Please welcome our newest guest contributor, “Neyoncé.” She’ll be sharing her journey through her “New Usual” with us. Hope you will follow along with this powerful story of perseverance.
This past year I faced a tragic insurmountable loss in my life, it’s the kind of loss that debilitates you and knocks the wind out of you – leaving you side lined and in a fog during the most pivotal part of the game. For me, this game was my life – my life as a twenty-something year old female in the home stretch of living out her happily ever after (what she yearned for most). For more than 365 days, I lived this loss at varying intervals of sorrow, sadness, pain, anger and agony (ranging from subtle, whiny moping to dark and twisty moments a la’ Meredith Grey). In what felt like the blink of an eye, my well-planned out, on track, cookie cutter life (a la’ Bree Van de Kamp) did a complete 180-degree turn in the opposite direction and into unchartered territory, leaving this type-A, well organized, goal oriented, meticulous 20-something year old in shock and disbelief. The same kind of shock and disbelief that could be compared to that moment when you no longer fit into your favorite ($200) designer jeans (you just bought last month), TIMES 10!! That’s right ladies…you feeling me now?
In the blink of an eye, I lost all sense of purpose, all of my dreams, and worst of all, I lost myself (and I loved that version of myself. I worked hard on her, dammit). Here I was lost, confused and weak, forced to live in a world I hadn’t planned for, let alone imagined, without a map, or a compass or a desire to explore or conquer (And let me tell you I am a big fan of conquering things. My mama taught this little lady to be a BOSS!). One might compare this moment to the loss and insecurity you feel when you’ve left your iPhone (AKA: life line) at home with an 8-hour work day in front of you (but again, in an effort not to minimize my loss and fear, multiply that moment TIMES 100!).
This is where my transition to “My New Usual” life (post D-Day – the day of my tragic loss) started! And because it’s me and I am the type of gal that flips to the back of a romance novel to ensure there’s a happy ending, I can tell you this now – while I can’t say I’ve found my happy ending, I can say that I’ve found my happy new beginning.
My life up until now didn’t always come with the pair of rose-colored Kate Spade glasses or sunny disposition that I am proudly rocking now. This journey was not easy. It was long, treacherous, exhausting and debilitating.
Immediately post D-Day, I pulled together all the strength and courage I could muster (after what felt like days of ugly crying) and decided I’d put my head down, keep my mouth shut and power through the sorrow and heartache that plagued me, alone (some may call this denial – and I am brave enough to say you may be right). Because I’m me. I couldn’t bear the thought of burdening my loved ones with my pain. I also secretly harbored the hope that as quickly as my life turned upside down, maybe I could turn it right side up (and what was the sense in burdening people temporarily). WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! My pain and sorrow only grew deeper and I only grew weaker. After far too many months of enduring far too much pain alone, I realized this wasn’t a battle I could conquer on my own, I needed back up and help (and lots of it).
200 days post D-Day, with each breath, step and day I began the slow climb back to the top (and boy was it slower than molasses). I suffered in this valley of my life way too long and way too alone. This gal had a peak to climb and conquer (but with very little strength and resources). I needed to get back into fighting shape and I needed to start doing the RIGHT things. It is these things that allowed me to heal and allow me to sit where I sit today embracing “My New Usual” life. I’ll be honest because it’s the only way I know how to be – during my climb to the top – some days I didn’t move at all (for days), others I suffered setbacks and very rarely did it feel like I’d taken any steps forward or made progress. But one day I woke up and I was there – I’d made to the top of the peak and my new beginning.
Here’s where I finally went RIGHT:
· I spoke up! I shared my battle with my most trusted Friends and Family (over the course of time and as it felt comfortable). I showed them all my cards – all my sadness, all my pain and all my insecurities. I cried in front of them (and I mean ugly cried) and I lashed out and threw tantrums in front of them (not my proudest moments) – and the best thing they did was be there for me and be human. They listened, they hugged and comforted me, they told me I wasn’t alone, and they shared their stories and words of wisdom with me. I learned more about them, grew closer to them and developed new bonds with them that helped to fill the void that I had lived with for over 200 days and counting post D-Day.
· I saw a Therapist. I learned that I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t crazy, I hasn’t lost myself completely – I was human, going through human emotions and I needed to cut myself some slack and be better to myself.
· I made plans even when I didn’t want to (and had ugly cried for hours the night before). These regularly scheduled commitments forced me to find my inner strength and always left me feeling energized, free and rejuvenated (not always for long, but long enough to give me hope and keep me going back for more). Spin class on Sunday’s with my coworkers helped save me. It showed me my will to push through pain and fight (even if it was just on a stationary bike for 50 minutes, my conquering spirit was coming back).
· I made time for physical activity, whether it was a brisk walk with my pup (another life saver) or a surprise 10K that I hadn’t trained for. Those endorphins did the trick (again, even if the feeling was only temporary, I needed all the good vibes I could get for however long).
· I made time for myself, whether it was a spa treatment with a friend or finding solace in the warm rays of the sun at the beach or a quiet spot on a mountainside.
· I created a new dream to strive for, fixate on and fight for.
For me all the things I learned to do RIGHT evolved from the support, love and wisdom of my trusted Friends and Family. Without them, I wouldn’t have found the courage and strength to tackle the other things I needed to do RIGHT to heal. This is my love letter to them. I am okay now because of you (cue the crying and overflowing heart). And while I’ve spent many hours crying today (writing this post), these tears aren’t out of sorrow, anger or hurt, they are out of happiness and relief that I conquered this tragic insurmountable loss in my life thanks to each of you (you know who you are). I did it, and I can now welcome and experience “My New Usual” life because of you. I hope it’s great and I can’t wait to work on the new me and sharing parts of that journey with all of you.
Neyoncé (part of my healing was a adopting a fierce alter ego. Thanks Queen B!).