2017. what a year. a year of growth, changes, adventures, heartache, the starts of things, the end of things, also a lot of the same things too. what a year.
I like to recap and think back on my years. particularly this year. this year I have taken steps in a real way to change things for myself. change how I interact with others, change how I talk to myself, change how I see myself, and even go so far as to start the steps to change my career.
I had the privilege to travel in every month except March & July. I got to go to 3 new states…all in the Northwest…got to see lots of friends and make some really wonderful memories. I let go of a lot that I’ve been carrying around for a very long time and mourned some people no longer apart of my journey.
The length of time we have to live out full years has been on my mind recently. I have had the opportunity to see the majority of 27 years…..27 years of learning, adventures, forming relationships…27 years to live. And I was reflecting how I’ve wasted a lot of them….wasted them being upset and worrying about what’s coming next or upset with myself instead of enjoying each moment I get to live. Life’s too short to be upset with others, upset with yourself, or not living life how you want.
During this year it was brought to my attention (more than once) about self talk. My self talk, in full disclosure, is pretty damn terrible. I would NEVER talk to other people the way I talk to myself. I am so hard on myself about nearly everything. It’s loud and it’s negative and nothing silences it. I struggle with not letting it get to me and I’ve had to face it a lot more this year in different ways. For some reason this year I have felt very unworthy of anything good. I’ve allowed the thoughts and actions of others define my worth. I HAVE allowed it. And so by realizing that I am the one allowing, I get more upset with myself. And the nasty cycle of negative self talk became more frequent and more detrimental honestly. How am I supposed to form relationships with others or find myself being open to dating or a real and true romantic relationships if I talk to myself that way? I can’t expect someone else to respect me or care about me when I don’t feel that way about myself. I have spent PLENTY of my years in this space of awful self talk and I am making a promise to myself here & now to change that. Change how I talk to myself and stop others’ opinions of me define how I see myself. Those are conscious choices and choices I need to make if I want to continue down the path I want to be on.
Truth be told I have not done a very good job of being open with others this year. I think it’s partly due to this head space I’ve been living in & the other part is me trying to be different and better (which I guess I could attribute to the head space). Regardless, I’ve become much more closed off and keeping my thoughts & feelings to myself. I’ve been doing a lot of internal evaluating and reflecting and there have been changes that have come with doing those things. I haven’t wanted to share and share and share the ways I used to. Sharing can lend to pity & misunderstanding & sometimes, unhelpful opinions. I do not want pity for sure & sometimes the more I share, the more misunderstood and alone I’ve felt so if I don’t share, I can’t be misunderstood right? Sure, in theory. On top of that, I allow others’ opinions to make my decisions. I gave that decision making power away and I needed to take it back. It has been challenging to have to honestly look inside and ask myself what I want. But I believe within this new approach, I’ve become more selfish and definitely have pushed people away. It is not my intent in anyway but I believe it’s become the reality. I have become content with myself enough that I don’t need other people like I did and instead of being a friend to others, I’ve become selfish and incredibly closed off. Plus I know that so much of what I always communicated with to others I have to deal with and move past on my own. Another piece to this is that in all honesty, I haven’t wanted to let people in. When I’ve let people in in the past, it’s caused pain and hurt. So in many ways I have been scared to open that door again. But I am who I am and I don’t need to hide things I’ve felt shame about anymore. Those who love me most don’t and won’t care and that’s what I have been trying to hold onto in the struggle of this opening up business.
As I’m writing all this out I realize it’s confusing. It’s confusing because they almost seem conflicting ideas. I want to be more internal so I don’t rely on other opinions but I also talk super negatively to myself and allow others’ feelings about me define myself? It doesn’t make sense in many ways but it also makes a lot of sense. I believe there is a fine line between opening up and letting others in and remaining true to yourself and making choices that are best for you. Oh and sticking to those decisions and allowing yourself some grace and a little love. In the end, you only have yourself so if you don’t speak kindly to yourself or love yourself, how miserable a life are you going to have? Well a little advice as someone who has been there for a long time, it can lead to the the most miserable life. Love yourself, seriously. Haven’t mastered it yet but working my way there.
Back to my original thought of LIVING life, living life includes being open to letting others in. Sharing stories of success, failures, annoyances, joys, challenges, triumphs is what makes life doable. It makes it worth it when you share and you celebrate with your closest people or you are having a tough day and you need an ear and someone to tell you it’s going to be OK. And loving yourself is part of your job description. THAT is what living life is about. We’re all in this together and I forgot that in the midst of my journey this year.
SO as I do….I want to thank those who have remained present and there for me when you may have felt that I shut you out. I want to apologize to those where I put all my “worth” eggs. That’s a huge responsibility to feel you have and an unfair one at that. I love and value those so much but it’s not fair at all. For those I pushed away and seemed so self involved, I am sorry. It was truly never my intent. There was a lot of work that had to be done this year and I did the best I could. But I never meant to push away or hurt anyone.
Life is tough you know? We face so many awful and debilitating situations and circumstances and it’s clear to me it’s not going to get any better. But I am starting with loving who I am, giving myself and others much more grace, deserved grace. We have to stick together. Sticking together, relying & loving on one another other makes all the other crap doable, livable, survivable, and OKAY. It’s not necessary to walk through the tough stuff alone and I see that now.
in terms of my plans you may wonder? I’m working on it. I’m doing the things that need to be done to determine where my next steps in 2018 will lead me. Not to sound so vague, but in truth, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know where I’m going to land. I want to go to school in the fall…I want to move somewhere amazingly beautiful where I can continue to grow into this new version of myself. I want to get this master’s degree and maybe even my doctorate some day. I want that accomplishment. And THEN, I want to help people. I want to make a difference. THOSE things have not wavered. I feel called and driven in that and so I’m doing what I need to do now to make that happen. God has a plan you know? God will guide and place me where I need to be and when I need to be there. It’s been challenging but it’s going to be worth it when I am where I know I need to be. Portland? Utah? Colorado? Wisconsin? California? Arizona? STL? Where will I go? I have no idea. But God does and so I’m ok with not knowing today.
2017, what a year. these are without a doubt the biggest takeaways and things I want to share mostly to remind myself and hope to bring a little light and peace to someone else’s life. We aren’t alone and shouldn’t have to walk this journey by ourselves. Give people a chance. I have a feeling it will be worth it when I can change how I look at things.
2018: I’m ready for whatever God has in store for me.
on this final Friday in October, I feel a strong desire to speak my truth. I feel it’s important to shed the final layer of the old by being honest with the world. It’s scary to be this honest on such a format but I hope by my sharing I can help someone else. Most may see my life as wonderful….I travel often, I have amazing friends, family who loves and takes care of me, yet I always found myself looking and searching for something more. I was never content with my life and never content with myself.I wasn’t striving to have a picture perfect life but I wanted to feel happier than I felt. Unknowingly, I had been fighting severe anxiety for a very long time which caused much of the discontentment. I couldn’t turn my brain off. I couldn’t make the racing thoughts stop. And at times, the anxiety paralyzed me 100%. A lot of the time, I didn’t even know what was happening as I didn’t know what I was dealing with. My anxiety peaked it’s ugly head a few years ago and I literally spiraled out of control. I couldn’t get out of the awful cycle (not to mention, a heartbreak was thrown in there that made it much worse). I would avoid social activities and just go home and sit by myself, get mad at myself for feeling this way and then just cry. I was so consumed by my own hate self talk that I was ruining my own life and my relationships with those I cherish most. I was paralyzed and no matter what fun thing I was doing or cool place I went, it didn’t stop. Nothing I did helped. Even when I learned I had anxiety I still did not know how to fight it or cope with it. No matter what I did, the “I’m not good enough” thoughts and worry about every little choice and decision just would not stop.
in honoring myself by being honest, I say- this week has been a challenge for me. The fear of the future and the unknown has started to paralyze me again. I had been fairly successful in maintaining perspective and looking at everything in front of me one step at a time. but as things go, the big picture became double wide in my view again and it caused my anxiety to rear its ugly head.
the thing about my anxiety is that it comes in phases and waves. for the last 6 months or so, it was like a hurricane. it was relentless…never giving me a break or room to breathe. It became so severe that it inhibited me from making any decision. I was paralyzed in fear of all the unknowns. I couldn’t even make a decision about what to do for my lunch! It was debilitating to say the least. I think a lot of that happened because I was truly facing myself and learning how to be at peace with myself…ya know look at and accept the bad/negative stuff no one ever wants to face. Together with facing myself, I was trying to let go of a past hurt (a huge undertaking) on top of realizing that what I thought was going to be my future was not making me happy. I was miserable and I was making everyone around me miserable (unintentionally I may add).
I am the person who needs affirmation from others on decisions, on reminding me who I am, lifting me up when I’m down, along with being a verbal processor. But when it came to all the above, I decided I needed to deal with it all on my own. I needed to face myself with myself and no one else, I had to be the one to let go of the past and not talk about it to anyone else, and the whole future part was just too terrifying to even talk about out loud. So not talking about any of that to others brought on another huge change. And when I did share, I felt guilty because I was miserable, probably being slightly annoying as it was the same stuff over and over again, and being a selfish friend. So I found myself sitting in my own misery and depression, not taking steps, realizing things I did not want to deal with, and all alone. It was dark and lonely and necessary. And let’s just say the anxiety was a flowin.
Now that I feel myself on the other side of that darkness, I recognize it was my season. This was my season for change. This was my season for me to sit with myself and find what I’m made of and if those in my life couldn’t see and accept that, then that is on them. I can only do what I can do and control how I communicate and what I say and if that is not accepted, it’s not my fault. That’s another piece of this….I was learning to love myself and be kinder to myself. I couldn’t be responsible for EVERYTHING that was going on around me. That is just not fair to myself and I finally saw that.
As I continue to walk through this transition season, it’s not all perfect and figured out and ya know, that’s OK. These changes can’t happen overnight but I’m taking steps in the right direction. I can finally decide again. I am cutting people out of my life that no longer fit into what is beneficial and healthy for me, I’m taking the steps to follow my dreams of what I see and feel I want to do with my life and most importantly, I’m being kinder to myself. Now that the fear isn’t paralyzing me anymore doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to have moments or that the anxiety doesn’t rear its ugly head. Anxiety is something I’m always going to face and have in my life. And I’m OK with that. Nothing is going to “fix” it or make it go away. It doesn’t make it bad or me a failure of a person. It’s part of me and I’m finally at peace with that.
So back to this week….the bigger picture became too much for me to deal with again. Was I really supposed to be doing this? Could I get into grad school? How was I going to do on the GRE? Where am I supposed to be going for grad school? Will I make wrong choice and end up miserable?????
I talked with my dear dear friend who gets the feelings I’ve been having and can give me a different perspective. She told me that since we are black & white thinkers—things are either one way or another, there is no gray….that can lead us to be paralyzed in decision making. We see choices as right or wrong instead of choices leading us down one path or another. There is no perfect decision because we will never know the unknowns. We can only do what we can do and make the best decision in the moment and that no matter what, it will turn out OK. All decisions will have bumps in the road….nothing will be easy but if we choose a path that doesn’t get us to where we want to go, doesn’t mean we failed. We just took a different route. I struggle a lot with failure as well & her sharing all this with me gave me a perspective I don’t have most days. It clicked….no decision is perfect….any decision will be right for where you are meant to be….and that gray is OK. Being in the gray world is OK. It was empowering for me to hear and accept that. All we can do or concern ourselves with is what is right in front of our faces. And when it comes to my future, I can only do what I can do now and the best I can and trust that everything will work out how it’s supposed to and that if things don’t go as I want, I’m not a failure.
This season has been anything but easy. I’ve really fought off a lot of inner demons that have held me back for a long time. Worrying so much about what was or what could have been inhibited me greatly. This week has reminded me it’s ok not to have it all figured out and setbacks and moments are perfectly normal and acceptable. It’s also reminded me how far I’ve come and that alone is encouraging and empowering. Me alone recognizing that my anxiety is heightened is a step. I’m shedding so much of who I was and turning into who I want to become and that is amazing and wonderful and makes me feel that joy I have been missing for so long.
I want to take a moment and thank all of the people in my life who have gone through this with me whether they knew it or not. For the kind words, the understanding, the love they showed me. I will never forget that or how knowing I had you in my corner during those darkest days saved me. Life is not meant to be lived alone and I’m blessed to have some pretty amazing people in my life.
I’m shedding the old Katie and no matter what happens, I still firmly believe, it all happens for a reason, even the “bad”. Gray is good. Gray is life.
Kyle Johnson“Wherever you go, there you are.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn We’re all searching for meaning, all searching for answers, all searching for ways to make sense of the paths we’re walking, the bodies we’re inhabiting, the lips we’re kissing. We’re all longing to understand, to know, to feel, to find who we are and the…
deep breaths are extremely powerful. and I didn’t realize how powerful until a couple of days ago. really breathing through pain and uncomfortable moments has a profound impact on the brain, heart, and soul.
you see, I’m still on this journey to let things go. let the past go. let the pain from the past go. forge something new….a new attitude, a new perspective, a new outlook, a new feeling on the inside. It feels impossible some days…some days I would rather curl up in a ball on my couch and let the world pass by me. Some days the energy to change just feels too much and it’s easier to sit in my old ways. However, I have learned this week that I need to give myself a real chance to be different, do different, think different, treat myself different. If I can start to treat myself with the love I treat those I love most, maybe things really would be different & maybe, just maybe, I would treat others with even more love than I feel I do now.
I have spent enough time beating myself up… not trusting my own decisions & feelings and losing my sense of self. I have worried so much about what everyone else thinks about me, my choices, my behaviors, that I have lost a huge part of who I am. I believed myself to be strong & independent but I was not living that way at all. And it’s OK that I wasn’t. It’s OK. Everyone has their seasons of this I feel…it’s human nature to care what other people think about you. It’s natural to want to have the desire to make others happy. But I have learned it’s most important to make yourself happy regardless of what the rest of the world is telling you. You have to find it within yourself to be happy with whatever season your in and wherever you are sitting. You have a voice. You have a powerful, beautiful, strong voice. Use it. Use it for good. Use it to create for you. Living in fear (whatever fear may look like to you) does not serve you. It holds you back from being your full beautiful powerful amazingly wonderful self. Don’t let the opinions or thoughts of others hold you back. Don’t let the negativity that surrounds you, hold you back. Breathe through it all and let go and trust yourself. (and honestly, as I type you….I’m really talking to myself here.)
It’s OK to have been in this season. It’s OK to have challenges and struggles of self-identity and with who and where you put your value. The important part is that it has been identified now and you have the ability to change this. You don’t have to stay in the same place. I have struggled with the ability to change but I can change too. I’m more than capable and the possibility of creating something and someone new for myself could be the answer to my all of my prayers. God is right there with me and while I don’t always recognize or consciously remember that, I know He’s there….guiding, encouraging, pushing me on with His plans.
You have so much to offer yourself, your family, your friends, the world & you haven’t even tapped into all of it yet. You are capable of any and everything and moving on from the past and seeing it as learning experiences and what you needed at that time to get you to where you are now. Forgive yourself and others will continue to help clear and pave the way for where you’re supposed to be going and who you’re supposed to be.
Breathing through the release of letting go….just breathing…..shed the old and trust in God and yourself to create something amazing. Just breathe, it’s all going to be OK.