Don’t Wait to Live Your Best Life NOW!

photo © Lovely Valentine

Once upon a time I felt invincible. As if I was cloaked in confidence with a clear purpose that enabled me to be extremely self aware, refusing to accept any limits on what I could achieve. I knew where I was going and there was no question that my dreams would be fulfilled. It’s as if I ate, drank and slept a limitless supply of awesomesauce that that I could see and tap into. I lived. Once upon a time.

It’s been some time since I felt such energy and fulfillment, and I’m not sure I know what it feels like anymore. I can’t pinpoint a specific date, but there came a time when my confidence reserve ran dry. No more confidence. No more purpose. Leaving a vulnerable and unfocused drifter  often scared and fearless. Where was I going? And seemingly overnight, my hopes for success and gratification vanished. What was left was a woman, a woman I couldn’t face in the mirror. I let her down. I let me down. I immediately felt as if success wasn’t attainable – that I was destined to struggle for the rest of my life. That I had no control over what the future had in store and I was merely a passenger in my life.

The combination of balancing serious health issues, single parenthood, a dysfunctional extended family and an evolving relationship took it’s toll. I had enough. Instead of finding a plan B, C or D I did something I’ve never done. I accepted my situation as my life, for life. Instead of viewing my current situation as a setback or hurdle that could be conquered I saw the opposite, resulting in crippling fear of anything new and unfamiliar and a need to be alone all the time. When I looked in the mirror, I had no idea of the girl staring back at me. I refused to face who I’d chosen to become.

I realized too late that “our soul and psyche need breathing space – a respite from leaping from one to-do to the next” and that feeling unhappy was something I refused to accept as normal. I hid in the background and was waiting for someone else to make my life better, as I assumed I didn’t hold the resources necessary to truly change my life and hone in on my passions.

For weeks I’ve been asking myself “Alex, what are you waiting for? What is holding you back from living the life YOU want?” I have a ton of reasons: family commitments, fear of the unknown, lack of confidence, money and most importantly the fear of greatness. The stress and doubt has cumulated and created a nervous and scared girl weary to make any changes in her life. If I couldn’t see the next step, I couldn’t move forward.

While commuting to work this morning I thought about the choices I’ve made (good and bad) and how when I lay my head on my pillow I feel something missing. So I proceeded to call my estranged Mom, my estranged sister, my 94yo grandmother and my Uncle whose son committed suicide just before Christmas. I craved comfort from those who had both challenged and loved me fiercely. To achieve I knew I needed support. Most conversations were full of tears but left me with one crucial takeaway:

DON’T WAIT

Don’t wait to tell the people you love how important they are to you.
Don’t wait to try something new.
Don’t wait to live abundantly.
Don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Don’t wait to celebrate you.
Don’t wait to soar.
Don’t wait to LOVE YOU.

I’ve struggled with constant feelings of disappointment and not being good enough or adequate enough for many years. I often feel inferior to my peers and find myself miserable more than happy. I couldn’t see the power I possessed. I couldn’t see the love I had to offer. I couldn’t see my purpose. And now I know that “only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”

Whatever obstacles you face, regardless of how fearful you may be – put in the work in first loving YOU. Appreciating YOU.Feeling fully at peace in your soul will open up opportunities you couldn’t ever have imagined. So, DON’T WAIT. Go out, achieve, ask for what you want and don’t stop until you get what you deserve. Because, you are worth it.



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2015: The Year I Laid my Burdens Down (Part Two)

2015-

 

If you didn’t get a chance, be sure to check out -part one- of this post which was featured yesterday!

Deciding to face myself and a turbulent past was scary and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. It has been a process of self-love, acknowledgment and grief. When I was cracked open is when the breakthrough happened. I didn’t know how to take care of myself before, it was wildly uncomfortable. I learned so much through conversations with friends and mentor Tara of The Young Mommy Life about the necessity of prioritizing self care and the harsh consequences when you don’t.

In 2015 I laid my burden down and as a result I’ve experienced immense growth. I’ve uncovered a softer more vulnerable me that is anxious (of course) to see life through a new lens. And for this opportunity I will forever hold 2015 close to my heart.

I couldn’t have been able to begin to lift myself up out of the trenches without constant support. It began at home with my daughter and boyfriend. It spread to friends close by and online and even strangers. I hung my burdens for all to see and instead of a pity party or further shame they ALL embraced me. To feel love and warmth when you don’t feel loveable is something magical. I am thankful for the kindness of my network for showering me with support in my darkest time. It’s something that I will never ever forget. In a world full of so much hate I was reminded that kindness will always win.

I look at the emotional and mental journey I’ve taken in just four months and I’m so proud that I decided to change my trajectory for myself and ultimately my family. Living in a world of shame, guilt and self-hate benefitted no one and it was a horrible dark place to live. Through this process I lost myself as well as friends. And learned a very important lesson: if you don’t invest in YOU don’t expect anyone else to invest in you. Finding what success looks like for me both personally and professionally cannot come without investment, love and respect for ME. It starts with me. Change starts with each one of us deciding to make a better tomorrow.

I am PROUD that I am choosing this journey. It’s not over yet, but for the first time in a long time I’m looking forward to what my future can offer now that I’ve decided to lay my burdens down.



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2015: The Year I Laid my Burdens Down (Part One)

2015-I’ve begun this post a dozen times. Each time all I was able to convey was negativity and loss (which I experienced a ton in 2015). Determined to share more than just the bad stuff I’d immediately erase what I’d written and stare blankly at my computer screen. So here I am. Again.

Over the past year and especially the past four months I have been forced to lay my burden down and see through the years of hurt and pain that I’d tried so hard to lock away. Hurt from my mother’s neglect, my father’s absence, my daughter’s father’s inconsistency, a dysfunctional family, and my flaring anxiety and depression. Years and years of unresolved shit that I chose not to work through. Biggest mistake ever. The stress mounted over the years and manifested into OCD, insomnia, extreme irritability and climaxed this fall when my soul just couldn’t carry the load anymore. I understandably cracked under the pressure I put on myself. In August and September all hell broke loose. I lost it. I took a leave of work as a result of the stress taking a toll on my vision and was diagnosed with swollen optic nerves -and- retina fluid and scarring along with an official diagnosis of extreme anxiety, depression and PTSD. I haven’t been able to see clearly since the middle of August and the countless Doctors I’ve seen since then don’t think it’s likely my vision will fully correct itself – even with painful eye injections and medication.

You can imagine that raging anxiety coupled with depression and vision issues didn’t make for a good combination. I spent most days for a solid month in my bed with my covers drawn up to my chin unable to help myself. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to help my daughter with her homework. I didn’t want to cook dinner. I didn’t want to watch TV. I didn’t want to see friends. It was one of the lowest points of my life – I had no fight left in me. It was the first time I tasted defeat and it was awful.

It was as if I was living someone else’s life. See, I always thought I was destined for greatness. That there was a special spark lodged deep inside that carried me through the low points in life shielding me. Giving me endless strength. When I lost hope I was unable to see that light because I made a choice to only see the darkness and hurt. It clouded my judgement and I became lost in my own unproductive thoughts. I felt so alone. If I wanted to survive…if I wanted to thrive I had no choice but to lay some of my burdens down. And so I did.

Come back tomorrow for Part Two of today’s post! :)



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