It has been eight months since I put “pen to paper” and wrote on this blog. I only wrote consistently on the blog in the first place for about eight months. It seemed so much longer than that. The blog was a tool that got me through a serious transition period in my life. At the time, I was unwinding some identities, habits and frankly some unhealthy relationships. My whole point in starting the blog was to serve women, right where they are, right where their feet are planted. When I look back on the first eight months of writing, I realize the blog served me as much as it served anyone else. It served me right where I was, right where my feet were planted. It gave me a tool to process how I was feeling. Luckily for all of you, I didn’t share publicly all of those feelings. That would have been a lot.
It’s been about 18 months since I left my corporate leadership gig and restarted my life and around the same time, the blog. I’ve done a lot of work redefining myself personally, or maybe it’s more of a coming back to myself process. I’ve also redefined myself professionally, more on that later. For the most part, I have a new rhythm and routine. I have a new normal. My new normal energizes me and calms me down. That dichotomy is one that I cherish. My new normal is like a security blanket and a one-way ticket to adventure land. I’m so thankful. I’m able to show up to my life the way I wanted to, fully. I’m able to participate the way I wanted to, fully.
The thing that surprised me the most over these last 18 months is how much capacity I have right now to learn new things. The learning doesn’t come from one specific location, not just from my professional endeavors, although I learn a lot in that space. It’s not just new personal learnings or hobbies – although I’ve pretty much mastered homemade sourdough bread (if you’re a fan, let me know and I’ll make you a loaf). The learnings are not just from books, virtual classes or seminars, but I’ve treated myself to all of those types of learnings as well. I’m learning the most just from doing – I actually have time and bandwidth to do new thing. And the secret… because my brain isn’t stuck on a specific set of professional puzzles, I have more capacity to pay attention while I’m doing the new things. I hope that makes sense. Have you ever been in a season where you’re noticing this too?
As I was thinking about this blog, and how I want to use it this year, if at all. I realized that I just want a place to capture the things that I’m learning. Not because I think all of you need to learn these things too, you probably already learned these things. It’s definitely not because I think I have knowledge or wisdom that is unique, although that would be cool. I want to share my learnings simply because it puts me in a posture to keep paying attention to the gift that learning is. Meet me back here from time to time if you’re interested in my year of paying attention to what I’m doing and learning.
One of the things that I’ve learned and had to relearn over the course of the last 18 months could be one of the most profound lessons for me personally. I’ve already alluded to it above. Unwinding identities that no longer serve you is really important work. In the end, shedding these identities will always bring you closer to yourself. These identities might have been the right fit for a season. They may have never been the right fit.
The hard part is getting still enough to know or remember who you are. It’s also about knowing what was projected on you over time. This process is like paper mâché’. Do people still do paper mâché? I might be aging myself right now. For those of you who didn’t have a craft activity book in the 1980’s to help you fill your time, you just need to know that paper mâché was the “it” activity. Taking on identities that aren’t for you is a little like the paper mâché process. It’s the small, sticky sheets of wet plastered paper that stick to you. One piece of paper does not a paper mâché project make. But when you apply these small papers, one at a time, over and over, it eventually covers the original piece. Over time, the plaster creates a shell. You literally have to break through the shell to find the original piece of art. That’s how it feels when over time you take on an identity that wasn’t for you. You eventually have to do the work to break through the shell. In the end, breaking through identities that no longer serve you will always bring you closer to yourself. It will always bring you closer to your values.
“In the end, breaking through identities that no longer serve you will always bring you closer to yourself.”Elena Beckius, Encourageherelena.com
One of the things that was confusing was that some of the identities were things that made me feel good. They made me feel like I accomplished something. They stroked my ego. They made me feel important. They also made me tired. It’s tiring and eventually really awkward to walk around in the world with plastered identities all over you. You try to reconnect back to yourself when you have a moment, only to realize there isn’t enough time to break through the plaster – you surrender to do it later. In the end, these extraordinary identities took more from me than they offered in return. I craved the beauty and simplicity in the ordinary, original identities.
I think about the uncomfortable process of shedding identities, and then the equally uncomfortable process of rediscovering the original piece. It’s like reconnecting with an old friend. It feels so good. And, let’s be honest, it’s a little awkward. It won’t be too long before you’re right back to where you left off, but it takes some time. It also takes some trust. I think I needed to learn to trust that being myself was enough. I was always enough. You are too. No matter where you are, you are enough. If you need to break through the shell of identities that world gave you, do it. What you will find underneath is beautiful.
I see you. I love you. I’m cheering you on.
P.S. For my Twin Cities lady friends, are you in a season where you want to spend some time coming back to yourself with other like-minded women? On February 25th, The Hive Exchange has an amazing event just for you in Minneapolis. Check out the link below to learn more. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/self-love-saturday-tickets-519060723597