My Writing

8 Questions To Ask Yourself When You’re Facing A Giant Life Change

If you’re anything like most people, the idea of making a substantial life decision gives you a great deal of anxiety. You’re justified in feeling that way – after all, it could change the entire course of your destiny. When it all seems like too much to handle, take the time to ask yourself a few crucial questions:

What do you need to do to prepare?

It’s all well and good to enjoy spontaneity, but you have to be realistic when you’re making drastic moves. Take the time to think through what you need to do in order to ease the transition. It’s not worth it to go in unprepared and risk a disappointing outcome.

What are the pros and cons?

Set aside space and write out a list for both. Not only will this help you visualize whether it’s the correct road for you to travel, it may bring up thoughts and issues you hadn’t yet considered. This is a great exercise especially if you are on the fence about how you want to proceed with the change in question.

How will it affect your everyday quality of life?

Sometimes a shift feels exciting just because it’s something new and different. Step back, look at every facet objectively, and proceed rationally. Make sure that you know what you’re getting into before you’re already there and it’s too late.

What is the long term goal or effect?

You can get so wrapped up in facilitating a life transition that you lose sight of the big picture. It’s important to keep the overall results in mind when you’re going through a major change. Ensure that you’re sticking to the path you envisioned in the first place.

What is your gut telling you?

It’s easy to get bogged down in a mix of feelings, thoughts and worries – especially when something massive looms on the horizon. Try to separate what’s in your head and your heart from what your instincts are telling you. If you’re in tune with them, you’ll find they rarely lead you astray.

How can you center and ground yourself through the transition?

Don’t let the stress and chaos of a big life change knock you on your ass. Take time to listen to yourself and turn inward so that you can proceed with conviction, resolve and most of all, clarity. Do not lose yourself in the whirlwind of what’s happening around you.

What do you need to make it work?

Instead of thinking about what’s best for everyone else, take some time to make sure your own bases are covered. If you acknowledge your own needs, you can move forward with a clear idea of what has to happen in order to meet them. This will keep you from freaking out about inconsequential issues.

Do you feel fear or excitement?

Sometimes excitement can feel a bit trepidatious, but that’s not the same as dreading the outcome of a situation. Even when a life change gets overwhelming, you shouldn’t be truly afraid of what could happen. Acceptance and planning lead to positive anticipation as opposed to stress.

 

Coping With The Realities Behind The Millennial Fairytale

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was told she could have everything. She believed what she heard. The world was there within her reach, waiting for the moment she stretched out her small, optimistic hands.

There were dreams and schemes and fairytales, all very well in concept. Praised constantly but given no practical tools, she floundered in unfamiliar waters. Ironically, she’d done much the same when actually learning to swim, forever traumatized when thrown in and expected to fend for herself.

She was a product of an era that encouraged children to dream big and shoot high, but which gave them no clear path that enabled success. Some got lucky and found a way despite the lack of foundational stability. Most did not, and many stumbled into adulthood with jaded hearts and a sense of desperation at inheriting a world not particularly kind to dreamers.

Whenever she had the courage to express her doubts and fears, she was told she’d figure it out. They all seemed so sure of it, she supposed that she must behave in kind. The path she chose had only a marginal chance of success but she had no idea what else to do. No one sat down with her and helped her determine other possibilities. She was out there on her own, a tiny boat tossed amongst the waves of an uncertain economy, with a brain that was capable of much but could not settle on any one thing. It was both her greatest asset and most tragic undoing.

It didn’t much matter what her passion was because no one taught her how to overcome her fears. Every time she conquered one, a thousand more arose in their wake. It terrified her. She was always sensitive as a child but circumstances forced her to squash her emotion, to push it down, to forgo curiosity in favor of chasing perfection.

A parent must never underestimate the effect that their every word and action has on their impressionable offspring. Perhaps if she wasn’t paraded around by her mother when she was young, bragged about for this and that, then she wouldn’t have felt the need to constantly achieve more and more in order to matter at all.

When she reached adulthood, she was still stubbornly chasing the same “passion” despite having lost her ambition and drive long before. There seemed no alternative. How could she devote so many years to one goal only to forsake it? She did not know how to do anything but pursue excellence, and to let go of something that clearly no longer served her still meant failing. If she did that, she lost all sense of self.

No one ever told her that there’s no shame in failure – in fact, it’s necessary in order to learn. Most consider it crucial to their eventual success.

But that little girl – no, she was given no whisper of the notion that mistakes were normal, even welcome. She was promised that she could climb to the highest heights, but when she readied herself for the journey, there was not a path to be found. Faced with a shadowy chasm full of the unknown, she faltered. This wasn’t part of the story. No one explained the guidelines. All she knew how to do was follow the rules as closely as humanly possible. That was supposed to guarantee her success.

It was all a massively horrible lie, she soon discovered. There was no magical path and the rules no longer got anyone anywhere. A special kind of creativity was required to keep afloat in the world she entered.

She began slowly, confusedly carving out a route for herself, but without any idea of who she really was or what she wanted. There were countless missteps, dead ends, and return journeys to familiar ground. She cried into her pillow frequently, and on the nights that she felt particularly alone, life forced her to get uncomfortable and dive into intense self-study. It became the only way she understood how to grow and change, little by little, in the most necessary of ways.

Today, she is still resentful of the world left to her and her peers by the generation prior, the parents who promised the moon and then left them crumbs. She’s well aware that her path will never be a simple one, but she’s learned to appreciate the joys along the way. The fleeting instability of life is not lost on her. It may not always be easy, but better appreciate it while it lasts.

She’s far from alone, and this gives her a morbid sense of comfort. Everyone she knows was spoon fed this Millennial fairytale and most face the same predicament of confusion and groundlessness. For what it’s worth, they will muddle through together, and eventually perhaps discover their own iteration of a happy ending.

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

The Procrastination Method

How do you manage?

He asks.

How do you keep going

When it feels like your soul is breaking into bits

You can’t breathe

You can’t move

All you want is for existence to cease

When you forget that sometimes it’s all okay

Good, even

How do you survive?

Weather the storm, so to speak.

He smiles wryly, sadly.

I know he’s downplaying his desperate need to understand what I do.

I’m not sure I can explain

But I try my best.

Well, I sit there

With the pills

With the booze

With the pain

And I talk to myself

Like a nutso.

It’s all I know to do.

I say,

Not tonight.

Just go to sleep.

See how you feel tomorrow.

See how you feel in the morning.

And if you still feel like shit

You can do it then.

What’s the rush?

I pause, shrug.

That’s really it.

And so far, I’ve never felt as bad in the morning.

So far, he repeats. 

Yup. So far.

What if that changes? What if one day it doesn’t work?

A bead of sweat formulates just below his hairline.

I stare at it, fixated.

Shrugging again.

Hasn’t happened yet.

That’s all I’ve got.

I can tell he’s frustrated, that he thinks I’m lying, holding back…

He can think what he likes.

It’s not my responsibility to convince him of how I survive.

It is my responsibility to keep doing it.

Until I don’t.

The Struggle Was Worthwhile Because It Led Me To You

I was a bit flippant tonight as I defended the virtues of the single life.

I should’ve told you the truth – that single is okay, single is fine, but single is nothing compared to how happy I am with you.

I’m still frightened by all this. Forgive me. It’s been a long time since I opened my heart to someone who treats it with the care it deserves.

It’s been even longer since I was able to speak so honestly with a man about my fears without any sort of judgment or conflict. You really don’t know how special you are. It’s rare to find a human who is unquestionably kind through and through.

If I have my way, I’ll never be single again.

That’s what I really want to say to you.

I know we’re in the honeymoon stage. I know it won’t always be simple. I know that relationships are difficult no matter how much two people care for each other.

But for the first time, I’m in a functional partnership with an adult. I can tell you absolutely anything – I know this because I basically have. You accept it all without condition. We talk and I find myself easily saying things I’ve never spoken out loud before. Not only do you listen, you aren’t bothered in the least. You express yourself and you aren’t afraid to tell me how you feel.

You are literally everything I’ve wanted that I thought couldn’t possibly exist.

I was lonely for so long. Sure, single was necessary. I had to grow, to change and work through the painful truths of my past. It was all preparation so I could be ready for love when it found me. All that I ever wanted was to find that person who made me understand why it never worked out with anyone before.

That all sounds well and good, but I don’t know that I believed it could happen. Every time I let myself think it might, I met a rude awakening.

Then you came along and suddenly, quietly, simply … you were … it. I tried not to dive in too fast, because I’ve made that mistake before. I wasn’t fooling anyone. No other man held a moment of my interest from the moment I met you.

You gently claimed me without any pretense or assumptions. You wanted me, and I wanted you back, and incredibly that was enough. It is enough.

Now I understand it all.

If literally nothing else comes of this period in my life, I won’t care. I am here because I needed to find you. The universe brought us together. If that sounds crazy, so be it. I’m not concerned with what anyone else thinks of our happiness because I know in my gut that it’s the real deal. You are lovely, and I’m not letting you go.

The truth is that I don’t miss being single. Not one bit.

I’ve waited for you my whole life, and now you’re here. And I’m stunned with gratitude.

I will never, ever take you for granted.

(Originally published on Thought Catalog)

I Want To Let Him Go, But My Heart Won’t Let Me

I can’t sleep because I’m less than ten miles from where he’s sleeping and it’s making me crazy.

Okay, maybe it’s the coffee.

Still, all I can think about as I lie here awake in the darkness of an alien bedroom is that he’s so close and yet so impossibly distant.

What do I do?

I tell myself over and over again to stop all contact, to cut it off, to forget he exists. This heart trauma has gone on almost a year and that’s far too long. It should’ve ended the day he chose her over me. It should’ve ended when he kissed me and then panicked and told me he just wanted to be friends. It should’ve probably never begun.

And yet, no matter what I do, no matter how determinedly try to make it someone else, it’s always him. I hate it down to the root of my being. I hate myself for my weakness and him for his knowing duplicity. I hate that I always circle back around somehow. I hate that when it comes to him, I lose all sense of rationale and hold onto ridiculous and unfounded hopes.

Love makes me incredibly stupid.

I need to accept the truth. It’s slapping me in the face and still I refuse it.

I’ve never been good at letting go of what I want.

Then again, I don’t want to love him.

I want so very badly to let him go, to find love with someone capable of loving me back.

I want my person and I want him now, because my heart is tired of pining over someone so distant.

I beg the universe to guide me, to help me see clearly, to show me who I need and give me what I seek. To bring him to me and open my eyes so I actually recognize him.

I beg all the time. It’s not working.

These little tastes of him make it all worse. I can’t get to know him and I can’t forget him. It’s like slowly losing my sanity.

Please. Just let me sleep. This has no end game.

(Previously published on Thought Catalog)

The Truth Is I’m Afraid To Let Myself Be Happy

For a long time, I honestly believed that achieving happiness was an impossible goal.

I was too flawed, too depressed, too ugly, too chubby, and too ordinary. Seeing the bright side was a foreign concept for me. Though I tried hard to stay positive and push my sadness aside, it never worked. I had no idea where to begin.

Now I’m more confident, at least when I’m on my own. I don’t know that I have discovered some magical fountain of self-love, but I’ve definitely adjusted my priorities. The truth is that I simply don’t care so much about stupid, superficial shit anymore. Life is short and I don’t want to keep on wasting it.

Unfortunately, all that maturity goes down the drain when I confront myself honestly about what I believe I deserve in a relationship and in my career.

I am terrified to really and truly … try.

If I sort of work towards my professional goals and visions, but always fall short of the mark, then I never fail. I can’t fail if I never put myself out there fully in the first place, right? The same goes for love. If I refuse to open up and allow complete vulnerability with another human being, that person cannot truly hurt me. Never mind that I then, in turn, also miss out on experiencing the true joy of bonding with another human without reservations.

I’ve been this way my entire life. No matter how much I may evolve and develop in the personal realm, that work inevitably shows massive gaps when it comes to applying my growth to everyday existence.

When I was a child, I was required to do everything perfectly the first time around. Now, as an adult, I don’t know how to let myself experiment, go big, and fall hard. I have no understanding of what it means to take risks and recover normally if they don’t go how I’d hoped. I don’t know how to play and show my sillier side without fear of being dismissed as a foolish human being. I’ve always been what one might categorize as too serious. The irony is that my fear dampens every ounce of passion in my body until I doubt that any existed in the first place.

Yes, I do constantly urge myself to get over this hurdle and leap for the heights, but it’s easier said than done. It’s not that simple to throw out thirty years’ worth of learned and reinforced behavior and start over again. If I succeed, then I can fall. If I love deeply, then I can be deeply hurt. I’m afraid. The fear still wins.

If I’m always near the bottom, then I can’t fall too far. It may sound pathetic, but it’s oddly comforting.

On the other hand, I’m perpetually dissatisfied and will continue to be until I get over this crap and decide to fearlessly unleash the potential that lives inside me.

I do not want to repeat the patterns of my family before me. The idea of doing so shames me, and yet I continue on in the same vein year after year, inching closer to change only to shrink back again.

I’ve gone from despairing that I could never become happy to understanding that it is, in fact, achievable. I even have glimpses of true contentment before my sabotaging brain goes to work decimating it. The problem is that I have to be willing to accept that with the best might also come the worst, and then go for broke anyway.

I know that I will never live my fullest life unless I rid myself of these crippling fears. The question is, do I have the guts to do it?

 

To The Man Who Made It Easy For Me To Open My Heart Again

Thank you.

I don’t think you have any idea how lovely you are.

Part of your beauty lies in the fact that you’re simply ignorant of how remarkable it is that you exist in the world. I thought you were a dream, a figment of my imagination, someone I could only feebly hope to someday find. You make impossibility look simple.

For many years, love only meant pain to me. I’d heard that it was a remarkable experience with the right person, but I hardly believed in that possibility for myself. After a childhood surrounded by discordant, miserable couples, I had no idea what healthy love looked like or where to begin to build it.

Relationships used to be an interminable struggle. I flailed, inevitably sinking, attempting desperately to make it work with men who weren’t right for me. They never filled the void of insecurity and sadness inside me, and I couldn’t understand that it wasn’t their place to do so. It took hitting rock bottom to learn to put in the necessary work to prepare myself for the love I so desired.

Trudging through the muck of my past was the most difficult feat I’ve ever attempted, but the journey brought endless satisfaction. I kept digging into the marrow of my dysfunction, determined to heal because I knew that was the only way to achieve actual happiness. I was so terribly weary of feeling worthless.

So I put in the effort, and I soon began reaping the rewards. Still, love evaded me. I tried not to mind because everything else in my life improved so drastically, but the darkest fissures of my heart yearned for someone to walk by my side through this unpredictably wondrous adventure. Sometimes I’d spend the dead of night screaming noiselessly into the blank void of my pillow, frustrated beyond comprehension, unable to verbalize my keen longing for my soul’s match.

Finally I made a leap long overdue and my life transformed. Suddenly I just knew it was time and I was truly ready for love. I had no idea when it would happen but the weight of hopelessness lifted soundlessly and I took a deep breath. You were coming for me. I had no more doubts.

Then one day not long after, you quietly slipped into my life with no pretense whatsoever. I met you and everyone else simply fell away. At first I tried to temper my excitement, to move forward with caution, to give others a chance … but I knew I was lying to myself. From the day I met you, none of them mattered the slightest bit. I barely had a choice in the matter. The universe finally brought you into my life because I was ready. There was no turning back, even if I tried my damndest to ruin it all.

But I didn’t, because I know enough by now to stop sabotaging magic when it enters my world. And you, my dear, are pure sorcery, concocted and kept aside to find me now that we’re both ready. I firmly believe that, because there’s no other earthly reason that someone else would not have snatched up your precious self by now.

So thank you. I cannot quite yet say all this to your face because I don’t know how to handle the strength of my joy, the tenacity of my emotions when it comes to you. I’m still afraid that you’re too good to be true, but here you are, showing up for me every single day whether I believe it or not. You bring forth surprised laughter from the depths of my gut and challenge my mind to overcome itself when I doubt my own way. I almost lost hope that anyone would ever understand me, and now here you are … matching me in every way I ever dreamed of and more. I’d think you were the most beautiful man even if you weren’t mine, but you are, and I’m overflowing with it.

My heart is open and not only do you accept it, you meet it with the tenderness and nurturing affection I always craved but never found before.

I’m keeping you. I hope that’s okay. I have a feeling you won’t mind.