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.
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.