I'm freestyling this one so bare with me y'all. I hope April has been good to you. It has been beyond amazing to me. It's been every single, solitary good thing I deserve. If you don't know, I turned 25 on April 16th and had an amazing time being celebrated and celebrating myself. My parents came to visit, marking my Dad's first time flying over the ocean. My siblings came to visit, marking my brother's first time leaving the USA. I heard from everyone I hoped to - everyone I might have been upset had I not. I felt and still feel an outpouring of love.
I do a lot of self-work all the time, but especially in the months and weeks leading up to my birthday. With this one being such a milestone, let's just say my brain was working in overdrive. Shoutout to my mom and therapist for riding those waves with me.
Turning 25 was not only a momentous occasion because I'm now a quarter of a century old, but because it gave me space to stop and smell the roses. Space to realize I am exactly who I hoped I'd be at this age. Space to reflect on all the dreams I had for my life at this point coupled with the realization that I achieved them all. I get to dream new dreams and walk into this new chapter healthy, grounded, and with clarity about not only who I am in this moment and how I got here, but in what I'm continuing to work towards and how it fits into the bigger picture of what I feel my life is called to be about.
If you follow me on Instagram then you'll notice that the subject line for this email is a repeat: the life changing magic of showing up. It's of course a play on Marie Kondo's life changing magic of tidying up, and when I first came up with it, I thought it would be used in relation to others. The joy I felt of my parents visiting. How relieved and validated I was by my friends coming all the way to Spain to see me. For a while now, maybe even my whole life, I've based worth in showing up and being shown up for. I took pride in showing up for others, ESPECIALLY when I felt they didn't reciprocate in ways worth mentioning. Look at me, I go above and beyond for people and I'm so much better than them because they don't do it in return. I love him so much even though I have no clue how he feels about me, but that's okay because look at my capacity to feel! RIDICULOUS. I wore it like a badge of honor. I held grudges and resented the people closest to me for all the ways I felt they let me down. I almost disinvited my friends because it was taking too long to work out the details, I was worried they wouldn't actually come, and I just knew I was going to be hurt and upset. I had no faith. (This was all much to their chagrin of course even though I can tell you all the times I feel I've been left in the lurch before. Just being honest. I know love keeps no record of wrongs, I'm working on it. And as my Dad told me when he was here, have lost the ability to play the victim card in this arena now, so here's to being who I am without it. To just standing in love and worth.)
This was a big source of anxiety for me since getting my contract last May. Would anyone visit me in Spain? Of course some of that was immediately resolved because my good sis Ashley booked a flight for the holidays in like August. Still, I wondered and worried if she would be the only one. In the months leading up to my birthday before my parents and friends bought plane tickets, I spent a lot of time discussing how hurt I would be if they didn't come with my therapist. I figured that my birthday would be ruined and my self-worth would be tied to the fact that those closest to me couldn't seem to get to together to make a trip. (Something easy for me, but not as cut and dry for others. I often forget my privilege in areas related to travel). I worked myself into a tizzy about it and had all these doomsday scenarios. My therapist of course admonished me that I was upset about something that might not even happen/hadn't happened yet. She challenged my thinking around why I would be worthless or my birthday ruined if no one came. She forced me to stop and see that ultimately worth and value are inside jobs - nobody can set mine but me. She helped me understand that while it's great if those we say we care about and those who say they care about us show up for us, what really matters is how we show up for ourselves. She talked with me as I worked through why I devalued myself, where I learned that from and admonished me to nurture myself, define what friendship means to me, and forgive myself for the ways I may not have lived up to these newfound definitions in the past.
Still with me?
Turning 25 and taking stock of where I'm at means so much to me because I did the work. I showed up for myself, so everyone else being here was just an amazing bonus. And if they hadn't come, I would have gone to a beach and been just fine.
I moved to Spain to get some space. To hear myself think. To create some buffers. To be alone with myself and figure some stuff out. Because I could and always wanted to. And as amazing as it's been (so amazing I'm hoping for a second year here), it's nothing compared to knowing I can always go home - that home can come to me. That love is not location dependent.
One more thing...
In doing this self-work, I learned that people might be there for me in ways I'm not acknowledging because they don't look like what I think they should or they aren't how I would do it. Part of showing up for myself meant and continues to mean working on releasing expectations. It gives me space to accept what is given without passing judgement. It means I've always got me and don't have to feel let down anymore. It means freedom. I'm better able to just be in relationship. There is less pressure.
I don't want loving me to feel hard. I don't want loving myself to be hard.
The Life Changing Magic of Showing Up.
How can you show up for yourself so you can release others from the expectations of being your be all and end all? So you can get a some freedom? So you can be good regardless?
Start by nurturing yourself and know that's not all unicorns and birthday cake. Sit with the scary stuff that comes up, like I attach myself so hard to XYZ credential because I'm afraid I'm nothing without it. Or, I attach myself so hard to people because I'm afraid to be alone. Or, I don't speak up for myself because I'm afraid of disappointing people and as a result carry stuff that was never mine in the first place.
Call it in. Then, work on being your own best friend. What does that mean? What might that look like?
Take it from me, it's life-changing.
Here's to all 25 on will be. Happy birthday to me. Here's to the life changing magic of showing up - for my damn self above all else. Here's to the work. Here I stand, a witness.
sending you so much love,