Acceptance is the Answer to All My Problems

Being tolerant is really tough.

I can’t lie- it’s my natural state to isolate or avoid people I don’t like.  When I’m in a situation that isn’t pleasant, I usually find a way to change it.

Why else do you think I’ve moved so many times these past 11 years?

(In case you didn’t know, it’s a lot- I’ve lived in 7 different states and in seemingly endless apartments.)

Today I am learning to accept things as they are.  I don’t have to like them, but I do need to learn a new way of thinking in order to be content.

My first reaction to an unpleasant person or situation is to run away, but I don’t have to do that anymore.  Today I am free to just be.

It might be uncomfortable, but it’s a relief to know that I don’t have to run away.

Hiding Behind the Skyscrapers and Dreams

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The beginning of the end of my New York era begins with a weekend in Hoboken.

Ah, memories.

It’s hard to believe it’s been two whole years since that Memorial Day.  It was my third time in New Jersey, second time in Hoboken, and first time eating a Taylor ham sandwich.  I had a week-long relationship with a Jersey boy, who had me over for a Memorial Day celebration which I ultimately ruined thanks to showing up late, drinking too much, and then sleeping through dinner- where I was supposed to make scallops.

Oops.

After two days across the river and one final goodbye to the Jersey boy, I took PATH back to the city on a bright Sunday morning, feeling empty inside.  Going home to no one, clueless as to what I would do with myself for the next two days, I immediately walked into an Astoria bar after taking the below picture.

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I hid my pain well- unless you were one of the few who saw the way I lived my life.

Although I was smiling in that photo, inside I was in pieces.  At that point I was almost ready to face myself and stop hiding behind the hustle and bustle, drinking and dates- but not quite.

New York is an easy place for dreamers to hide- but when those dreams are broken, it’s time to live in reality and create new ones.

I’m feeling grateful this Memorial Day to be able to make peace with my past.  I’m also grateful to finally say goodbye to the old Kristin- the Kristin who was so scared and alone.  The girl who ran toward comfort yet pushed it away.  The girl who wasn’t sure what she wanted, and didn’t know if she would ever find out.

The Jersey boy couldn’t fix me.  He wanted to try, but it only lasted seven days.  A job, apartment, friend, family member, or therapist couldn’t fix me, either.  I had to step out of the skyscraper shadow, look in the mirror, and fix myself.

and I am so glad I did.

“Manhattan. Sometimes from beyond the skyscrapers, across thousands of high walls, the fearful cry of a too-well-known voice finds you in your insomnia in the middle of the night, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island of un-reality.”

-Albert Camus

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What Inspires Change?

Last night’s book club was a success!  Although I took the wrong bus to Arlington (silly me), I serendipitously got off at Spy Pond, a place I often frequented when I lived in the neighborhood.  It was a good omen to remember how far I’ve come this past year, and how much has changed- inside and out.  The sun shined on the bright blue water, and I legitimately enjoyed my mile-long walk in the freezing cold.  Ah, what a time to be alive.

Once I arrived, I was greeted by Clarissa the cat and a basket of slippers. “The Nest,” my first home in Boston, is lovingly referred to as “the house of healing hearts-” and it lives up to the name.  There’s no warmer, cozier house full of hospitality and love.  Brenda certainly makes anyone in her home feel like it’s their own, and I will forever be grateful for The Nest being one of my first Massachusetts experiences.

Brenda was cutting up veggies and cheese when I arrived, and soon after April strolled in.  An all-around inspiration, April is an emotional health consultant and author- and after reading her book last year, I became much more aware of my own shift in consciousness.  One of her Facebook posts even inspired me to write this piece last summer.

One by one, ladies showed up to discuss the very appropriate book of the night: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.

Although we didn’t have many negative things to say, some of the ladies felt it was repetitive, a bit entitled, and wondered why someone our own age was at liberty to give us advice.  I played devil’s advocate, however, and chimed in:

“Isn’t it better to learn these things now than much later in life?  Think about how many people in this world who will never learn these simple concepts.  They carry on, miserably, forever giving far too many fucks.”

Most of the girls agreed with me.  Sure, much of the book was full of common sense, but as many of us know, common sense is not so common.

We discussed the ornery coupon queen to the narcissistic serial entrepreneur who never accomplishes anything.  We talked about how the smallest things, such as a 30 cent coupon, could ruin someone’s entire day- because the coupons are what has meaning to that particular person.

Then, we carried on to discuss what has enough meaning in our lives to make the suffering worthwhile.  That was a very interesting question- what is worth fighting for?  What isn’t worth giving a f about?  Why would make ourselves suffer due to things that don’t even have meaning in our lives- such as traffic, a coworker giving you a weird look, or what your third cousin thinks of your new boyfriend?  Why do we search for problems when everything is perfectly fine?

My favorite quote in the book was this:

“Suffering is nature’s agent for inspiring change.”

That’s a very interesting thought.

Two years ago, everything was seemingly fine in New York City.  However, shit hit the fan very quickly- I watched it all crumble within a couple of weeks that July.

If my life would had been as wonderful as I hoped for it to be prior to moving to Boston (I think I was in denial that it ever was wonderful in New York), I never would have ended up here.  Had I not struggled, I wouldn’t have had the courage to make that big life change.  Had I not failed at what I thought I wanted, I never would have been lead into a completely new direction- one that gives me purpose, inspires passion, and has meaning.

Finally.  Meaning.

Prior to moving, I didn’t just have discontentment with my outside situation- it was mostly within myself.  As soon as I began to take ownership of who I was- not who I was trying to be- things began to get better.  Sure, I suffered through the uncomfortable moments of being myself- which inevitably pushed people who weren’t in alignment with me away- yet once the suffering was over, my life began to clear, and I was able to begin building again.

Thinking about the first few months of writing this blog is truly mind-boggling to me.  I was feeding myself a plethora of information- from self-help books to endless YouTube videos, I wrote every single day during 2017, still trying to figure myself out.  I blogged, I journaled, I painted.  I created a couple of other websites and came up with new ideas.  I worked a few different jobs.  I spent the year re-learning who Kristin is.

Although the growing never ends, I’m glad my suffering has.  Sure, we’ll always face both minor and major struggles along the way, but the hard part- the caterpillar trying to break out of the cocoon- is over.  I’ve finally broke out of the trap I created for myself, saw the light, and found my wings.

Returning to The Nest brings back all kinds of old feelings- relief, a sense of acceptance, feeling loved, and most of all, starting to finally love and accept myself.  The “house of healing hearts” certainly helped me get back on my feet, and I wholeheartedly agree with Mark Manson- “suffering is nature’s agent for inspiring change.”