Hello Miles tribe. Welcome back after such a long break apart! I hope your corner of the world has been kind to you. On our end it has been a whirlwind of holiday chaos these past few months. But for the sake of full disclosure, I feel like we haven’t really slowed down since we moved into our new apartment last summer. In the months since moving and promoting and just day-to-day life I’ve taken a huge step back from social media and the internet in general– maybe to the detriment of some of my projects, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Cliché as it is, I’d like to think that I’ve learned a lot about myself during this hiatus and what it is exactly that I want and don’t want. More importantly, I’m taking strides in knowing what I’m willing to compromise and what I’m not. For example:
I’ve learned that I live with anxiety and depression. I’ve suspected this to be true since I was a child but this past year, with help, I was able to confirm that these are a part of me. I’m not going to discuss much of this in this post. Reason being that anxiety and depression mean different things for different people and I am still discovering all the different shades of my own spectrum so I do not want to confuse anyone and have them think I’m generalizing or advising. However, if you have questions or would like to hear more about what helps me manage these things, leave a comment or send me a message and I’d be happy to share the best I can. The last thing I want to mention on this topic at the moment is that if you suspect that you may be dealing with either of these, realize that there are resources available to you. You do not have to do it all on your own nor should you have to. I hope you know that no matter where/who you are or what your struggle may be that you are not a burden and you are so very worthy and loved.
I’m learning how to be okay with putting myself first. As a society I feel like we’re pressured to give more of ourselves than is really healthy. Spend more, work more, stay longer, sleep less, go out, look the part, be yourself but only the version that everyone else will like… When does it stop? At what point do we realize that taking a personal day is not selfish but necessary? For some of us it takes a stress-induced trip to the hospital and realizing that if we don’t stop giving too much of ourselves then there won’t be anything left (aside from medical bills). So I’m pushing back against those who would try and take more from me than I’m willing to give. I’m expanding the limits of my flexibility so that the system works not just for them but for me, too. I know my worth and I’m taking strides to avoid being shortchanged.
I’ve learned who I can really count on and what it means to be a person who can be counted on. So this is partially true. Really it should read that I’m “learning” these things because these concepts are constantly changing and evolving as we go along. As an introvert with anxiety and depression certain social things are exceedingly difficult for me to navigate comfortably. So I don’t. I avoid them. I cancel them. I make up excuses or work myself up to the point of an anxiety attack that has me deep-breathing in the closet, crying over what to wear, and alternating between berating myself for the lack of control and asking myself why I ever said yes to this thing in the first place. Cute, right? So in keeping with learning how to put myself first, I’m learning to be okay with saying no–when I really mean it. But there are times when, if I’m being totally honest with myself, I’m saying no because I think it’s easier. But what happens when you say no too often is that you miss out on some really cool experiences and some really amazing people. And eventually they stop inviting you. They stop checking in to see if you want to hang out or get pizza or see that awesome new movie that you’re dying to see but can’t bring yourself to socialize for. And who can blame them really?
As luck would have it, it just so happens that I have a friend who meets me where I live in my introversion. She visits me in my quiet and adjusts herself to my rhythm in a way that has me in awe of her as a person. And in turn I would maneuver some of the most uncomfortable social atmospheres for her. Because she wouldn’t ask me to do something that would push me too far. Not because she knows me better than I know myself (which she kind of does) but because she, more than anyone else I know (aside from my husband), has taken steps to really understand what certain things mean to me and the ways in which I process them. And for someone like that I want to be the kind of person who can be counted on to show up and follow through. In a perfect world, everyone would have this kind of friend. But in this world we’re in she teaches me to be that kind of friend for others and as goonish as it may sound, I’m pretty sure helping others want to be better people is her superpower. If you knew her, you’d agree.
Most importantly I am learning what it means to find peace in where I am. It’s a struggle to try and keep up with what everyone else is doing. So why do we do it? No, really– why? Why go out and spend more money than you have on things you don’t actually need or want to impress people you don’t like? We’ve heard this phrased a million different ways by dozens of different people but they were onto something. Could someone please tell me who the Jones’s are and why the hell I should be trying to keep up with them? We talk a big game about getting our homes and our lives situated just right and “then we’ll be happy.” Not that you’re asking me, but if you were, the concept of “if” takes up far too much room in our lives. “If only I looked like that. If only I had that in my life. If I just changed this about myself… maybe then I’d be happy.” We set time limits for ourselves and say that we’ll be happy when we get to a certain point or once we achieve a certain goal. But here’s the thing, y’all: the secret to being happy isn’t waiting for a certain time or person or thing. It’s being okay with where you are now. Happiness is finding beauty in the marks on your skin because they are the topographical map of your strength. It’s gentle words and a warm smile as you take in the fullness of your body after devouring memories with loved ones over the holidays. Abusing yourself for not being what or where you thought you would be by now is not happiness–it’s tragedy.
In learning all of these things and many, many more it was necessary to remove myself from as many outside influences as possible. I needed to really strip everything back and find out what parts were me, what parts were someone else, and (most importantly) what was missing overall. Someone told me once that sometimes you have to slow down in order to speed up. Simple enough, but it’s stuck with me over the years. Sometimes you have to take a beat to reassess some things before you can go ahead full steam. And that’s what this year has been for me. My one regret–no, maybe not regret exactly, but you get what I’m trying to say– is that I couldn’t include you in the process. I know there are bloggers and vloggers and influencers out there who are so incredibly dedicated that they chronicle their entire process regardless of the varying states of disarray. We praise them for their transparency because we love watching someone else’s train wreck; it makes us feel better about our own shortcomings and messes. But how much better could we all be if we just gave each other the time to step back and heal, if we were even a fraction more understanding of the struggles of others? I guess what I’m getting at is empathy. We could all use a little more empathy. For others. For ourselves. Just a thought…
Until next time, loves. Wishing you all good things, always.