• Kenzi

How to Let that Sh!t Go

Three blog-less months later, I'm back!

To say these last three months were a transitionary period for me is a bit of an understatement. I mean, if graduating from film school wasn't enough to make me question my life, then graduating from film school into a global pandemic sure was. While I definitely can't blame everything on COVID, dealing with it for six months has proven that life really doesn't stop kicking you just cause you're down. I'll spare the details, but my point is that recently there's been a lot of external things in my life that have forced me to take stock of the internal. All this time alone has helped me realize just how far I am from the person I thought I would be by this point. It's been a lot of questioning my life and my choices and trying to understand what exactly's leaving me so unsatisfied.

The entire process has been super alienating, on top of still being physically isolated. Without the usual distractions of work, friends, and the outside world my brain has been going through it, to say the least. My anxiety disorder met up with imposter syndrome and then they invited post-grad existentialism to the party. I was spiraling, unhappy, and could no longer motivate myself to take the same steps I had when I'd felt this way in the past. I stopped being able to distinguish between the things I wanted to do and the things I felt I had to do because so-and-so was doing them, and they seemed happy.

These kind of thought patterns started to really screw with how I was relating to others. And so it goes, I stopped knowing how to show up on this blog. The more time that passed between my last post, the surer I felt that I was a fraud, incapable of doing anything as simple as maintaining the blog I started (mostly) for fun. I wasn't writing, I wasn't creating, and I wasn't taking care of myself; not only did I feel like crap, but I also no longer felt like an authority on any of the topics I used to post about. I touched on imposter syndrome, and I want to say for the record that I don't use that term lightly. It's something that not only completely messes with your head, but (as I've experienced it) can also leave you feeling powerless to take any steps forward. And more often than not, it's accompanied by a slew of intrusive thoughts: What's the point of doing something I'm not good at? Why should I embarrass myself in front of these people who have it all figured out? Do I even have a purpose in life, after all? And so on.

How do you battle something that insidious? For me, it was a lot of soul-searching and a lot of changing the lens through which I view my life. I had to ask myself some tough questions and start challenging the beliefs that have been holding me back. I also had to learn to forgive, both myself and others. During this time off from blogging I learned that personal growth is rarely a pretty or straight-forward process. It's not some neat and tidy thing like, "This dot is where you start and this line is recovery and this dot is where you're all better." The actual healing process is more like five different dots placed along a line made entirely of loop-de-loops. There's not always a clear path, and there's no instruction manual. Everyone is different.

I started working from where I was at and now here I am: a couple self-help books, many, many guided meditations, and a much needed break from social media later. I still may not have all the answers I was looking for, but I can confidently say that I'm getting closer. So if you're looking to make major changes of your own, let me tell you that the place to start is forgiveness. Even if you don't mean it at first. Even if you don't think you/she/he/they deserve to be forgiven. Because you don't offer forgiveness to benefit others- you do it to benefit yourself.

If you're serious about making a change, look to all those things you've suppressed or beat yourself up for or beat someone else up for. All those secrets you pray never get out. All those memories you cringe at right before you fall asleep. All of that is step one. Learn to forgive your circumstances, your mistakes, and the people who have wronged you. Get clear on the image of you who want to be, then look back at your life and ask why you aren't there yet. Look past the pretenses to start being honest with yourself and others. This is how any of us can create a life that we actually want to wake up to every morning. First we've got to clear out all the bullshit and choose to let go of what came before. It's never going to be easy to make that kind of choice for ourselves, but it's always going to be worth it.

Really this is just my wax poetic-y way of saying that I'm determined to revive this blog. And that I want to do it in a way which feels genuine to me. I want to finally show up on this blog as the person I am, rather than the person I project myself to be. So from here on out, that's my promise to anyone reading this. And in the meantime, all I can do is hope you stick around for this next chapter.

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   © 2020 by Kenzi Vaughan