Change. It’s one of those necessary things that shake you up inside. Remind you that you’re still here, that life hasn’t forgotten about you. I’m not talking just about bad change either. Good change involves movement in one way or another too. I’ve been in a period of major change for the past little while and it’s been scary. Exhilarating, but scary nonetheless. I have grown to realize and accept that life doesn’t slow down for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you need a break or you need to just breathe in silence for a little while. Life typically has other plans for you and no matter how much whining, bitching, or crying you do, it just keeps moving. Pushing you along like a leaf caught up in the wind. During my “period of major change”, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my life, the choices I’ve made, some good and some bad.
I’ve learned that you cannot please everyone and in trying to do so you will end up completely ignoring your own wants and needs. You shut down your own spirit that is desperate to get your attention. At the end of the day, your happiness is in your own hands. You can’t expect that following the path others have laid out for you will actually be your path, the one you were meant to take. It happens on occasion but who really knows someone who has done everything just the way everyone expected them to and truly feels fulfilled? It’s also an impossible thing to do, make everyone happy. What your family/partner/friends/job/neighbor/cat want are all probably quite different from each other, and that doesn’t even take into consideration what you want, which is all that truly matters. You are the one that has to account for your life and the directions you take.
I’ve also learned that it is not selfish to want things for yourself and to do things because they make YOU happy. This is your life and you have to live it, for you, and no one else. It’s hard sometimes to say “I want to do this for me, simply because it makes ME happy.” We grow up being taught to be polite to others, to put them before yourself because that is how you treat people you care about. It’s rare that children are raised to do things that make them happy solely for that purpose. It’s hard as an adult for me to say “no” when I know that I will be making someone happy if I just do as they have requested. It could be something as simple as going out for supper when I really can’t afford it or house sitting when all I want to do is go home and lay in bed with four different kinds of ice cream surrounding me. I am perpetually trying to be a “nice person” but along the way I have forgotten that it doesn’t make you a bad person to say “no”. Unfortunately in my period of major change I haven’t quite figured out the “no” part yet, so I say “yes” and then typically cancel last-minute. This is also not something a “nice person” would do, so I have some work I still need to do here.
I’ve learned that sometimes you get everything you thought you wanted only to realize how wrong you were, or that you aren’t as complete as you thought you would be. (Grass is always greener) This was a hard one for me. I had everything planned out. I would be single and living on my own with my little girl and everything would be great. I would throw myself into our little family of two, work, and school, and I would be completely happy and fulfilled. But I wasn’t. There was a piece missing that I couldn’t place at first. And no, it wasn’t a relationship. It was me. I had our life covered off completely – my daughter, her and I’s relationship, work and education. I hadn’t included anything that I did solely to nurture my own spirit. I called one of my sister’s one day devastated that I was unhappy. “But I have everything I wanted, I don’t understand.” And she asked me what I like to do. It was one of those moments where I drew a blank and didn’t know what I liked anymore. After a couple of minutes I told her I like to write, paint, and draw, and that I would love to take a class doing any of those things with adults that share the same interests. It’s funny how quickly you forget yourself in the hustle and bustle of adult life.
When this all started, I was comfortable with my mask and wasn’t necessarily ready to let it go but I knew that I had to. I know that I have to in order to evolve mentally and emotionally. I have had to be very honest with myself and face some demons I didn’t want to face and there are still some left that I am working through. I have spent many nights crying myself to sleep, writing, singing, or just sitting quietly with my thoughts in order to feel a good transformation begin. At first it was terrifying and I could feel myself clinging to that person I used to be but now I am slowly changing into the person I truly am.
Acceptance. Forgiveness. My biggest lessons and ones that I haven’t figured out yet. I imagine those two will be lifelong goals that I will get a little closer to understanding every day. I could write for days about acceptance and forgiveness though so I will leave that for another day.
It’s been a hard road and I know that myself, just like everyone else, will have to stay on it for the rest of my life because you can’t just figure everything out once. We have to constantly figure things out and what is true about you today may not be tomorrow. Introspection is healthy and necessary. The only way to move forward is to really know yourself, of course at your best but even more importantly, at your worst. I guess it’s true what they say, it’s always darkest just before the dawn. And I can see that sun rising, slowly but surely a little more each day.
“Introspection is a devouring monster. You have to feed it with much material, much experience, many people, many places, many loves, many creations, and then it ceases feeding on you.” ― Anaïs Nin