How do you ease yourself into the shoes of someone you haven’t met yet?
I’ve been on a self-love journey for just over four years now, although I feel like I’ve climbed through many chapters until I landed at this page.
This year has been very different from the rest, not because it has been easy, it hasn’t, but simply because this was the year I put the lessons learned into practice.
At the start of 2017, a group of friends and I booked ourselves into a hotel and spent the next 24 hours reflecting on 2016 and planning for the year ahead. We spoke about love, family and aspirations for the future. We identified the areas we needed to focus on as individuals. We advised each other of the steps we needed to take to move forward, each word uttered with the weight of love and understanding. It was powerful and set the tone of this year beautifully.
The best advice I received at that time was to Be Brave. It’s just two words but they have been the driving force behind so many decisions this year. I used to think I was fearless but then I realised I fear a lot. I fear the worst, the best, the in-between, I fear it all. But to be brave means to push on regardless and that is exactly what I have been doing.
But as I delve into this level of bravery that I doubt existed before, I am changing. I am letting go of negative mindsets, toxic friendships, unloved projects and triggering circumstances as I move towards the woman I am becoming.
Parts of it feels uncomfortable, I’ll admit. The new experiences that come with the new-me demand I get used to them, that I embrace them in spite of the anxiety, in spite of the worry that I am not ready for this chapter. But didn’t I ask for this? Didn’t I do my inner work so I could choose this over uncertainty, false hope and false promises from fuckboys acting as fine men?
I know I deserve this goodness, but this newness is so new. It feels like brand new shoes that look nice but pinch your toes until you wear them often and wear them in, confident that you will break down the awkward stiff surroundings and soon ease with comfort into your new steps.
That’s a little like me at the moment, and how do I cope? With the breathing exercises I learned about eight years ago in an antenatal class. Funny how these things become useful long after childbirth. Perhaps it is right in a way, I am giving birth to a new life, a new chapter, new version of me and it simply cannot be rushed. To force this birth of the woman I am becoming is to create unnecessary risk and injury. I must take my time, follow her lead, be patient and focus on the outcome.
No matter the levels of discomfort and pain I will experience throughout this process, the gift of life at the end will be worth it.