I thought I had to.
I thought I had to promote.
I thought I had to create a platform.
I thought I had to share the message.
I thought I had to make moves.
I thought I had to push.
I thought I had to do something with it.
Because publishing wasn’t enough. Because I’m good at writing. Because I can carry the message, so I thought I had to carry it … to everyone. Because I am not afraid to be open and vulnerable, so I thought I had to be that way – on display.
And it hurt me. I stopped knowing where I stopped, and you began. I stopped pausing and asking me what I thought and started asking you. You, a total stranger, reading my words and following my posts. I stopped having a sense of poise and privacy because I thought the more open and exposed I was on my journey, the more you’d relate and the more authentic I’d be and thus, the more popular.
You know, the more followers and likes and attention and base I’d have. The more power I’d create and the more of an impact I’d have. The more worthy my book would be of reading. The greater the message my recovery would speak.
As it’s turned out, none of that is my truth. It took nearly a year to find out, but I did. And as usual, and so aptly, I learned this truth through my body. Where God gets my attention, still, after all of these years. It started with a test that revealed numbers I wasn’t prepared to see. It started with slowly losing my cool over choices I was making about how I want to live my days. It started with being utterly exhausted, day in and day out, no matter how much sleep I was logging. It started with feeling lost, anxious, afraid, isolated, and just freaking off. It started with wanting to escape my own life, the life I had worked so hard to create.
And then someone opened the door. A coworker, no less. Because I am so open, more to some than to others, people can tell when I’m not OK. And enough people care to say, “hey girl, what’s up?” and I can tell them. And even more than telling them, I can listen to them when they tell me what they see or what they hear. And this beautiful coworker said, “I know it seems like it’s about the numbers, but I think you’re on the cusp of something much deeper, bigger, enormous.”
And there it was. I was not living my truth. I was making choices that don’t align with me. I was trying to build an image that I don’t want to have. I was living my life behind a screen and redirecting my focus in places I don’t want to be focused. I was bleeding myself dry and not allowing myself to get filled back up. I was doing, a lot. And I don’t want to do any more.
I was never really trying to replace my day job with Insperity; I love what I do! But I felt obligated. I felt responsible. I felt burdened and tasked. God does not want that for me, nor do I. I was not given the gift of word to keep missing this life and not living it. I don’t need to be a best-selling author or star on Oprah one day. I really can just publish a book and let it sit on a shelf somewhere. I really don’t have to write every week or ten days just because I have a blog site and can write. I don’t have to write, ever! Or I can like I am now because I felt called to do so. For me, for catharsis, for clarity.
It took two weeks, but I feel more like myself than I have in a very long time. I removed Instagram from my phone. I am supporting less people than I was. I stopped taking on more service opportunities and have been thinking more about where I want my time spent and letting time pass before deciding. I have been reading more and scrolling less. I have been listening more and writing less. I have been celebrating the work I have already done instead of constantly feeling like there is so much more to do. I’ve changed up my training, too, because I’ve also realized that I have nothing to prove to you or to me! And the type of work I was pursuing was no longer bringing me joy and was instead really just hurting my body. A body that’s done nothing but show up for me, day in and day out, my entire life. A body that shows me who I am and gives me the utmost opportunity to figure it out before she has to yell. A body that really can do anything I ask her to do and does. A body that I still don’t appreciate enough and that is why I am sitting back.
I want to appreciate my body. I want to appreciate the things that I already have. I want to appreciate the relationship that I’m in. I want to appreciate our home and our dogs and our bed and our cushy lifestyle. I want to appreciate my work and not a grind I don’t have to take on to get the same result just to make myself feel better.
We are all enough, exactly as we are. If there is one flaw in wo(men), it is that we forget our worth. You may feel like you could do more, as opposed to less. You may feel like you’ve been sitting it out for just a bit too long. Now that you know, you have choices. We have so many choices. The world is GREY, not black and white. If you’re not happy? You can choose differently. You’re happy? You can choose the same.
Just know that whatever we choose, it is enough, and it is good, and it is right. Because we are never steered in a direction that isn’t ultimately for us, no matter how windy and curvy and dark it gets before we know that that is true.