Three Years: The Truth Will Set You Free

Three years ago today, I wrote my first post on Mindful in Style.

I had just moved to Boston and was interviewing for jobs.  Blindly moving to a city I barely knew, the guy I had met at a Mississippi treatment center picked me up from Logan Airport and helped me get settled into an Airbnb.  Three years ago today, I was afraid of telling the truth.

Interviewers would ask me why I moved.  “I like it here,” I would say.  “It’s slower paced than New York.”  My story of Boston being a “balance of Michigan and New York” only got me so far, so I would later tell them about the guy who I was “dating.”  People assumed it was a pretty serious relationship, but I smiled and shook it off as being an anchor for getting me to the city.  That was the truth.  I just left out the part about him being a heroin addict who lived with his parents.

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Now back in Michigan, I’m still asked why I moved.  “Why did you live in New York?  What brought you back to Michigan?  What were you doing in Boston?  How was San Francisco?”  It’s as if they have never met someone who wanted new experiences in their 20’s.

I wish I could answer, “I have suffered from anxiety and depression my whole life, accompanied by a drinking problem.  Moving gave me a sense of starting over.  I enjoyed hiding from others, but most of all, myself.”

No, you can’t say that.

I’m so sick of being PC to make other people feel comfortable.

Three years ago, despite writing about my life, telling the whole truth wasn’t an option.  I wanted to appear together and sensible.  I wanted to fit in with the business people of Downtown Boston; the people with their high rise parking spot, kids in private school, and house in the suburbs.  I didn’t want people to see my struggles or to question whether I was a viable candidate, friend, or roommate.

Three years ago, I was still afraid of being me.

My resume isn’t linear, and neither is my life.  I have never been the person who would stay in an unhappy relationship, job, or living situation; I have taken control of my decisions, whether they have been rational or not.  I have done the best I can while coping with old pain, trauma, and insecurity.

Three years ago, I was still willing to fit inside a box that wasn’t meant for me.  I sugarcoated my opinions and the person I was.  I tried to write to appease people, even if it wasn’t for myself.

People often look at me and say, “you couldn’t be an alcoholic.”  I just smile.  For as long as I can remember, I have been a book cover that is continually judged.  They see a smile and red lipstick and assume everything is polished and conventional.

Three years ago, I would have been mortified if a boss or acquaintance saw my blog.  Today, I hope these people do.  I hope they realize that life is much more complex than what you can see on the outside- and that within the book they’re judging is a person who has limitless potential in a world that lives within a tiny bookshelf.

This next year, the year of 2020, I have set an intention to continue to use my voice, live fearlessly, and learn to accept that any judgment is not about me- it’s about the little bookshelf that has yet to expand their horizons.

Being back in Michigan hasn’t necessarily been easy, but this time, I don’t need to change myself- I just need to lose my expectations of what the rest of the world may think.

Here’s to the next three years.

Stop Doing Things You Don’t Want To Do

Did you realize you’re confusing the Universe when you continue doing things that aren’t authentic to your truest self?

Sure, there’s a thing called “compromise,” but why hide your true feelings from others?  You’re not hurting them when you’re dishonest- you’re only hurting yourself.

It may be a job, an interest, or compromising your values.  Maybe you started applying to jobs that pay more, but you’re not passionate about.  Perhaps you told your date you like dogs when in reality you’re 100% cat person.  You may have even agreed with something that goes against your actual opinion.

This used to be me.

I remember going on a Tahoe ski trip with my ex ten years ago.  Although I tried to enjoy the mountains, it wasn’t something I was comfortable with.  I was miserable on any hill other than the greens, and I just couldn’t get into the enthusiasm that the others shared.  In reality, all I wanted to do was sit in the lodge and drink beer.  The trip finally ended with me sitting silently in the car ride home to San Francisco, bitter and resentful, all while my then-boyfriend and friends in the backseat had a great time.

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I love spending time alone, enjoying evenings at home and working on something creative.  Whether it’s cozying up to Netflix or writing, I’m a total homebody.  I used to fight my natural state, though- I used to think I needed to be a social butterfly to be liked or accepted.  Since I’m an introvert, being overly social wasn’t my cup of tea- and alcohol helped to ease my empath tendencies.  I no longer picked up the energy of those around me when I was drinking- but was it really worth it?  Drinking never ended pretty for me, and I did endless things that compromised my morals, values, and who I am as a person.

The moral of this story isn’t to stick it to the man and say “hey!  I don’t feel like going into work today!”  It’s not to defy the needs of other people.  The moral of this story is to remember to listen to your heart.

Do you feel good doing what you’re doing?  Do you feel authentic?  Are you attracting like-minded people?

When you are true to you, the rest falls into place.  I promise.

Vulnerability is Empowerment

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” -Brené Brown

For the past three years I’ve used this blog as a journal to connect with others and document what I’m going through, what I’ve learned, and to share what inspires me.  Today I re-launched mindfulinstyle.com as a place to empower women to feel beautiful, inside and out. Through storytelling, journaling, and discovering your authentic style, my hope is to inspire others to own their story- no matter what other people may say about it.

I wasn’t always comfortable with being vulnerable, though.

For many years, I played chameleon and hid my insecurities.  I wasn’t open and honest about my fears, my alcoholism, and I certainly didn’t know how to own my shortcomings.  I played the victim and avoided people who hurt me- and those who I hurt, too.

Instead of letting the opinions of others get the best of me, I learned to take back my narrative and take responsibility for my past; for my past no longer defines me.  It’s made me the person I am today- the person who has overcome her challenges and is finally living out the life I always wanted to live.

Mindful in Style has helped me feel content in my own skin, and moving home to Michigan has been symbolic of no longer running from myself. Whether it’s helping women find their voice, their passions, or their personal style, I’m excited to see where Mindful in Style can go.