One day, you wake up a young 22-year-old learning that those you’ve looked up to, have stories of their own. Stories they’ve never dared to tell, for triumphs and silent losses. For the way, they’ve moved through life. For the life, they’ve dared to live…I know this to be partly true, that perhaps, life never makes sense.
I looked at the page in front of me, blank lines, paired with a vacant mind and an overwhelmingly filled heart. I stared at my current half faded tattoos, it reminded me of the motorcycle tattooist guy that blasted me in Miami last summer. I chuckle a bit inside.
The lines on my face slowly curve upward and I begin to write: “I’ve been thinking about why 2019 has felt like an even more confusing year than ever before.” With every breath, I’d wonder if the answer would suddenly rush over me. I think to myself, “Yep, I still don’t know why.”
And so, I ask myself, if I could title 2019, what would I title it? “Get Over Yourself, a memoir by Mya Constantino?” or even “The Silent Pains of Detaching.” I’ll make a few things plain and simple for you, change is painful even when it’s positive change, I’m realizing how my family/cultural constructs affect me in my young adult life, and how sometimes I stand in the way of my own growth. What can I say? We’re human. In time, we will learn.
Behold, 6 personal truths I’m learning in this season of life.
Letter to Self: 6 personal truths I’m learning
Growing up, my environment conditioned me to believe that if I wasn’t the “caretaker” then I wasn’t worthy of love
I realized, recently, in the way I anxiously waited by my phone for others to reach out to me for guidance. This felt like if people didn’t need me then I lacked worth and love. As if I wasn’t valuable or useful enough. I relied heavily on being someone’s fiercest cheerleader, most open and understanding ear, the friend that guides, analyzes, and listens to comfort. I’ve always made the intention to meet someone where they are, (this is a beautiful thing don’t get me wrong) though, this comes at a cost of my own needs and wants sometimes. Healthy boundaries are what I’ve struggled with since I can remember. Speaking up about personal needs: recharging, alone time, healthy distance, etc. to those around me, I’ve found, is half the battle. Once you allow others into your world, you can speak up with a bit more ease. Take up space, ask for help, help others understand what you need and want in those moments. Letting go of the “caretaker” role that I’ve known since I was a kid has been freeing as hell, (definitely not easy) but we’re getting there.
Ego deaths and internal processes will look different for everyone
No two processes are the same. Perhaps, SIMILIAR but never exactly the same. I don’t have a say in what someone needs or where they should be or how they “need” to process things. The best I can do is hold space for someone and try my best to see them from where they stand. Our version of ambition, success, self-discipline, or even moving on from heartbreak will look vastly different from mine. And, this is OKAY. Never forget, to take a step back and truly see who’s in front of you for who they are.
Triggers and traumas will come in waves even when you thought you’d released it
I’m healing things of my past that I had no idea I’d still be healing from. The healing, well, it comes in ten folds and seems like it never stops. This season is shedding light on losses I haven’t fully accepted, for the people I silently mourn over that I’ve walked away from. I’ve always believed that losses are never truly a loss but an opening of a space where there’s more to be found. If you think you’ve healed a lot, it doesn’t mean you will not face the triggers. You’ll face those triggers over and over again, until one day the pressure slowly subsides. And, if it hits you, it doesn’t mean you haven’t moved past it. It means that you’re human. These things do take time. Be gentle with yourself.
Parents aren’t perfect, they do the best they can with what they have
Sometimes we grow up wishing our parents had taught us certain skills during childhood. For example, effective communication or even asserting yourself in high-pressure situations. These things weren’t taught to me neither was I around it too often growing up. Truth is–they did what they could with the tools at hand to teach, guide, support, etc. We often forget, they too, are imperfect humans trying to find a place in this world. It’s easy to blame our parents for the things we lack as adults but it’s up to us to take full ownership and responsibility for the things we need to learn/heal on our own. I can be a blend of all the good: my mother’s drive and devotion to family, my father’s warmth and creative energy. I can be all of these things, and it’s up to me how I show up for myself in the process.
You’ll outgrow people and places, this isn’t something to feel guilty for
One of the hardest truths to accept. You’re bound to outgrow people and places, people will go their way and you’ll continue to walk yours. We all experience this on some level and yet, it’s something we don’t acknowledge enough. It’s a process that happens in life, doesn’t make it any less painful. All I can do is make peace with the inevitable and accept it wholeheartedly for what it is. It’s not terrible or fantastic, it’s just what is. As I’ve let go of people throughout my journey, I’ve experienced periods of guilt and inevitably feel a blend of excitement and gloom when I think about leaving Vegas next year. It’s normal to feel sadness, it’s OKAY to feel guilt but know that striving for what’s best for you is the greatest thing you can do for the people around you. I can assure you, the release of old things will bring new and greater beginnings.
You don’t have to be one thing, you can be ALL of the things
I don’t need to only be the caretaker/therapist/person everyone can rely on. I can also be a sister, a friend, a homie, a free spirit, a lover, the academic, a leader, the student, a sexual being, an assertive being, the wild woman. I CAN BE ALL OF THESE THINGS. It’s easy for us to get attached to the person we’ve always been, the roles we’ve taken on, the identities we’ve deemed as our own. Because you’ve stepped into an assertive role doesn’t mean it takes any value away from your free-spirited role. You will shapeshift, and it will get confusing. OWN IT. And know, you’re human, you’re 100% free to show up in the world exactly in the way you want to even if that means wearing 10+ hats.
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