A year ago today, I made the decision we both know is necessary.
I said, “This is not enough.”
You may have felt the same, at first in deep murmurs, then from a sort of rhythmic chant that echoes across the high ceilings of your brain. Whether you have simply heard its thumping in your own heartbeat as you lay awake at night, tortured by unease the source of which you cannot find, or you want to shout it every day, I’m here to tell you, it’s time.
The more you deny it, the louder it will bang its primitive syllables through your body. It will limit your true potential. It will make you doubt your abilities. It will suck your lifeblood for itself, giving you no creative, analytical, entrepreneurial or cosmic energy until you look it in the face and say, “I know. This is not enough.”
Once you name the beast, it may be very clear what is not enough. For me, it was a dead-end relationship with an alcoholic boyfriend who didn't treat me well. It ended on February 1, 2015, one year ago today, three years and ten days after it began, about two years and ten days after it should have ended.
I did not listen to two years worth of my own quiet, unhappy murmurs. I convinced myself that he could change. Truly, the quieted pupa of dreams and hope inside me needed to change, evolve and grow into the stunning crystallized papillon it is today.
I said enough.
And I began what has been the most challenging, exciting, happiest year of my young life.
I moved in with my parents. My mother bought me a water bottle for Valentine's Day with "Embrace the Journey" emblazoned across the front. The irony brought me to tears, laughing away the sting of being alone, for the first time, in so long.
I crashed a bachelor party and wound up with $60 extra dollars... But not for stripping. For just taking charge, handing out money to the men for the strippers, and being fiscally responsible. Who said women were bad with money? The next day, I walked for a mile along the Atlantic Ocean, treasuring the time spent with myself.
I burned my leg while wearing a maxi-dress on a motorcycle after a great date. It turned out that neither of us were ready to date someone, but were very used to and good at it, because we did it for so long. It was had a mature, clean end: a quick phone call, and I didn't even cry until I was drunk later that night. We remained friends.
I performed standup comedy for the first time. For a terrifying and blissful five minutes I felt like I was showing the world the true, dirty, funny, philosophical person inside me, with no thoughts of how I was actually perceived or if it was good, even though my jokes weren't polished and I was a bit drunk (it was my birthday). I stuck with it. It is tough, I often think I'm terrible, but sometimes, occasionally, it makes me feel like I'm queen of the world. It's something I have worked at on my own, but it's also so scary I sometimes want to quit, the same way I did when the ball would come whizzing at me during a childhood softball game, or a when I was a teenager reading Shakespeare as a monologue to a room full of people.
I spent a day blissfully high at the art museum in Denver. The beauty of female artists' abstract expressionist paintings, done before Pollack or Rothko had picked up a brush. I also had to leave my suitcase at a Greyhound station because of a visit from then-future-president Reptillian Underlord (that's what I call him). So I had to navigate to and from the Greyhound Station in downtown Denver to the airport. Alone. Very high. All without a hitch.
I got a promotion. I screwed up at my job. I realized I didn’t want my job, with its high hours, limited pay, in the town I attended college in and grown as much as I could. I quit my first real job and became a freelancer. It is scary, uncertain, but completely freeing.
I drove across the country in a Mustang GT with my best friend. I hiked 40 miles in 4 days with my mom. I began to get freelance clients.
I moved in with my parents, again. It was and always will be fantastic to come home, because I am very lucky and blessed to have a funny, intelligent, open-minded, compassionate family.
I fell in love, again. We went to a Father John Misty concert nine days after I arrived here. The yellow stage lights glowed hazy in the rain. A train whistle blew. We made out with the passion of two 13-year-olds with their first kiss. It's been exactly five months, but it's felt like five days because it's so enjoyable. He asks me what I want to do. We laugh at the same things, sometimes to hysteria. We admit when we’re scared, sad, or weird thoughts we (really mostly me) have. This love is more than enough: it can grow with me.
I was very lucky to have my family nearby, friends, a good paying job and money saved. I am sorry if you don’t have the resources you need to make a great change in life, or if our flawed and scary system is against you.
Let me know how I can help. Because somewhere, deep inside, there is a voice saying, ‘this is not enough.’ Let that be your main resource. Whether it requires big changes, or small adjustments, listen in some way to that voice. Push yourself towards better work, safe relationships, excellent health, or fulfilling creativity. It can be very scary. You may feel out of control. Know that by listening to that voice, you have made a conscious choice. You are in control.
And know it wasn't all Instagram-worthy moments of sunsets and deep thoughts. There were moments I was drunk, ugly, angry-thanks to my friends who supplied me with wine, cigarettes and porches to sit and vent on. I constantly compared myself to others, their breakups, careers, comedy achievements. I had terrible dates that left me tears on my pillow. I cried on the phone to my mom about once a week during the summer in Asheville. I also cried at the gas station after work, in the car driving my friend to the airport and occasionally in one night stands' beds. These kind of journeys do require a lot crying, as well as mistakes, uncertainty, self-love, forgiveness and and a constant belief that you can continue to do better.
My dreams and goals continue to change. The only thing that’s different is that I’m listening this time. I hope they'll grow from the thin lines of a blueprint to the soaring steel rafters of a great bridge, lifting up the ideas, people and opportunities that surround me.
Now it’s your time to really hear that rumbling in your heart, what you feel deeply and know to be true. You deserve enough.