It’s taken 5 months, a 5 page running Word Document, 5 days of vacation, and a literal 5 hours sitting here editing down those 5 pages to bring you this:
THE SPARKLE IS WEARING OFF.
By now you’ve probably picked up on the fact that the past year and a half has been tough – to say the least. I buckled down. I lived intentionally. I made different choices. I built a life based on my actual worldview, and overall feel like I’m living rather congruently. It was the hardest season, but I became almost enamoured with building myself a new life, one built on a simplified, holistic day-to-day. I can honestly say that I am incredibly proud of the results of this investment into myself. It hasn’t been easy. Truth is, until the past few months I was so childlike in my pursuit of a healthier, more process-oriented self that I was having a lot of fun with it. Problem was, until the past few months, I was blindly stumbling around in a metaphorical petting zoo a little too long. Long enough that the friggin metaphorical goats ate holes all through my metaphorical corduroy overalls. Let me explain.
Sometime in November I looked down at the corduroy overalls of my life (probably at the same time that metaphorical Brittany also remembered that she has hayfever, ya fool) and realized that the trappings of my life were all torn apart while I was prancing around, living in the moment and petting all the metaphorical animals, and I was sitting there in an exhausted haze, content and happy. I suppose that, to keep with the weirdest metaphor of all time, to some degree, I was sitting there watching the goats gnaw away squeaking “SWEET BABY JESUS, IMMA INSTAGRAM THIS BABY GOAT EATING MY CORDUROY OVERALLS!”
Basically, life has kiiiiiinda felt like it’s in shambles. Good shambles, and shambles of my own making, but shambles nonetheless. I dismantled all the pieces of my life and was left with a blank slate – sans a memory full of experiences and some pretty hefty student debt – as close to a tabula rasa (*sorry for letting my inner sociology nerd out there for a second) as I could get without amnesia or being shipwrecked on an uninhabited island (mind you, CSLSC would probably track me down, leave me there, and message me repayment reminders in bottles that would drift ashore once a week).
After listening to my constant refrains of “but I should be doing better than this! Why can’t I get it together? I’ve done all the things to fix my life!” the counselor at work described much of my recent experience as “psychological whiplash” while asking me to reflect on my instance in doing “all the things”. I’ve not-so-fondly referred to myself as having “having depleted resilience stores”. The difficult year had finally caught up with me, and dairy-free cheesecakes are not half as effective at mood-stabilization as the real shit.
Despite all the intentionality and conscious change I’ve shared about, I lost a lot of myself in this journey of finding myself. It was time to come to terms with the fact that I had yet to mourn the losses – and the past year had handed me a lot of them; friends, jobs, communities, romantic interests, gluten and dairy, 40 pounds, and half my boobs – just to name a few. All of these cuts were good, important, and intentional, but they were still losses.
Once I realized what had gone on over the past year, I began to work through the losses, one cut at a time. Hence the lull in posting. To quote my queen Jane Austen, “I must confess, the view from where I sit has been rather grey.” I’ve been running on fumes – again. In some ways it’s felt like I’m repeating the past year while I wade through the puzzle pieces and reassemble the parts that work while I purge swaths of mental clutter.
Since my last post, I’ve started a brand new job that I’ve fallen in love with. I’m working as an addictions support worker in a recovery home for expecting and new mums and their brand new babies; it’s hard work, but it’s also made work the highlight of my week. When I’m at work cuddling those brand new infants, I often find myself chatting with [at?] them. I almost always hear myself muttering the same thing when I feel the discontentment rise in their tiny bodies: “It’s okay babe; growing is so hard and you’ve got a lot of it to do. We’re all too hard on ourselves when it comes to growing. You go ahead and have a good cry if you need to. I’ll hold your hand, baby.” Each time it kind of shocks me; this isn’t a cognisant thought, it’s like a subconscious love letter to myself.
So, yes, admittedly the sparkle of this adventure has worn off a bit. I’d go as far as to say that my sparkle is a little more dim than usual. But I’m in here – the hiatus is over – and I’m going to give myself a little more room to be creative, particularly in this space, because creativity is where we source our beauty and I root some of my emotional regulation. Ready, set, go?