Rewriting My Story: Resolutions, Lenses and Reflections
January 16, 2019
"You are stronger than your pain,
you will find your peace someday."
It's been...what feels like forever. I'm feeling a lot of guilt about "abandoning" this blog over the last few months. So before I even begin. I want to sit with this emotion of discomfort and shame. I'm breathing slowly. I'm trying to remember that everyone gets caught up in life. And although my anxiety is telling me people hate me (and no longer care about this whatsoever), I'm trying to remind myself that no one is actually angry at me for taking some time off (and some people kind of still care about this).
I'm letting the negative and anxious go. Using that information and energy to grow. And starting again.
Or at least, I'm really trying to do that. It's a work in progress.
To catch you all up, the last couple of months have been...well...not great. I started veering off my path around mid-September. My energy levels were faltering. I got sick for the first time in forever. I was leaning into my career and the dance studio to avoid dealing with my emotions. I kept telling myself I was fine, because I thought I was. I was doing more yoga than ever before. And trying to sleep more. I was up on my hydration game. And was still working out but actually taking rest days. But I felt empty. Not to be mistaken with losing purpose. Just like something was missing. And I wasn't sure what these things were amounting to. I knew there was a goal, but I didn't know what it was. Or if all this was even worth it.
The days faded and became grayer. The world seemed colder. I was definitely suffering from the seasonal affective disorder side of my bipolar depression. I was in a low, but didn't realize I was actually in a hole. I was doing the right things. But the right things only kept me stable where I was. They didn't help get me out...
It literally took me until yesterday, January 14th, 2019, to realize I've been doing too much. Okay fine. I kind of knew I was taking on a lot. But the weight of it didn't seem to actually hit me until last night. I've been looking at my story through one lens. The lens that's still jaded by my need to amount to and exceed people's expectations of me (including the expectations set when I was a kid and aren't reflective of who I am today). A lens that sees me as an extremely average human who should be trying to do more. I should be doing more with my career and making a true name for myself. If dance is still a passion of mine, I need to be doing more with it - more performances, create new unique pieces, get involved in a company or group somehow. If I love health and fitness so much, I should be able to make (and design) a recipe ebook or build a solid social media platform for that hobby (I mean everyone else is doing it, I can too). I say I'm trying to be a better person so I should volunteer more...
Do more. Be more. I should always just be more.
There are days I feel like I haven't lived up to anyone's expectations of me. And sitting with that feeling is a really lonely, depressing, and sad place to be. I think of all the people that told me they saw something special in me. Who saw a bright future for me. I was supposed to be the kid that graduated, moved away, and built something for themselves. All the "Remember me when you become a Rockette" or "I know I'll see your name in lights one day" kinds of messages in my yearbooks. But I haven't done any of that. Not even close.
And it's normally here that I get in a negative cycle of self-dismissal, self-sabotage, and self-hate. And rather than going down that mess of a rabbit hole, I tried taking the road less traveled. And that's how I came upon the realization that I'm in too deep. And why I'm resolving this year to try adopting new lenses in which to view the world. And to begin re-writing my story.
I am one human. One 26-year-old, emotional, highly sensitive, driven, creative mess of a woman-girl hybrid. And I need to start remembering that. And I need to remember that no one person can do everything (and if they can, normally there's something else going on or a breakdown will ensue). And finally, I need to remember that while it's great to be ambitious, I've been attempting too much the last year.
I want close, stable, evolving relationships with family, friends, and Greg. I want a full career in which I'm blossoming into and really coming into my own. I want to still pursue dance and all the creativity that comes with it - I want to teach more classes, create more pieces, dance more myself, be in more shows. I want to maintain the self-growth and journey I've been on, including the fitness, nutrition, spiritual growth, and mental health aspects. I want to be a consistent blogger and grow this platform so I can keep connecting with people and helping those I can. I want to grow this platform to begin actually giving back into the mental health community. I want to partake in a photoshoot and embrace the self-love thing. One day I want to create a plant based recipe book because I genuinely enjoy cooking and believe in the benefits of a plant based lifestyle (not just nutritionally, but also in regards to sustainability and saving the earth). I want to travel more. I want to learn new skills. I want to keep freelancing and take on more hand lettering pieces because it's a different kind of creative outlet and the ones I've done for people in the past have all turned out well.
I want to do so many things. So so many things. But I'm not being patient with myself and giving myself the proper resources to achieve them. On any given day I work between 8-10 hours a day at my career job (there are times I work 6 hours because of dance reasons but I make up the remaining hours over the weekend). I then teach dance and am at the studio for 5 plus hours a few nights a week plus Saturdays. I take time each day to cook and workout (no workouts on rest days) because those things are important to me and part of my self-care. I do my best to schedule time with my family and friends. Greg and I try to commit at least an hour or two of genuine conversation every day. Oh and we're trying to buy a house. We were trying to read more. I was trying to write more for this blog but never got anywhere. I took on building a pro-bono website. I took on one freelance project and that was it because I didn't think I could do any more....the list could actually go on. (PS - My word for 2019 is Balance...)
But no wonder I was drained and not getting anywhere! I was feeling all kinds of depressed while in a kind of time debt - wanting to give all my time away to things, experiences, other people, and my own self-care, but never actually having enough to do those things. And then beat myself up about it and told myself I was terrible and everyone hates me...
Narratives have a lot of power. And mine thus far has been of an average girl who thinks she should always be doing more. But I'm tired of giving power to that narrative. Because that narrative only brings insecurity, negativity, and utter exhaustion to the party. In the outline version of this blog, I was going to describe myself in that negative lens for a comparison experiment. But right now I'm feeling vulnerable and don't want to move into that headspace. I'm practicing what I preach and not giving it any more power.
Instead, I want to start using a new lens. The lens inspired from the way my loved ones see me:
Where I see a girl who's barely getting by at her job, they see; a girl who took a risk to help start a new business that only wants to help other small businesses grow, who taught herself how to build websites from experimentation and learning code that her clients actually love, who throws herself into continual learning and will take on any challenge, who gives 110% to every project - even when she makes mistakes, who has a unique and genuine world point of view, who deep down has the ability to lead, to connect with people in a unique way and make them feel safe enough to be vulnerable.
When I see a girl who just teaches dance on the side, they see; a nurturing mentor who is beyond passionate, who has given up weekends, trips, and opportunities to be available whenever a kid needs her, who does research and talks to professionals about exercises and drills to help keep her students healthy, who uses her own pocket money and spare time (off the clock) to embellish costumes and make props, who has stayed up til 3 am to choreograph when inspiration strikes, who has wiped away tears, snot, and blood without a second thought, who's teaching kids more than dance skills, but life skills too, who's making a positive impact on her students just by being the empathetic, caring, person she is.
When I see a "wannabe" but failing blogger, they see; someone who's brave enough to open up about their struggle, who's not afraid to be vulnerable, real, or honest, who's trying to help others while also trying to help herself (to continue the cycle of helping others), who's gone through some real shit and is coping the best ways she can, who cares enough to keep trying, who's strong enough to not give up.
And suddenly, that terrible girl doesn't seem quite so bad.
I want to shift the power within my own narrative. And I know it's going to be hard. It's going to be uncomfortable. It's still weird to talk so positively about myself. But I have to start using it because I'm tired of this plateau feeling. This half depressed half motivated state. I'm in a hole, I'm stabilized and coping. I'm still recovering, but I'm still in a hole. I want to get out of it and be able to re-explore and re-fall in love with life. I want to stop focusing on the negative. I'm choosing to believe in the power of positivity. Because when you can shine the spotlight on the positives, the world begins to open up.