On Friday I signed lease papers for my new apartment in Blue Bell, PA. I was excited to finally have a place closer to the new LifeTime Fitness in Fort Washington so I wouldn’t have to commute as far. While I won’t be officially moved in for a bit, it was comforting to know the arduous task of “finding somewhere” was over. But as my signature filled the empty space of the lease papers, instead of excitement, I was surprisingly hit with a wave of nostalgia, sadness and fear.
In an instant I was taken back to the last time I signed legal paperwork: my divorce papers. Four years ago, I felt the same pang of nostalgia as I signed papers – papers I signed not because I didn’t love my then-husband, but because I wanted to explore my sexuality, something that had been eating away at me for years. While it was the right decision for me, at the time I signed the divorce papers, I couldn’t help shake the guilt or the fear of change and the unknown.
The sound of the new keys to my apartment clicking in my hands as their edges rubbed one another – the thought of being on my own on a new level – took me back to the clanging sound of the mailbox door shutting as I dropped the divorce papers off on Chestnut street. Even with all the commotion on the busy city street, that resounding echo is one I’ll never forget.
In that moment, and in this one too, I realized I was afraid of the new beginning.
The thought of existing in an entirely new way can be terrifying if we’re too cautious to fully trust the process, triggered by fear or allow our insecurities to wrongly tell us we’re not worthy of whatever is calling us forward.
And, in the hours that followed from receiving my keys, I worried that I was a bad or negligent mother for moving away from my son (even if it might only be until the end of the school year). I worried that maybe I didn’t deserve the new position at LifeTime or that I wouldn’t be able to do this whole living on my own thing – I mean, I hadn’t lived totally on my own since college…what if I couldn’t do it or keep up with rent or burned the place down?
The fears, insecurities and doubts I had of being on my own grew louder. So loud in fact that it raised a warning flag for me. I’ve come to learn that when we’ve got a really loud voice in our head, the best thing we can do is listen because it’s in that listening that the voice grows quieter and we’re able to hear more. And so, I listened. I listened to the voice that told me I was a bad mother for pursuing my dreams. I listened as the voice told me I’ve never had to fully manage my finances before and it couldn’t be done. I listened to every worst-case scenario – from someone breaking into my apartment to being sick with no one to take care of me to falling on my face and failing at it all. The story itself was terrifying, but that wasn’t the whole story. Beyond the fears and doubts was another story, one about a girl with dreams – big ass dreams she was so ready to step into. It was a story of her letting go of all the bullshit stories she had about why it wouldn’t work – it was a story of her determination to see her dreams through at any cost – it was a story about a girl who was admittedly afraid of the new beginning but beneath the surface was willing to open her heart and learn. When I listened, I saw that my fear was really a call for vulnerability and courage. My fear was simply a necessary part of the process and the inner workings of a new beginning.
The path before me is a new one in a lot of ways. It’s a process, one that requires being brave and vulnerable enough to courageously embrace new experiences, friendships, kindred connections, as well as new ways of managing my thoughts, feelings and emotions. It all offers me the opportunity to taste an entirely new way of existing.
Living vulnerably, with courage, directly from the heart is one of the toughest lessons to learn and one of the most challenging things to embrace but when we live as courageous warriors we’re able to stay on our path and let the other stuff fall to the wayside. We’re able to see how every interaction has depth, every feeling is fueled with raw beauty and bravery, each word is a necessary component for deeper understanding and how each person that enters our life is a teacher to the extent we allow them to be. Most importantly, we’ll see that our heart will fill up, crack open even wider and expand us beyond our wildest dreams, to a place where fear can no longer cripple us.
My friends, the dots will always join and we can (almost always) look back and see how everything that unfolded and presented itself was vital for our soul’s evolution.
This week, trust where you are and remember it’s just a dot on the bigger chart. Get quiet and listen to your fears. When you do, you’ll take yourself outside the fear and you’ll be able to hear what’s really underneath it all. And, most importantly, welcome the new path before you because it all starts somewhere and that somewhere is right now.