Am I allowed to change?
Are we allowed to change? Really? I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. A lot of thinking and a lot less sharing those thoughts with the public. I don’t know—this year feels so monumental in the quietest ways for me. I didn’t expect this kind of year, one that is drenched in reflection. It’s a different kind of reflection than previous years when I’ve done the scoured, deep healing, carving out the past and installing within a new narrative. This is present reflection. It’s planning for the future. It’s not an examination into my wounds. It’s more like a pause for who I’m becoming.
Right now, I’m someone I’ve never been before.
Rolling out before me are opportunities that have been decades in the making. I am living in the fruits of my labor. Reaping the rewards of years of retuning and unlearning and creating. I am no longer a person who doesn’t exercise consistently. I am no longer a person who drinks all the time. I am no longer a person who doesn’t write. I am no longer a person on the outside looking in on the life I want.
It’s lovely. But it’s also the precursor for yet another big change. I can feel it. I can feel seeds being planted. I can feel that I cannot stay the same. As much as I like where I’m at, I cannot force myself to stay here.
The truth is, I haven’t written a new post for my social media in a long time. I think maybe one has poured out of me in months. Something strange happened when Radically Content came out—it felt like that part of myself was done. Like I’d said everything I had to say on the topic.
I know some nonfiction authors and writers beat the drum of their message for years. I get it. Sometimes I think that’s a natural passion. Other times, I think people stick to the same thing they’ve been doing because it works, even if they’re tired of it. Is Brene Brown sick of talking about vulnerability? Does Glennon Doyle want to talk about “hard things” all the time? Do the people who “come up” talking about struggle want to stay there just to be relatable?
I am a person who is massively devoted and dedicated to allowing myself to change. It’s terrifying, especially when it feels like you’ve got something to lose.
But it feels like I’ve said it all. I wrote the book. I wrote the journal. I made the course. I’ve written online for a decade, sometimes consistently and other times less so. But I’ve been present on here for a long time. And I’m not the kind of person that’s going to create content just to create content. Just to make sure the algorithm doesn’t punish me. Just to make sure people don’t forget me.
I guess the truth is I don’t feel as inspired by “self-help” as I used to be. Not even my own version of self-help, which was, admittedly, an accidental foray into advice-giving, despite my own reticence to becoming any kind of guru. I just wanted to share my feelings with people to know I wasn’t alone. That was where this all came from—my own loneliness and isolation. I wanted to belong. Find my people. I felt so weird and odd for so long—so sensitive and contemplative in a time when it was cool to not care—and when I started sharing my feelings online, people flocked to me. I was shocked. I didn’t realize anyone felt the same as me.
But now I don’t struggle as much. I have bouts of self-doubt, but none of that is worth talking about, because of how fleeting it is. I’ve put in the time to feel like this. The ease and peace I have now is hard-won.
When you write online about yourself for a long time, a strange thing happens—you start to feel like every experience you have should come with a universal message to relay to people. Your life, in some ways, becomes fodder for other people to consume. Which, on the one hand, can be nice because you feel connected. But on the other, can be detrimental, because you lose connection to yourself. Sometimes it’s nice to have an experience and keep it for yourself, like a precious jewel that belongs only to you. As Taylor Swift sings on one of my favorite Midnights tracks Dear Reader: “the greatest of luxuries is your secrets.”
I don’t know how to construct meaning for others from my life right now. That’s the inconvenient truth of it all. I’m prepared to allow my life to become really, really good without the caveat I need to give people on the internet. (“Don’t worry, it’s not that good! Don’t worry I also doubt myself all the time! Don’t worry, I’m secretly miserable despite portraying a sense of happiness all the time!” I mean, I don’t do any of that for the most part, but that’s what people seem to expect.)
I found myself last week, on vacation, feeling a sense of guilt that my life was feeling so damn good and I had to take a moment to be like—I’ve earned that feeling. I’ve worked so hard to feel good on autopilot. I’ve sacrificed so much. I’ve prioritized my peace and mental health when, at many times, that has made me feel left out and sad and isolated and lonely.
I don’t know if where I’m going is a place of stillness. I’m in the middle of these revelations. And part of me doesn’t want to send this. Part of me doesn’t want you all to know anything about this. Part of me wants to keep it all to myself.
But that doesn’t feel good either. It never has.
Maybe I’m worried that if I tell you all this you’ll find me “unrelatable.” Or if I stop giving value and a tied-up bow of meaning to my experiences, you’ll think I’ve broken the silent contract we’ve made as Writer and Reader.
The problem is I wrote this book called Radically Content and I somehow, over the course of the incubation stage and the writing stage and the flinging it out into the world stage—I really embodied it. I am so content it kind of scares me? Shouldn’t I want more more more more more?
Today is a new moon in Taurus and also some sort of Jupiter transit that is supposedly meant to bless the next year of my life and I’ve been thinking about what I want. It used to be such a long list.
Now it’s small.
I want to write my novels and make a comfortable living. I want to keep getting in shape, my way. I want my marriage to continue to deepen. I want to wake up most days excited to be alive.
That’s about it.
I wrote Radically Content and embodied the ethos of radically content and have now recognized that I don’t need much to be happy.
Writing a book like RC is a spiritual practice. At least, it was for me. I’m not selling you snake oil. I didn’t write some bullshit self-help book and then, behind the scenes, I’m some monster that hasn’t embodied any of her own words. We’ve seen that movie before, right? We’ve watched it happen on social media. It’s a tale as old as time.
But not with me. That book was for you all, but it was also for me. I say in there I’m not a guru and I mean it. I don’t want you to look up to me like I am some deity. I’m not Tony Robbins. I don’t need you to pray at the alter of my ego.
I had something to say about life and about my own transformation and then I released it and it felt like I was able to release my own need for constant self-improvement. What is the point of doing the healing work if you don’t live, healed? I am not going to keep myself in bubble wrap forever. I did all that work so I could enjoy my life without being held back by past narratives and traumas. I did all that work to love myself so that I could live as a person who loves herself in a world that says I shouldn’t.
I earned my peace.
And I don’t know what that means for my work in the world.
Here I go, reinventing. Yet again.
I love you,