I just spent the last two hours trying on countless outfits, in search of the perfect birthday look. Nothing felt right, nothing felt like me. While drifting in and out of various chain stores on a Sunday evening, the day before my birthday- the looming weight of another year began to settle around my shoulders. Self deprecating thoughts began to seep into my mind asking the ominous, “what are you doing with your life?” Ah the Quarter Life Crisis has resurfaced (I thought we were leaving him behind in twenty five).
Before this shopping trip, I had had several unsuccessful shopping trips in the past few weeks. Shopping is a vice that usually offers me solace and escapism from other areas of my life but now it just amplifies the fact that I am entering my DUN. DUN. DUN. LATE TWENTIES. My current crisis has been grappling with what’s appropriate for a professional woman my age to wear. I seem to fall somewhere between the Free People floral crop top and the tailored Calvin Klein pantsuit. I texted my sister during the trip and told her that I was having an identity crisis (ha).
Waiting until the day before my birthday to shop for an outfit I’ll need to wear the next day is classic me. I wait until something is so close that the mountain of anxiety I have about the event cripples me, and makes me feel like every area of my life is spiraling out of control (anyone else)?
I think I have always felt comfortable shopping and buying new clothes because these new items that adorn my body have helped me to reinforce the idea that my value is in the way I outwardly present myself to the world. However, I’ve been working really hard to unlearn this (I talk a lot about it here on Don’t Call Me Pretty).
Aside from the shopping trip, I’ve spent the last week listening to my stream of consciousness evaluate what I’ve learned and accomplished in the past year. It keeps hitting me in waves and the recollections come knocking one by one. First it was, “wow I haven’t dated in over a year, I must be wasting my youth, what’s wrong with me?” followed by the more free-spritied side of me who retorted with, “but think of how much you’ve been working on yourself. You’ve worked so hard to heal a lot of past trauma and have learned love and accept yourself.” Followed by, “Aly, you’re almost twenty six years old, how are you STILL living with your parents?” Like I said, this back and forth has consumed me for days and without the distraction of the new season of Las Chicas Del Cable, it probably would’ve driven me bananas. But in those moments of back and forth, I realize that the moments where I learned something proved to stick with me and make me feel the best, so I’m going to list some of what I’ve learned and experienced during my twenty fifth trip around the sun:
- I learned that the only validation that really matters is my own, seeking validation and approval from others – especially a romantic partner doesn’t serve me
- I learned that I should nourish my body instead of always being at war with it
- I learned that my “Soul’s Purpose” is to amplify the stories of women – especially women with stories much different from my own. It’s what makes my heart sing and my eyes fill with water
- I worked really hard on building Don’t Call Me Pretty and started my own small business!! Can’t wait to see where this takes me in the next year!
- I again took on a full time job and learned how to balance working on my own business and other clients all the while working from home
- I learned to forgive (or I am in the process of forgiving) forgiving myself and forgiving others who may have wronged me
- I learned that healing from pain and trauma is not linear and some days are really great and some days are tough and acknowledging how you feel in a certain moment is really important
- I learned to ask for help and to set boundaries
- I learned that it’s okay not to answer texts, emails, calls right away and people who really care about you will understand if it takes a while for your to get back to them and vice versa
- I rediscovered spirituality and a belief/faith that God/Goddess/The Divine exists and really cares about what happens to us
- I got to experience the joy of celebrating my mom’s one year anniversary with her new lungs which was a triumphant win for my entire family
- I learned that loneliness isn’t necessarily a bad thing
- I learned that being vulnerable is being strong and that vulnerability and truthfulness are the foundations for strength
- I learned that in moments where I feel combative, that I need to try and step back from the situation and lead with love
- I learned not to give my time to people who are not dedicated to my growth and mission
- I’m learning that growth is discomfort and sometimes much slower than we’d like
- I learned self love and it’s unconditional and a PROCESS
- Probably the biggest thing I learned during The Shift Retreats which has really been ingrained into my core is how to change my thought process from “Why is this happening to me?” to “What can I learn from this?”
Looking forward to all this next year has to offer. Thanks for coming along with me.