It’s not often I have one of those sobering moments that I have to sit down and be 100% honest with myself, no matter how much it hurts. Tonight, I had one of those revelations. And it hit me. Hard. Square in the gut. And now I’m writing a hot take at 1:20 a.m. because it’s resonated so much within my soul, it burns.
The last time we checked in, I was at a standstill: I had just gotten out of two serious relationships and I didn’t know which direction was up. I wanted to create content and be absolutely transparent with my audience, but admittedly I had nothing to write about. Nothing profound happened in my life, other than rekindling friendships and relationships from my past (when I was truly my happiest). I was stuck in all definitions of the word.
For most of the summer, I just rolled through the motions until I had probably the biggest breakdown of my young adult life. All because of a stupid seagull.
One Saturday morning in August, I was at the gym and hopped onto Twitter in between sets. I came across a tweet that said that a long-time mutual follower I’d known had passed away rather unexpectedly. What’s also to note is that roughly three weeks prior, another friend from Twitter had passed away and in May, one of the kindest souls I ever encountered lost his battle with cancer. Losing three people that I interacted with frequently for the past ten years within a span of four months is a lot to process.
After being upset and processing the passing of these three, I happened to be driving and Brett Young’s Don’t Wanna Write This Song came on, a song that discusses loss and death. And then, I started to cry and rightfully so. (Hey, it’s a sad ass song!) But then, I couldn’t stop and the tears fell harder and it got more difficult to breathe. Violently sobbing and shaking, I pulled into the parking lot of the mall and just allowed myself to do something I hadn’t done in years: open up and just completely feel all my emotions. Raw emotions that ripped at me.
I had never processed the loss of my relationships with Ryan and Kenny, I never fully understood the magnitude of losing Stephen, Joey and Rob and the legacy and lives they touched, myself included. I couldn’t understand what I did in my life to have Brandon, someone who meant so much to me, back in my life. I went through highs and lows, just sobbing hysterically while playing the saddest song in existence on repeat.
I’m one to make light of serious situations, and while I was having my weep-a-thon, I noticed this seagull hanging out by the side of my car that wouldn’t leave me alone. He didn’t squawk, didn’t move, but just hung out there as if he were comforting me. I went to Twitter to joke about the situation, until someone told me that seagulls are symbolic for “prompting you to take a step back from everything you are currently handling”. Which made me cry EVEN HARDER.
Why am I telling you about this nearly three months later? Because a lot as happened since then.
Since that meltdown in the car, I had been attempting to just allow things to happen and looking into everything for symbolic meanings. I’ve been reading more into horoscopes and astrology to try and rationalize fate or make sense of all the things the universe has been trying to tell me. I’ve surrounded myself with people who only want the best for me, who want to see me succeed and in turn has caused me to believe in myself even more.
So much in fact, I spontaneously decided to re-enroll in college. Spontaneously is the key word here. The idea of going back to school was literally sparked from an email that I received from my union about benefits and that free education was one of them. There was minimal thought into the decision to enroll, but this new carefree spirit of mine made me believe I was capable of taking on the world and I had the right people in my life in my corner to support me and cheer me on.
Until, when I said I needed to commit myself to something, and everyone had their own issues that they needed to soundboard off of me. This isn’t me complaining about being a reliable friend, but rather that I’m weirdly empathetic (even though I refuse to believe I am) and resonate and relate to people’s problems as if they are my own. My friends were having relationship woes, and here I was perfectly content with my relationship with Brandon. My work life was going swimmingly and I had found my inspiration to get back into the gym and work on myself. But, because my friends suffered, I also felt that I was going through their same issues.
One thing that is pretty well known about me is that my need to be successful and the perfectionist in me doesn’t accept failure. I have never backed away from a challenge, or a project. I’m not someone to let something go and I’ll be damned if I don’t give it 110%. I was at a point in my life that I thought school would give me the kick in the ass I needed, because I felt I wasn’t doing enough extracurricular with my personal time. I wasn’t working on the site, so I needed something to pass the time between work and the gym. Plus, it was free and something that I thought I seemed genuinely interested in.
The first week of school, I felt as if I wouldn’t have a problem getting into the swing of things. I handed in assignments and did exceptionally well on them. I felt I had a good sense of time management and budgeted myself out to not overwhelm myself, and maintained a social life.
Then, plans changed. Homework got pushed off and then on Sunday, I was sitting and stressing myself out for no damn reason. I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t submit a part of my final project, that was roughly 25% of my grade. It was the first time in my entire academic career that I had straight up not turned in an assignment, or even cared that I didn’t. And I did not like that feeling at all.
My attitude had changed, I was stressed at work because I’d think of all the homework I had to do. I was stressed at home because I’d be exhausted from the gym and wouldn’t want to read chapters for Business101. I refused to change my lifestyle I had grown so comfortable with for the past six years, so I just sat in a constant state of stress and felt my body get worn down.
I had dinner with my best friends, where they both confronted me about my changed behavior and how maybe school just wasn’t the thing to do right now. Hearing their words made me realize something that I never confronted in my life; I don’t know how to accept failure, just take a loss and count it as a life lesson.
I have never failed anything. Not a class, not an exam (besides geometry in 10th grade… by one point), or relatively anything. I’ve had failed relationships, but I always blamed the other person, which, to be fair, it was their faults 🤷🏼♀️. I’ve never accepted that my weight loss journey has been unsuccessful, but rather because it’s a lifestyle, it’s a ‘work in progress’. I’ve never once considered myself a failure, but hearing them say that maybe withdrawing from school to focus on myself might be the best idea right now, it kind of hurt.
But, it made me realize a lot about the apparent theme of 2019: Growing through what you go through. It’s not a hesitation I am nowhere near the girl I was at the start of 2019. I’ve learned so much about myself a a person, a friend, a girlfriend, a daughter. I set ludicrous goals for myself that I think I can handle, but realistically can’t because I’m stretched in so many directions. It’s not making excuses, it’s learning who I’ve developed into.
I happened to read Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and there was a chapter that she discussed setting promises to yourself. We wouldn’t break a promise with a friend, so why are we the first to break a promise made to ourselves? I wanted to get back on my healthy living, because I genuinely felt my best then. I just happened to have this motivational push the same time I was gearing to go back to school. Which also happened to be the same time my friends needed a soundboard, or work decided to get busy.
So, with this all being said, we can add me being a college student for three weeks to things I never expected I’d say/do in 2019.
It’s hard for me to admit defeat. I don’t like not finishing something I set out to do. But, if 2019 has taught me anything, it’s to go with the flow. Roll with the punches and learn to let go of controlling things beyond your realm of reason. You can’t fight fate, you just have to ride the wave and I need to understand it’s going to be okay 🌊.