I sit here at my desk as often as I can and I write. I write for me, but sometimes I write to you. I write because the more I read, the more I realize that we need to hear a story told different ways. Sometimes it’s what the person did or didn’t do that makes something go off inside of us. It’s the characters that we love and also, the ones that we hate that make us think and move.
It took me a long time to get here. Here, being the place where I can tell you what my feelings are without worrying what you, the reader, may think of them. Last night, I happen to have had a very intimate conversation with an old friend of mine. I was about to lie down and go to bed when I got an email from her. She was anxious and though I could have ignored the email until the morning, I decided not to. I gave her a call and as we got into it she said something that startled me. She said, “I know, but you know how to work on yourself. I don’t.”
It reminded me of a time when I didn’t— when I would look around and just wonder how people had the courage to do the things they were doing. I remember wondering how people felt so passionate about life and how some were so disciplined about taking care of themselves. I didn’t know how to do this and that’s all I knew. I blamed my circumstances, I blamed myself, and in time, I started blaming anything I could get my hands on. Eventually, that stopped working for me and I became aware that I had a problem. Something was wrong but I didn’t know what it was. In the midst of all that confusion, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I think it was about one year that I sat around just wondering how I was going to do that. I focused on the problem. I focused on not having studied it in college. I focused on my issues with grammar and my financial limitations. I can tell you now that the real issue that I had is that I never focused on writing (the solution) because I was too busy dating the obstacles.
When my long term relationship ended, I was so devastated that I sort of pushed myself into change. I knew I couldn’t go back on being a writer just because he was gone. It might have been more of an angry reaction, but it was still my reaction. The waiting (for life to start) had created so much tension in my life that I finally had accumulated enough momentum to push forward. I blindly began to generate new content in my life. It was as if I was obsessed and I rode that high for months. With time, I realized I was moving too fast and I inevitably crashed.
You see, I was doing the right things but for the wrong reasons. I had changed my life on the outside but I still had the same issues on the inside. This is when the real breakthrough occurred. One night, I cracked and cried for the first time in months and to my surprise, I felt better when I was done. What had I been avoiding all this time? Why was I so obsessed with being smart and not feeling? I spent 3 months of my life hibernating from the world trying to figure it all out.
Searching for growth, I read books, blog posts, and articles. I prayed, meditated, exercised, and got involved in a thousand projects with the hope that I would find inner peace in one of them. At first I felt frustrated because there was no one book that I agreed with 100%. I thought something was wrong with me until it dawned on me that each of these writers had found inner peace a different way. “I must have my own way,” I thought. You think it wouldn’t have taken so long, but it did. So, I began to pick out little things here and there that worked for me. I realized that it wasn’t one of the activities that was making me happy. What was making me happy was having discovered my ability to do all of them— that because I was no longer scared of what each project meant, I was actually just being myself in each activity. The more I prayed, the more I worked, and the more I wrote I began to find a unique voice inside of me. I was no longer shadowing someone else’s format. I had become this independent thinker and I was no longer ashamed of my insides. I had made peace with that curly haired dreamer that I was so afraid to be. I was a star, a ball of fire ready to burst, and I was not scared anymore. I just wanted to start…
As luck would have it, in those months I experienced a great deal of pain and betrayal but I found myself processing them in a very different way. There was no crash this time. There was no high. I had learned to accept things in my way for what they were. When I was sad, I was sad and when I was happy, I found myself truly happy. It was a beautiful process to go through and it changed me. I don’t feel ashamed that I am emotional anymore. I don’t mind being corny. I love that I am passionate but most importantly, I am no longer someone else’s version of me. I am just me.
I can tell you that the only way to get here is to want to get here. That’s the only way. There are no shortcuts. Distractions won’t work. Rejection will occur. Sadness is guaranteed. The road is paved with bruises and bores but if you’re lucky, the universe will know when to limit you. It happened to me more than once. I was desperate for a distraction. I searched high and low but the universe refused to give it to me. It knew what it was doing and I’m thankful for it.
I took a few steps in these months that I mentioned above. I’ll share them with you tomorrow, but you must know that this is my story, not yours. This is the story of how I saved myself from the possibility of never becoming me. I guarantee yours will be different, but I write because I know what it feels like to be searching for it. I know that stories like these were essential to my first steps. So, please, stay tuned.