I wrote a blog post roughly a year or two ago about different phases of life. I’m sure if you stalk me hard enough, you’ll be able to find it.
Tonight, I was scrolling through some old pictures, and was reminded of that idea: In any given lifetime— you live a ridiculous amount of lives.
One minute you’re dependent, and the next you’re exploring the boundaries of your freedom. One second you hate school, and three years later you can’t get enough of learning.
Life is nothing but constant and recurring change.
Sometimes the change is slow, and other times it’s so fast that you get swept away.
Five years ago, at 18:
I was just about to enter University. I was starting rehearsals for Stage Door and coming to terms with the fact that I was no longer in love with my first boyfriend. I had just gotten hired as a Help Desk Consultant, and was getting ready to start training in August— slightly apprehensive and unsure about whether or not I could balance a 25 hour work week with 16 credits and rehearsals/performances for about 3 hours each night through September.
Spoiler: with a regular prescription of espresso four times per day to treat my two hours of sleep— I did it.
But I got myself stuck in an awful situation because of it.
Four years ago, at 19:
I was depressed and apathetic and I took more risks than I should have, playing the role of ‘home-wrecker’ on a fairly regular basis— though I wouldn’t take back any of it. I was the thinnest I’d been to that point, only due to the fact that I was too anxious to eat. I delved into creative work to free myself, and after directing an award-winning one-act play— a theatre company asked me to run tech for their upcoming show.
Spoiler: My decision to run lights and sound for that show changed the course of my life completely. After meeting one of my best friends— I was thrown into the world of swing dancing and jazz, and embraced it with a slight obsession. I fell in love with the music and the movement, the people and the smoky atmosphere they created— and most importantly because of it: I found myself again. I learnt what I needed in order to be strong enough to leave my abusive relationship.
Three years ago, at 20:
I was still dealing with the fallout— entirely worse for the wear. I was settling back in at home, and my anxiety was in full force. Panic attacks were constant byproducts of driving and of being at school. I couldn’t stand the thought of running into my abuser on campus, and couldn’t cope with the mental health issues I was dealing with because of the situation I had spent nearly two years in. Swing dancing was my saving grace.
I could learn to save myself, and I would. I was going back to theatre, full force. No stops.
Spoiler: That didn’t last too long.
Two years ago, at 21:
I finally made the decision to change my major to Theatre Education, and to deny my position in the Acting BFA program that I worked my ass off to get into. Two years ago, I was actively ignoring someone who would become one of my closest friends and was hung up on a guy who wouldn’t give me the time of day. Two years ago, I started the process of reclaiming my body and learning to control it.
Two years ago, I learnt what it was like to have a close group of friends that you’d do nearly anything for. People who support you just because you exist in their world, too.
Spoiler: That hasn’t changed. I might be a shitty friend at times— but I’d take a bullet for most of them if it came down to it. But… maybe someplace where it wouldn’t kill me. I’m not very keen on dying.
Last year, this time at 22:
I decided to pursue writing. Last year, I was clinging onto a relationship that I knew had
an expiration date from the start. Last year, I had no real intention of going back to school to finish my degree. I fell out of love with theatre, and was disillusioned by the educational system. I lost all of the confidence I’d worked so hard to build, and I’d lost control of everything.
Last year: I was spiraling.
A year ago, I drank. I drank a lot.
I’m talking a bottle and a half of wine in one sitting, multiple days per week.
Last year at this time, I was angry, sad, depressed, lonely, fat again and I had no clue what I was going to do with my life.
I felt stuck, and cornered, and closed off. The life I wanted to live felt impossible, and nothing I ever did was good enough.
I wasn’t good enough.
Now— I’m none of those things.
I’m confident and I’m happy. My ambition is in full force, and I have the work to show for it. I’m brazen and fearless, and entirely the person I want to be.
This year: I am a writer. I am an adventurer. I am a learner and a maker and a doer. I’ve
learnt to put myself and my goals first. I’ve learnt to remove myself from situations that only serve me negatively. I’ve learnt that sometimes you need to distance yourself from the fire, and trust that whoever started it has an extinguisher.
I’ve learnt to say yes to things that might have seemed too risky and inane to even my 2013 self.
I’ve abandoned the thought that anything is impossible— because nothing really is. Everything and everyone starts somewhere. Where you start or when you start doesn’t matter as long as you buckle down and do the work.
Do the things that you’ve been putting off. Put your life first. Take the risks that entice you— the ones that seem absolutely insane and improbable.
Make sure that each life you live—each chapter in your book—is something that you’d read over and over, again and again.
No matter what: Things have a funny way of working out for the better.