After I published the post about “25 Little Things I Know About Myself,” I started to reflect on how I realized those things. It wasn’t like they just dawned on me one day: there was a process of finding myself that mostly consisted of stumbling down all the wrong paths and finding not myself first.
Can you relate?
Most women who are going through the process of the transitioning into greater alignment share the experience of having started down one path in their early adulthood, and then having a catalyzing moment that causes them to do a bit of an about-face.
I wanted to honour (and laugh at, a little) all of the things I’ve learned about myself in the last decade by reflecting on some of the Shit I Left in My Twenties. Here goes:
- (both the ex-boyfriend and the aesthetician)
- Feeling like I should enjoy going out drinking and dancing just because other people do.
- Likewise, feeling like I have to explain myself and vouch for my own mental health when I want to stay home with my books.
- High heels.
- Uncomfortable bras. People, I just realized an embarrassingly short time ago that I could wear sports bras every day if I wanted to and it was a goddamn revelation.
- Traditional models of success. I am a recovering premed student turned recovering academic turned recovering policy analyst.
- The idea that sacrifice and surrender were horrible words that described things I would Never Do.
- A lot of competitiveness. It started to dwindle when I stopped racing triathlons after my daughter was born, and now extends to just about all areas of my life, sports-related and non-sports-related alike. It still surfaces every so often, but usually in fun and lighthearted ways.
- The guy who told me I’d be perfect if only I didn’t have that fat part right there.
- Caring that the former said the latter.
- Ironing slacks.
- Hiding my woo. Like, you know, my crystals and my affinity for oracle cards and psychics, and the things that happen to me when I meditate, or pay attention to my intuition.
- Not reading. Not writing.
- My distaste for the idea of motherhood and what it might do to my life and my body. (well, at least most days)
- Quite a number of Big Dreams. I gave up my dream of being a doctor, and the things I thought that life was going to bring me. I gave up most of the dreams that were associated with an externally-validated marker of status, which is to say, most of the dreams that had me achieving something that could be summed up in the letters placed before and after my name on a business card. Not only that, I gave those things up to be the Cheesiest Thing on The Planet: a life coach.
- Size six. Aaaaaand twelve.
- Many, many fucks about what other people think. (but, sadly, not all)
- My conceptions about how people – specifically me – change the world. My work may not be grandiose and world-renowned, but to me, it is significant.
- Hiding behind my hair.
- Life as an unmarried woman with no kids. I have this sense, now, of a place and a space that I take up at the centre of this hub of the family I’ve both chosen and created on my own. Taking my place here has been one of the most simultaneously love-filled and challenging transitions of my life.
- My ability to tolerate bullshit, including but not limited to excessive drama, misogyny, negativity, gossip, and most of what I see in the media, among other things.
- My fear of losing Who I Am. Because what is there to fear, but Who I Might Become? So far, she’s damn fierce, and getting even better.