The other day, I talked about some of the toughest steps I ever took… Stepping out of the shadow of myself, and into the light of truly living, was one of the most intense challenges I’ve ever faced.
Do you know how hard our egos and brains hang on to things??
I do! Ho-Ly potaters…
My brain was hanging onto notions of what I had to do to get the things I wanted. I went to all this school & got pieces of paper that proved I was smarter than everybody who made me feel inferior.
Still wasn’t happy.
Did a bunch of other stuff to essentially push people away from the parts of me that were the most vulnerable, tried to prove and prove and prove… prove WHAT exactly, and to whom??
I had invested so much time and effort into stuff that didn’t have the value or payoff I had hoped and/or expected. And I was a miserable, empty, shell of a person because of it. I had missed the target where all that effort and energy should have been directed: inside.
I had to step out of what my ego was telling me. I had to step outside my beliefs about what would make me happy. I had to step away from the brain patterns that no longer served my best interests.
To be honest, I didn’t think I could do it. But I started. Step by step, memory by memory, mental barrier by mental barrier.
And it was a fight. I resisted at every turn, holding onto what I already knew, even though it wasn’t making me happy (because it takes energy to change). The emotional casualties were massive, at first, as I fought to keep the lid on some things I needed to admit to myself.
But, what you reveal, you can heal (as my pal Jhasmin Player tweeted) & I quickly realized that, if I could just… let go of it all… I could begin the re-building process.
I sat down one day & faced myself (with the help of my diary, Bridget Journs). I wrote down the questions I had for my life:
- What makes you happy?
- What’s in your way?
- Who are you when you’re happiest?
- What do you want your life to BE?
It put my The + Life theory into real, fluorescent-lit, practice.
But I had to do it. I couldn’t keep living with the way I felt. So, I let it all go in my mind & got in touch with Who & How I wanted to be. I made the desire to be those things stronger than anything else. I got everything out of the way. Myself included.
And an old picture, with its story, drove home what I had to do:
Just be. Forget all the extra stuff, and “do you, boo.”
And that’s a lesson from my very first steps. It’s hard to tell from that picture, but I had casts put on my legs right as I was learning to walk. As if learning to walk isn’t enough of a challenge…
My calf tendons weren’t growing as fast as my bones (it’s why I’m pigeon-toed), so my feet were pulling inward. So, they slapped hard casts on my legs to hold my feet straight and help the tendons stretch.
My Mimi worried that it’d hinder my growth. I have a vague memory of the sound of the saws they used to cut casts & the palpability of my mother’s concern.
But, as soon as the plaster hardened – *PYOOM* – your girl was outta there!!
Casts or no, there was too much to see and do, too many stuffed animals that needed tea and to learn their ABCs, too many pots and pans that needed my masterful drumming… the desire to live – to do, to enjoy, to be – wasn’t going to take a back seat to any medical device.
With that in mind, knowing I am still that little girl who simply got bigger and learned some stuff, I feel awed… that girl who almost couldn’t walk played volleyball on ESPN… she walked across multiple stages to collect diplomas… she can carry herself to and through anything.
And the first step was realizing that nothing can stop me from going.