getting another tattoo, but waiting on a day where I feel great to go through with it.
I’m addressing shame and its vines that have grown around my heart and mind.
I’m crying. Because sometimes when you become clear on your own bullshit it’s A LOT.
I’m watching Eat Pray Love and Silver Linings Playbook like my life depends on it.
I’m playing with other peoples’ dogs.
I’m remembering that I make mistakes, but my mistakes don’t make me (yes, that’s a Mac Miller lyric).
I’m checking myself (gently) when necessary.
I’m making peace in the war against the eczema on my face.
I’m journaling pages full of questions for myself.
I’m repeating “you are enough” every time I leave the house, walk into a new place, go to sleep and wake up.
I’m spending a lot of time on my own.
I’m meditating every damn day so the squirrel that lives in my brain doesn’t overrun things.
I’m going to counselling like clockwork.
I’m having more difficult conversations than ever before.
I’m sharing my energy very very purposefully.
I’m standing strong on my boundaries.
I’m laying on my carpet at 4:42PM when I can’t look at my laptop anymore.
This is when / where the work is done. This is not a process that can be distilled down into a 30-second montage in a movie or cleanly cut into a vlog.
I’ve come close to stalling out in this transition period and getting stuck here. You can find a way to get too comfortable in the uncertainty in order to dodge further change.
2019 – you aren’t f*cking around. Damn.
I see you. I’m no longer being dishonest with myself about my self-limiting bullshit. I’m no longer avoiding change because I deserve better. And I’m paying for it in extreme discomfort. But it’s coming from the right place and I find comfort in the fact that I know deep down I’m doing the right thing.
I’m grateful. I’m terrified. I’m respecting my one life.