Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Let It Go (P.S. This is not a blog about Frozen)

Y'all, November is a weird month for me.

Professionally, November is a month of transition. It's a month where I've started two of my previous jobs, and it's also a month where I've left two previous jobs. After I thought through that, it helped me realize why I felt so damn nostalgic and up in my feels lately.

November is also when my wedding anniversary happens. It's a natural bookend to a year, so with that, it also brings up all the reflection.

And then, AND THEN, it's the start of the holiday season. As if all that wasn't enough, everyone feels the need to reflect on the last decade of life rn. Can a girl get a break?!?

After sitting with my feels for the past few weeks, I decided to write it out and see where it takes me. So, hold on for this y'all.

First off, we don't talk enough about the process of leaving and letting go, specifically when it comes to work. Think about how much time we spend asking people what they do, connecting people to their title, and just narrowing our conversations to our professional identity. 

Then, one day we leave that job. One day it's part of our identity, and then it's not. And y'all, there's no process for that. There's no guidance for that. It's just. . . why don't we talk about that more?!?

One of the reasons transition has been weighing so heavily on me is that I realize I have developed some really unhealthy habits. The stuff that I leave with me following a job? It's the worst - literally. I pack up all the criticism, all the stuff I didn't do well, and all the bad days, and I keep a hold on it. And when I say I keep a hold on it, I mean it's this intense death grip.

I didn't fully realize it until we went back to a place I worked and went to school a few weeks back. It's a place that has shaped me in so many ways. However, I also realize I was letting pieces of my time there overpower all the good it has brought to me. When I went back, I realized I had to let it go. This was not the story I wanted to keep, and I had to stop.

So, I did. In that space I know and love, I moved forward. It was lifting a huge weight on my shoulder. I hate that I let it be like that for so long, but y'all, anxiety is a beast, and we continue to fight one epic battle. I know I'm capable of winning, but damn, it's hard.

Reflecting even more, I have realized my tendency to carry the negative stuff is this awful default factory setting. For example, I can recall in vivid detail times I got in trouble in elementary school. One of the most salient moments of this is in fifth grade when I was trying to give helpful information to another teacher. She reported back to my teacher something about how she didn't appreciate how I'd delivered the information. It's been over 25 years, and I still don't understand why she was upset. However, what I do remember is my teacher ordered me to apologize to her. I went to her classroom, knocked on the door, and I immediately started crying. It was mostly confusion and embarrassment. However, why do I continue to carry that with me?!? I'm quite sure those teachers forgot that moment soon after, so why do I continue to let that moment have so much power. I could tell you very little else about my fifth grade year, and there were 179ish other days to remember. 

Typing it, I know this doesn't make sense, and that's what I'm working on.

I let the moments that don't matter overpower the ones that do. I give too much space to the words and actions people say and do that I shouldn't. I care too much about people that don't care about me. 

One of the things I'm actively working (and really actively working because again y'all that anxiety puts up a fight) is embracing compliments. I have realized how easily I love in a space of feeling I need to do more and be more and even questioning the positive feedback I receive. However, when I receive negative feedback I'm wiling to take it and believe it and live with it in my head and heart for an indeterminate amount of time?!? What if I did that with the positive? How amazing would that space be?!?

I'm certainly not saying there's not space for criticism and negative feedback. What I am saying is that I'm done giving it a disproportionate space I'm giving it in my mind. I'm releasing that death grip on negativity, and I'm transferring it to the good stuff. It's been there all along, and I'm diving into it headfirst and as deep as I can possibly go.

I wanted to give space to this today because it's been weighing on me. It's been hard to articulate. I've been talking it through with my husband lately, and it's been hard to get it out of my head. What's even harder is the shift, but damn, it is so very much worth it.

So, stay tuned. I'm letting go of some heavy stuff, but I've also now got some openings for some pretty amazing stuff.