It was a fantastic battle going on between my mind and my heart—and I was caught in the crossfire.
Moving into my new apartment I anticipated a period of adjustment—after all, the move came at the end of a roller coaster ride of a year. During the twelve months prior to the move I decided to choose a new career path, take my business in a new direction and eventually work out of my home.
In that same year I had also summoned the courage to end a negative, co-dependent and abusive relationship, survived a near fatal car crash and was at a loss over the changing dynamic of a friendship which was very dear to me.
But I was ready for a clean slate and a new start. I was determined to stand tall and handle all anticipated adjustments. “Change is good,” I told myself. Change had promise. I was daring to imagine a new life.
I expected that while new habits formed, shifting from old patterns to new would mean that I’d be in transition. I knew that transition could be a pretty scary place, as any change brings a degree of uncertainty.
It’s like being on a jetty about to step onto a boat for the first time. There is always a brief moment of hesitation, when you are aware that you’re leaving the familiar for the unknown. It is as thrilling as it is unnerving.
I was ready to surrender to the new journey, expecting that where I’d end up would be somewhere wonderfully amazing and new, and perhaps the place I was destined to be. I knew I had to open my heart and allow any necessary energy shifts that took place in my life, my body and my very consciousness, to simply happen.
To me, my new apartment represented a new beginning: a chance to prove to myself that I learned from all the challenges and gifts (welcome and unwelcome), that the last year had given me, and to really see if I could stand on my own and be happy with myself.
Being somewhat of a control freak, I have a powerful need to be prepared, so I gave myself daily pep talks about letting go and trusting. I knew that fears and doubts and insecurities would emerge and I had to trust and believe that everything was unfolding as it should—but I didn’t.
As the weeks went on I let those fears and doubts creep into my mind and overpower my heart. I let my insecurities get the better of me, and those parts of me that feed off my fears and doubts arrived in full battle gear.
The Judge, the Manipulator, and the Saboteur all shook their heads at me, pointing out that once again I was making mistakes, “You’re not moving on fast enough. You’re not strong enough. You don’t know what you are doing! Why bother trying when you know you are destined for failure!”
I cowered in a corner as all my past mistakes were laid out in front of me. I felt alone, misunderstood, incompetent, scared, small, broken. The Victim and the Coward had arrived. I started to think that my dreams and goals were too big and that I was a fool for going after them.
I told myself that the failed relationships were my fault and that I was a bad person. Then of course the Rebel joined the war, defiantly declaring: “If I’m so bad then hell yeah I’ll be bad! I’ll show you broken!” But the Rebel never hurts anyone but herself, does she?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spend the whole time beating up on myself. I tried to listen to my heart. The parts of me that spoke from my heart—the Rescuer, the Supporter, the Nurturer, the Brave, the Teacher, the Creator—all tried to reassure me that I could make a better life for myself and that I deserved it. They endeavored to calm me: “You are loved. You are protected. You are enough.”
But it was not enough.
All these ‘harmful’ and ‘helpful’ parts of me were talking all at once, shouting and screaming above each other, pulling me this way and that with arguments and counter-arguments. It was a fantastic battle going on between my mind and my heart—and I was caught in the crossfire.
So, looking back on it, I am not surprised that I crumbled. I withdrew. I didn’t want to leave my home. I had trouble focusing and writing. I didn’t listen to music. I didn’t cook. I didn’t paint. I didn’t even prep the studio. I abandoned my yoga practice and couldn’t even meditate. I was indecisive about everything and doubted all my choices. I drank too much wine and smoked too many cigarettes. I spent too much money when I did venture out.
The only thing I didn’t do was stomp my feet and throw stuff, even though I came pretty close. I lashed out at those close to me and imagined myself unworthy of their concern. I had panic attacks. I started making demands: Why should I even bother, with anything! I want to stay home! I want a sign!
I was beginning to get desperate. Acting out, staying in, talking it out, ignoring it all—nothing was helping. I was hitting bottom and had to make a choice. I had to choose Me. I had to fight for Me.
So instead of trying to ignore my fears and mask my insecurities, I decided to consider them. Instead of allowing the “helpful” parts of me to talk out of turn and louder than the “harmful” parts of me, I decided to listen to it all.
Little by little, I allowed myself to feel unsure and afraid that I wouldn’t let myself achieve what I was meant to. I allowed myself some time to mourn for what I’d lost, to feel remorse for mistakes I’d made and to yearn for things that were yet to come.
I allowed myself to feel angry and frustrated and hurt. I learned that these emotions were all part of the healing process and if I tried to run away from them or bottle them up, I’d never move on to the next step: Healing.
So I played Tori Amos and Anna Nalick and had myself some good cries until I was calm. I allowed myself to reach that place of vulnerability, so that I could comfort myself, pick myself up and take the next step. I played my personal anthem over and over and found a new one.
I allowed myself to relax and let go a little. I let myself breathe. You know what happened? I started loosening my tight grip on control. My initial recoil and resistance to change abated and I began to understand my fears and doubts. Spending so much time with them and allowing them to be heard gave me insight into where my insecurities were stemming from. I was able to put them into perspective and face them.
I made the choice to work on understanding this everyday and accepted that I would have to go through these stages over and over again. And I was ok with that. It was an amazing relief coming to that place of understanding. It was also pretty painful. I felt drained and bruised; I was aching from this lesson.
I remember asking: “Why is it called a breakthrough when it feels like a breakdown?” But that was all par for the course—the healing had begun.
Letting go, allowing myself to be vulnerable and learning to understand and love all the parts of me will probably always be challenging, but I am proud of my baby steps and I know that in time dealing with transition in a healthy way will become more natural to me.
In time, I hope to become less afraid to step off that jetty and instead jump willingly over the space between familiar and new, finding joy and exhilaration in all that any new journey has to offer.
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Assistant Editor: Renée Claude/Editor: Catherine Monkman