#TBT: 5 Old Habits + How to Endure Growing Pains
GROWING PAINS ARE INTERESTING.
When I was in middle school, I vividly remember running into the locker room one day in the middle of swim practice because my body was aching so badly. I was in tears, leaning against the wall and trying to change back into my clothes. I couldn't extend my body fully without feeling bursts of pain through my back and my legs. After more struggle and tears, I finally got into my clothes, and the pain subsided.
THE DOCTOR BRUSHED IT OFF AS "GROWING PAINS."
I remember feeling so confused, frustrated and dissatisfied with this explanation. I wanted to say: "So I just have to experience random pain at random times and all you can do is give it a catchy lowkey contradictory name? And what, despite the pain, I'm just supposed to be happy that I'm growing?"
My growing pains never stopped.
Sure, I reached my peak at 5'7 - my body is pretty much done growing. But I am experiencing intense spiritual, mental, emotional growth by the day. Since I started this blog, I have made huge strides in my life externally. I changed careers, rearranged relationships, moved and cleared out my living spaces, let go of a lot of baggage, traveled excessively, etc.
I was creating a world conducive to me becoming the best version of myself. this was growth. it was painful. it was uncomfortable. i was stretching myself into the best version of me.
And while I'm so proud of myself for all of these advancements, the internal work has only just begun. the best version of me from yesterday is not the best version of me that tomorrow will require. the internal work is already way more challenging than anything I've endured in the past year. and while i'm constantly growing, the growing pains i'm experiencing right now are particularly painful. My post on Activism, the Imposter Syndrome and my #FlawsAndAll commitment were major breakthroughs, but mostly, they helped me realize that I have barely scratched the surface of the work that I still need to do.
lately, It seems like i spend every day in that locker room with my back against the wall, aching, crying and struggling to endure the pain, not knowing when i'll stop hurting.
but i endure. the pain is a pivotal part of this process.
and all i can do is be grateful.
BELOW ARE THE 5 THINGS I PLAN TO GROW OUT OF BEFORE THIS SUMMER:
1- Preoccupation With Image
I've been talking about this one a lot lately. I have it at the top of this list not because it's the most important, it's just the most salient one to me right now after my #FlawsAndAll trips over the past couple months. I have tackled the whole no-makeup thing head-on, and I plan to keep killing my preoccupation with image. NEXT MONTH, I'll be doing an all-natural hair and nails personal challenge, FOLLOWED BY a minimalist challenge DURING THE MONTH OF RAMADAN, where I repeat five outfits for ALL OF MAY. By the summer, I plan to see significant growth in this area. The person I am becoming does not have the time or energy to be this preoccupied with how I look all the time. As long as I'm clean, kempt, and true to me, all else will fall into place. I NEED to start this platform on the right footing, regardless what shoes are on them.
2- Emotional Dependence
I've made THE MOST SERIOUS strides here, AND IT'S CLEAR IN HOW severely I'VE REARRANGED RELATIONSHIPS. I am becoming so self-sufficient, but I'm not where I want to be yet. I think dependence shows up in such different shapes and sizes, and while I prefer being alone 95% of the time, it's the way I feel in that 5% that really tests me. Am I reaching out to people out of dependence or a simple desire to be around them? Does my loneliness equate to me feeling like I'm not enough in and of myself? Am I really just "checking up" on old friends or relationships, or am I afraid to lose them for good? I have been praying a lot more lately, which is a good sign that the affirmation I believe most strongly in comes from something way bigger than me. I want the rest of my habits to follow suit. I don't want to succumb to any temptations that come along with emotional dependence, because where I'm headed requires full detachment from anything but my purpose.
3- Fixed Mindsets
I pep talk myself all the time. I love that, and I think more people should learn to give themselves pep talks and celebrate small wins right along with the big ones. Personally, I want to get to a point where I need less pep talks. I still have a fixed mindset about a lot of things. I still doubt myself all the time. Deep down inside, I still think i'm stuck in certain ways and habits, that I'm not strong enough to overcome certain obstacles. This needs to change. I want to start seeing myself in the most favorable light, because anything less than that is simply not the truth. I need to start seeing myself for who I am. Once I am able to do that, fixed mindsets and self-doubt will make their way out of my self-portrait - they will know that they simply don't belong.
4- Someone Else's "Goals"
I need everything about me, from my body to my blog and my brand, to be for me and because of me. I'm so tired of allowing myself to be a marionette doll TOSSED into a crowd of strangers. Up until recently, I allowed myself to be pushed and pulled and maneuvered in a multitude of directions, based on what someone else wanted me to be. It wasn't so obvious, because I somehow convinced myself that I was doing those things because I wanted or liked them. The truth is, I wasn't sitting down with myself long enough to learn about what I actually wanted. From now on, i am going to resist, resist, resist in order to make sure that every choice I make comes from my heart. that my decisions aren't being influenced by anyone other than God. I DON'T CARE TO BE ANYONE ELSE'S "GOALS" BUT MY OWN.
This one seems like it doesn't belong because it seems like a quick fix. It's not. I am extremely extreme. I am either meticulously organized, or I get overwhelmed and just lose control. I think this is a libran quality, but there I go again with the fixed mindsets. My disorganization is symptomatic of a deeper emotional issue. Sometimes I don't want to be an adult; I don't want to deal with stressful things; depending on how I feel that day, I would rather run away from tedious tasks than handle them. I've been running away all year, and I finally decided to put my foot down. In order to continue building the world I will live happily ever after in, I need all of my ducks to be in a row. In several rows. Tomorrow, I will be cleaning out my e-mail inboxes, paying off all bills, continuing to clean out personal spaces, and creating a schedule for the month of April. You either plan to fail, or you plan to succeed - no in between.
IN CONVERSATIONS AND PERSONAL REFLECTIONS LEADING UP TO THIS POST, THE TOPIC OF "PAIN" WAS RECURRENT. WHEN I WAS IN THE LOCKER ROOM, CRYING AND STRUGGLING, PAIN WAS PAIN. I COULDN'T CARE LESS WHAT WAS CAUSING IT, OR WHAT IT WOULD RESULT IN, I JUST KNEW I WANTED IT TO STOP. I THINK THIS IS NORMAL. OUR INSTINCT IS TO SURVIVE, AND PAIN ALWAYS MAKES US FEEL LIKE OUR HEALTH OR EVEN EXISTENCE IS UNDER ATTACK.
I'M REALIZING THOUGH, THAT IN SOME CASES, IT IS PRECISELY THE OPPOSITE.
SOME OF US ARE BEING CRIPPLED BY OUR COMFORT. WE ARE SO COMPLACENT WITH THE NATURAL STATE OF THINGS, THAT WE DON'T REALIZE we are practically comatose. and though we are predisposed to protect ourselves from such pain, we were not put on this planet for us to be numb. we were put here to live in our purpose. and in order to do that, we need to start challenging our ways, mindsets, and thought patterns. we need to force ourselves out of our numbness and stretch ourselves past complacency. but, not coincidentally, this is also when we experience irritation and hurt.
WHEN I THINK ABOUT WHERE I WOULD BE WITHOUT THE PAIN, IT MOTIVATES ME TO KEEP GOING.
AND HONESTLY, WITH GROWING PAINS, GOOD THINGS DO COME TO THOSE WHO STAY.