A brief history of my 20s:
Lost, found, lost, found, lost, found, lost, found.
To be completely transparent, most days I feel like one giant contradiction.
I love being completely myself — yet I am plagued with being a people pleaser.
I am cautious and calculated — but I have big dreams and often take spontaneous risks.
I am a strong woman — yet some days I fall apart from the smallest thing.
I am generally happy and confident — yet extremely anxious and depressed.
Occasionally, and through years of taking the judgments of others to heart, I wonder of my own authenticity on this planet. Who the heck am I? Why am I such a hurricane of identity and emotion? Why have I spent the past five years of my life fleeting in and out of commitments, relationships, jobs, styles, and life paths? Why does my life seem to be a series of awkward and humiliating moments separated by snacks? It seemed everywhere I turned, I left a highway of destruction behind me, despite good intentions. Now, a lot of people hate me, judge me, and resent me for choices I have made. And this reality took its toll over time.
It really hit me when I hit a brick wall, or should I say staircase — but that’s a different story. It literally took a near death experience and the cognizance that I am only alive through divine intervention to finally knock some sense into me. My journey has nothing to do with becoming anything. It has everything to do with unbecoming everything that wasn’t really me, so I can truly be who I was meant to be in the first place.
I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also believe we are only destined to do the things we’d choose anyway. It was time for me to take ownership of my own life — which was easier said than done. It included learning the grace of letting go and the power of moving on. It included admitting I needed help and healing. It had a lot to do with admitting that I didn’t have it all together, not even close. It included coming to terms with my own insecurities and mistakes, and knowing all of those crazy paths I took never worked out for one reason — they were never meant for me. The most difficult realization I am still acknowledging was that I had to let go of caring what other people thought of me. If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
It took a while for me to understand that if I truly wanted to live life abundantly, it would be a lengthy process of un-learning and re-learning. I had to understand to be patient with myself.
I was loved and adored and surrounded by friends when I went with the flow, people pleasing, drinking, partying, and having “fun.” I found comfort in the blanket of knowing people were around to love and support each other. No one judged me for making destructive choices, of course not, we spent all of our time justifying and enabling each other’s bad habits. As soon as I went through the spiral of depression and isolation after my car accident, a few people “felt bad for me” and were “sorry,” but I realized quickly I was standing there alone; with not much identity left and a whole lot of baggage to unpack. As I started to awaken to reality and focus on healing, the isolation worsened. I was suddenly openly judged and berated for trying to (for once) make the best choices for myself and my future. It made me selfish, uncaring, weird, a bad friend, etc. I had never felt so alone.
Then I looked beside me and realized the man who stood next to me through the tail-end of my terrible and destructive choices was still standing there, ready to take on the world with me. What a blessing it would become to unify and fight all of these demons together.
I looked beside me, and the family I had neglected for years to spend time with my friends, was still standing there, ready to go to war for me. And it didn’t take me long to figure out I had an army of love and support to help me through the dark.
I feel like, at some point in our lives, we all have a defining moment. A moment when the universe conspires and all the loose ends of life conjoin and everything finally makes sense. I know what it feels like to lie in bed and beg God to just take it all away. I went through many months of an inherent tiredness that could not be cured by sleep. It took me a very long time to pull myself back up again and realize I had a new story to write, and it looked nothing like my past. I knew I had a long way to go, and I had to learn to let my character preach louder than my words. I had to learn how unconditionally and eternally blessed I am despite all the hurt. I had to learn how to win this war with the most extraordinary, tenacious and powerful force in the world: love.
So here’s to admitting that I’ve failed, a lot. I know now what it means to give myself grace and enjoy the journey. I now spend my days fighting depression with gratitude. I try to remember that the key to having it all is knowing you already do. When I start to slip, I remember there are still far better things ahead than any we leave behind, and I’ve already come so far. Fear can destroy you, or it can fuel you. For anyone reading this who is struggling, Please remember you are on this earth for a purpose. You were put here to create a legacy bigger than you can believe right now. Hold on tight, and be gentle with yourself. It’s okay if the only thing you did today was wake up. You are a warrior.
Every single day we have a choice. We have a choice to let our circumstances defeat us, or we have a choice to stand up, take control and fight back. It may just be the bravest thing you ever do.
And I promise you, you are braver than you could ever imagine.