I started this year off in a strange, strange place.
It feels like a lot has changed. And like most changes in life, it feels too sudden. It came with too little warning – at least, that I was willing to see – and I feel unsettled inside. I wish I could get my insides to untwist themselves. I wish I could smooth myself down like fresh asphalt.
Writing used to be easy – well, not easy at least, but natural, a difficulty I had grown accustomed to and even fond of. But now it’s something that looms in front of me, too intimidating to attempt. There’s baggage now, and it’s complicated. I don’t want to commit anything to paper. No permanence. I don’t want to share any parts of me with anyone.
I want to hit the pause button on life and go on a retreat like they do in the movies when you feel shaken up in a bad way. I want to go all Stella and get my groove back, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ my way to an unhurt version of myself, or whatever women are supposed to do when they need to take a break and reinvent themselves.
I want to go on a self-care vacation where all I have to do is take scented bubble baths and write lists of what I like about myself and bask in my own fucking magic. But I have mountains of laundry overpowering what feels like my entire life. I have to-do lists, and appointments, and important dates circled in red on my calendar. Rule #32 of Adulting: No, you can not pause the ride and get off, because it doesn’t work like that. Cry at night like everyone else and get back to business. (Kidding! I don’t cry at night. Anymore.)
But all melodrama aside? Change is difficult as hell, but still, underneath how uncomfortable it makes me, I know that it is a good thing. Sure, sometimes the pain of transitions makes me want to give up, but that’s just the intrinsic push and pull of it, the nature of the thing. You have to go through it. You have to struggle with it at first, because that’s how you win. You gotta fight for it.That’s how you get stronger, right?
This is what it looks like sometimes, when change hits you a little too hard and a little too suddenly. It can be overwhelming. It can make you want to isolate yourself, hide yourself. Call it a last ditch effort at self-preservation when the world, when life, feels too dangerous for you. When you feel weak.
But that feeling won’t last. Even though I sometimes feel too terrified to move, there are other moments of intense happiness and gratefulness and inspiration. I’ve papered my walls with things I love, photos that make me smile, thoughts and dreams that make me want to get up in the morning. I feel a renewed sense of spiritual purpose.
But sometimes the life I want feels too far away. Sometimes the me that I want to be feels like an impossibility. Not because I can’t see the steps that would lead me forward, but because I can’t imagine myself taking them. Moving feels like the hardest thing of all sometimes, and I’ve spent so long being stagnant, being still, being the same, that it’s unspeakably terrifying, moving forward. Not just waiting for change or dreaming of end results, but actually making changes to benefit myself in the long run. It’s hard to believe sometimes that I can make my life – make myself – different in a good way.
I keep reading the same quotes and trying to engrave them onto my mind. “Small steps can often be the biggest.” Etc. But I forgot just how hard it is. I hadn’t realized just how long it had been since I really stepped out of my comfort zone, and what I’ve learned is that you never really outgrow fear. It always happens, there will never be a time where you are never afraid of anything ever; the only thing that you can ever hope to change is your reaction to fear. (I’m sure there’s a quote about that somewhere on my wall, hanging up next to my freshly-printed pics of Frida Kahlo and go-to bible verses.)
I can’t go on dreaming of things and not trying to make them mine. That felt like an acceptable thing to do, years ago. It felt like I had time – even though I knew that wasn’t really true because time is never promised, but I was young enough to successfully convince myself otherwise. But you can’t keep putting things off until tomorrow, until some other unspecified date when you’ll put in the work to get to where you want or need to be. I’m on my way to spending my whole life doing that, and I can’t. I won’t.
For so long, instead of actually reaching for my goals, you could be found lying stagnant unmoving, scrolling – spending my whole life fucking scrolling, down Facebook feeds, down articles I don’t really read, just more and more content and input that wasn’t really important to me – and I came across a video of a Japanese man fishing for clams. He looked to the camera and told me to never give up. I don’t know who this dude is or what the hell he’s doing, but I needed his random message of support at that random moment. I’ll include it right here, below, if you need it too.
Whatever you’re working toward, whatever pain you’re trying to push past, whatever bullshit you’re trying to leave behind, whatever future you’re trying to make happen? You got this. We can do this. Forget all those other times you tried. They don’t matter. Only today does. Start like it’s your first try, like today is your first day on this planet and you came here with a mission. And then do that every day.
So here’s to us. The people who are trying this year. The people who started dreaming in January like everyone else but didn’t get their shoes on til the middle of February. Whose feet and hearts feel unspeakably heavy at times, who are wading through the incomprehensible messes of their lives and their minds to try and walk toward a future that just might be better, if only they could get there. Here’s to those of us forcing ourselves to believe that the future can and will be better, because to believe that is simultaneously the first step and really, the only way, for such a thing to ever be real.
Good luck. ❤