This song is incredibly meaningful for me to post because today, if someone asked me “What’s new?,” I could reply with a resounding “yes!” Today, I’m starting a new job (and hopefully one day, career) in healthcare administration. The road to this day has been the most treacherous journey of self-loathing, self-discovery and self-acceptance that I have ever gone through. Physically, I came out of this dark tunnel 15 pounds lighter, stronger and a year older. Mentally, while I still have a long way to go, I am at a place where I am more open to change, and more understanding of the fact that life is never (ever) going to go the way I expect it to. Emotionally, I’m still working on coming to terms with my personal flaws and shortcomings. However, I’ve slowly begun to acknowledge that they will always be ingrained in me as a part of the person I am. And if anyone has a problem with me or the way I live my life, they do not belong in it. It’s been a big growing up year for me to say the least.
In 2015, I was a very different person. I was sad, lethargic, bored, overwhelmed, overweight and all around over life. I was laid off from a soul-sucking job in a soul-sucking company. As a highly-educated, college graduate, I could not come to terms with the fact that I had to apply for unemployment. Obviously I applied, but I was embarrassed and ashamed. I was mad at myself for letting it get to that point. While I had no control over the outcome of that particular situation, I felt I made a mistake in college-that I should’ve chosen another major. Why did I have to choose communications? What does that even mean? Where do I go from here? I applied and applied to countless jobs and maybe a handful, if that, contacted me. I interviewed for even less than that and wasn’t offered anything. Who the hell were these employers hiring? I felt completely lost without a map in sight.
Aside from not having a job, I was constantly comparing myself to all of my friends who were already married and now having babies, getting tenure and buying houses. They were all settling down and here I was jobless, boyfriend-less, apartment-less and overall clueless. It was one of the worst times of my life. I felt that I had no purpose, that there was no point for me to be in this world. I even went so far as to wonder why I was born. What good could I possibly bring to anyone or anything? It got severely dark inside my head… Still does.
I thought I had hit rock bottom and yet I found myself falling even more. How was that even possible or logical? Well, I discovered that rock bottom is more like a large black hole that can suck you down and down and down if you don’t do anything to at least try to change your current situation. So one day, that’s what I did. One day, I made the decision to stop applying for jobs in the music/media industry and try something else. Even if I wasn’t getting paid I wanted to go some place where I could be useful and feel that there was a reason to wake up and get out of bed. So I applied for a volunteer position in the behavioral health department at a hospital. And I got it.
I have always been interested in psychology and mental health having personally battled anxiety and depression since 2009. I assumed I’d have to go back to 10+ years of schooling to work in this field but upon volunteering, I realized I don’t have to be an actual psychologist. I don’t even have to work directly with patients. I could utilize my current office and administration skills and pick up new ones within this specific field as I go along. And that’s what I did. It’s what I’m continuing to do. I’m not going to lie and say that luck didn’t play a part in it. Luck always plays a part in it. But I think everyone deserves a little luck every now and then, especially after putting in the hard work.
Today, I can honestly say that I am in the process of coming back from one of the darkest, loneliest places a person can go. At the end of the day, while there are so many things I thought I’d have in my life by this age, I am proud of the woman I am right now in this moment. I may not fully understand her, and I may not even fully love her yet, but I respect her more than ever.
My individual path is not straight. It is not traditional. It is not a fairytale. I’m not the girl who stands tall with confidence. I’m not the girl with the corner office. I’m not the girl who gets the guy. I’m not the girl who knows what to say or when to say it. But you know who I am? I’m the girl who is always there for her friends. I’m the girl who is completely in love with her family. I’m the girl who will always forgive those who have hurt her. I’m the girl who wakes up every day with the full knowledge that she may never wake up next to someone who loves her and still goes out and does actual things… That’s who I am.
My path is winding. It is lined with rejection, insecurity, failure and heartache. There are dark forests filled with my fears and many, many ghosts lingering about. Yet recently, I’ve been noticing small yet significant changes to this path of mine. Patches of courage. Blossoms of inspiration. Echoes of laughter. And gratitude. Streams (and streams!) of gratitude. I’m starting to enjoy the twists and turns. But it got me thinking…
Maybe it wasn’t the path that changed after all.
Maybe it was me.