Not Totally Bravely Running Into 2018


Obviously, a lot happened this year.


If I'm being really honest, this post was going in a totally different direction until last night. When I had a really embarrassing meltdown about being completely alone at the start of a new year. Last year, I spent four days soaking up every bit of happiness, brunches, coffees, movies, snuggs, and friends. This year, I have been completely alone for the last three days.

And if you want to argue that I could have gone out on my own and found something to do downtown by myself: leave. Now. Seriously. That's insulting, and it goes against every inkling that I have ever shared about who I am, how I deal with my anxiety, and seriously - do you know anyone that hasn't gotten any sort of invite for NYE and still said, "Oh, I'll just make my own plans in an area where everyone else has someone?" No. 



Okay. 

That is my reality right now: considerable and pervasive loneliness. Which, doesn't bode very well for my outlook on the new year. 

And yes,  I know some of that is based on the chemistry in my brain. Okay, fine. 

But some of that? It's actually just me, being alone, and hurting. 

//

Now. On to the dreams and the goals, and the shit for which I have been busting my butt in the last few months. 

I've documented a good chunk of it publicly obviously, and privately, for whatever that is worth. I used to say that I'm not someone who consistently journals. Which, sure, that is ridiculous now since that is literally what I've done, just you know, on the internet.

Ideally, I suppose this is when I look back at all that - look at what I did in 2016 and 2017, look at what I wanted, and evaluate where I landed.

In 2016, I gave until it physically hurt. I gave my time, my money, my heart, my sanity - every inch of what I had, I gave.



In 2017, I planned for vision with grace. I wanted to continuously keep the courage to pursue my big visions - for myself, my relationships, my work, my service work, and for something that matters. 

Grace was going to be, and ended up being, the key. I knew I needed grace to power through my tendency to get tired, to fuel me when it hurts like it does now, and to give me the power to turn away from the all the things that were going to bring me away from my vision.

So, how'd it end?

...with a bang, and a fizzle.


Look, you know mostly how it ended. Let's not rehash it too much - but instead, let's talk 2018.

I gave you the simpler goals, and yes, and they are completely valid. But I have some bigger ones that I have been working on in the last few months particularly. I think having something more grandiose to work on - something that drives you a bit further than your goal to drink more water, and workout every day - is important.

While these aren't things that I'll be able to measureday-to-day, they are things that I really believe will drive a bigger impact for me in 2018. And, frankly, things that even since September have allowed for some much needed change in my life.

//

I think it is pretty obvious that owning my own story has been incredibly important for me.

Did I have to share how heartbroken I was? No. Obviously.


But that's part of my story. That is part of who I am now. And if it wasn't something I was willing to be honest and open about - it was something that was going to control me. 

Instead, I owned where I was in this narrative, and how to appreciate who I am in this process. 

The reality is that if you're denying where you are in your life, with your successes, with your failures, or with your heartbreaks - you are always going to be working to make up the truth. If you are going to deny the bleak spots in hopes of covering them, you don't get to revel in the joy that is on the other side of them.

And, that easily lead me into the notion of remaining authentic

This, admittedly, was driven in part by encountering a truck load of inauthenticity in 2017.


But I can't stress enough how these two things have shifted the relationships in my life. 

When I decided to crack open my heart - mean, y'all, crack open - on the internet, I gained so freaking much. The people that reached out, that supported me, that comforted me, that shared their stories with me - it was actually unreal. 

I didn't have to do that, I know. That was the authentic approach for me. That was the only way I was going to maintain who I was with...well, you. 

There are a thousand things to be said about sharing the highlights, and saturating the internet with only good things, and more over, deliberately curating your pain. Because of course it is nice when people reach out, support you, comfort you, and cheer for you. But when that comes from a place of inauthenticity...what's the point? 

So, while I don't think I ever came at it from that direction, I decided to approach what I put online from a place of complete authenticity. I decided that was the only way to make sure that I was cultivating a story completely of my own. It wasn't always pretty, or uplighting, or positive, or frankly, supported. 

Plenty of people looked at how I was sharing who I am, what I am going through, and the place I'm at in my life, and said, "yeah, no thanks." 


And plenty of people looked at that and said, I got you. 

That doesn't mean the choice to share that I've been crying, or that I've had an anxiety attack in the middle of downtown Burlington, or some other seriously personal shit, was always easy. Of course it wasn't. But the reality is that it is part of my story, and this story isn't always me bravely running through this season of life.

Luckily, this story, and that authenticity, yielded deeper (and new!) friendships in places I never expected. It gave me the opportunity to speak to my pain in a way that allowed other people to open up. It gave me a whole new platform to talk about something that actually matters.

And it gave me a whole new way to keep being honest with myself about my own mental health. 

That's the big one. '


It's really easy to deny where you are in your life. 

It's really easy to pretend you are happy, to pretend your life is satisfying, to pretend that you are achieving your goals, and to pretend like your head doesn't fight you at each of those turns. 

What isn't always easy is knowing that not everyone is going to feel comfortable with you being completely honest about your mental health. Hell, even getting people to listen to you once you say mental health isn't all that easy. 

But being honest about it, about where you are with it, it is a game changer. 

You lose some comfort, but you gain a hell of a lot more.

And I figured out that if I could do all three - if I could own my story, while being authentic, and being honest about my own mental health - I could shift the last few months of my 2017 into something that mattered.

Yeah, whatever, heartbreak matters too. But that was the launching pad, not the foundation.



So.

That is where I am. And that is where I'm going too. 

I don't know how easy this is going to be to maintain. 

I know some days it hurts, just to be in the thick of it, say nothing about sharing it. Last night was no exception. I sobbed hours before the new year. Because I was so alone, and so sick of it. Is that glamorous? Hell no. No one "likes" that. 

But that's my story, that is where I am coming from. 

No comments