The five big lessons /// I've learned in my life so far.
I recently turned thirty three.
I welcomed this birthday a little differently than all the others.
Mostly because I am in a more centred place than I think I've ever been. And since my birthday - I’ve found myself reflecting back on my life as a human girl.
I say human girl. Because that combo makes for a lot of chaos!
For me, the journey has been raw and character-bending. It's shaped me in ways I still cannot quite describe. In ways I am still seeking to understand. I've experienced highs and lows - like anyone would. Like everyone does. My feelings have changed. My goals have changed.
My life is surprisingly different than my own expectations ever predicted it would be!
I feel infinitely more rewarded. Definitely more in charge.
OF THE THINGS
And so I've recently found myself in this place of crazy gratitude - because there are moments where I'm glad I made it out alive, and moves which I'm thankful to have even made at all.
My good friend and colleague - Patricia Kiteke - recently asked me if I'm ever going to write a book.
And I think this is me telling you that I am.
That I've started.
For me, it's a difficult undertaking. Adult ADHD is not necessarily a friendly ally to book-writing.
And there it is - my self-doubt creeping in again.
It’s always there, I’m learning.
Doubt is my forever comrade.
But here’s my resolution now... I’m going to do it anyway because my lessons have been profound - from battling clinical depression to killing an entire cooperation - and for some strange reason, I feel a deep-routed need to share it all with you.
You don't even know you!
I've always been one of those girls who loves the gifts of other people.
I am madly fulfilled by watching other people succeed.
I've spent a good portion of my life championing those around me.
I’ve learned that not everyone is going to know when you have championed them. Not everyone is going to understand what the act of championing is or what it means to really show up for another person.
You can’t always see that kind of stuff tangibly.
And while - for the most part - my love of other people’s gifts has been a cool experience filled with reward, it did take me away from myself for a little bit there.
The result has been this deep exploration of me. A journey of getting to know myself again.
And it’s been nothing short of fascinating.
I've learned that even though we spend all this time focused on our own stories and on determining a sense of who we are, we're just scratching the surface of what makes us, us.
We're just barely getting there.
I am so much more than the sum of my parts, and so are you.
I don't even know who I am yet, and I think that's okay to admit to the world.
I think we paint ourselves into corners.
We crave finalities. Solid conclusions.
Edges of reason where things can be explained and neatly packed away.
We decide we're this and that and therefore, we can't be anything else.
We can’t change our mind, because we might look stupid.
But jesus murphy! That's not true.
In the case of your existence, there is little need for decision. You’re already here, after all. You’re literally along for the ride - whether you like it or not.. You can explore your life. In fact, you should.
You have my permission.
Because there are wild depths of light beneath you.
You are capable of things you can't even fathom just yet.
And that's pretty incredible.
Learn to own your power.
You are valuable.
And so am I.
One of us is not more valuable than the other, though.
I have expectations and I'd be insanely naive to believe that you don't.
Does this make sense? Probably not.
Let me explain.
I really believe in love. I think love is perfect and empowering and beautiful. I just don't think love is necessarily unconditional. In fact, I don't think it should be.
I think love blossoms between people when a certain level of respect is not only achieved, but honoured and continually cultivated.
And respect shows up in so many different ways.
We're powerful humans and what we focus on gets bigger.
And bigger and bigger and bigger.
I've met people in my life who are extremely powerful sources of energy. They just don’t understand that they can choose to channel the good energy or they can choose to channel the bad.
I’ve seen extremely talented people flip between both sources of energy in a single day.
In other words, they don't own their power.
What happens then, is their power just flails around in chaos.
It builds and destroys everything around it.
The most frustrating part is when you find yourself building things up only to destroy them. And that cycle repeats itself over and over again. It is simply a concentration of power.
When this was me, I always felt confused. I didn’t understand why I was working so hard only to never see any positive results I could sink my teeth into.
I had to buy into myself.
It was like purchasing an extremely expensive item I was deciding to use for the rest of my life.
I couldn’t return it.
I was investing my entire life savings into this one important thing.
I had to learn to own my power.
No excuses. No blame directed at other people.
No sticking my head in the sand.
As a result, I’ve become newly aware of so many things.
The influence I have on other people. The boundaries I set with my friends and loved-ones. The energy I put out into the world on a daily basis. My thoughts, my patterns and my personal behaviours.
Not only that, but I’ve come to learn that the power of others can directly affect my work and my life.
GOOD AND BAD
I can't allow negative energy to enter into my life and then blame another person’s power for my misfortunes.
It comes down to knowing that I am in control - even when it doesn’t feel that way.
Even when I feel helpless or saturated or used.
Here's one thing I know to be true.
You have the ability to affect people.
You can make or break someone's day at any given point. And those days turn into years.
And those years turn into a life!
We spend a lot of time completely entrenched in our own victimization.
We wonder why. Why me?
I just got to the point where I didn't want to do that anymore.
Heart-break happens. Shit happens, too.
We're fallible beasts, aren’t we.
I've learned that a broken heart is not reserved exclusively for boyfriend or girlfriend - type relationships.
And everyone's heavy.
I know this, because I spent a significant part of my twenties carrying people around - whether they wanted the lift or not.
It took me a long time to realize that not everyone I adore is going to be good for me.
And that's definitely heartbreaking.
We all have demons and we're all geared for battle.
IT'S IN OUR DNA
The most important thing we can do is realize that fact and keep it in mind. Our need to survive is primal, but I want to thrive - and that means I have to get to higher level of being.
And that shit’s fucking hard.
I sincerely crave that my strengths influence me more than my limits.
I used to get sad about this a lot, because I believe so much in people’s potential.
With some souls though, it just happens to be the other way around. The need to control, protect and preserve dominates their behaviour.
You deserve to be happy just like everyone on this planet deserves growth and joy.
And that might mean leaving some people just where they are.
You don't have to leave them behind or cause any sort of commotion. You don't have to be aggressive about anything. But you can reserve the right to keep going.
Don't carry people.
The problem with carrying people is this...
They can't feel the hard ground beneath their own two feet.
That means there's no measure of proof.
There's no true understanding of sacrifice or sense of gratification when it comes to the work.
And in order for most creatives to truly enjoy success, they need to feel the work.
So let your heart break, darling.
But keep going.
You're going to give up!
You're going to commit to a lot of things in your life.
Jobs. Relationships. Marriage. Projects. Contracts. Businesses. Lease spaces. Purchases. Schools.
ETC ETC ETC
You're going to give them everything you've got.
And guess what...
You’re going to come to a point where you can't do it anymore.
You might have to quit your job because your health demands it. Maybe you'll approach a problem from every possible angle, only to continue to feel disappointed.
You might be the last one standing in a situation that no longer feeds you.
Someone might give up on you and force your hand.
You might feel inherently disconnected from something or someone.
Either way, you're going to give up.
That’s a given.
We live in a popular culture that's obsessed with inspiration and motivation and not giving up. But I’ve learned that it’s unrealistic to expect - beyond any shadow of doubt - that you’ll reach the pinnacle of everything.
Give your dreams everything you’ve got.
Just don’t suffer for something that doesn’t feed your soul.
If it doesn’t light you up inside, don’t let it bury you in darkness.
You’re not doing anyone any favours.
You’re certainly not better than anyone else because you’re suffering. Suffering is not admirable.
Giving up changed my life.
There was just something so truthful and powerful about finally throwing my hands up.
Don't feel badly.
What comes next is pure magic.
It doesn't matter in the end
What people think about you is none of your damn business.
Want know why?
Because what a person thinks about you will change depending on any number of variables.
Literally... With the wind.
It will depend on what room they're in. Who they're talking to and who they're hanging out with.
Who the dominant force in their life is.
It will depend on how that person currently feels about the most random series of things.
Whether they love life or feel stagnant or jealous. Or insecure.
And you can't control any of it.
PERSPECTIVE IS PERSONAL
We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are.
I've learned that I can’t take stock of what other people think of me, because it has no real bearing on my life.
Hearing people talk shit about you is hurtful. And it really sucks.
People can be really reckless.
But it shouldn't change your course. It shouldn't discourage you from your dreams.
If you really love something... If you really want to do something with all your might, then do it.
And let the people talk.
Cause that's never going to change.