One year ago this time was probably one of the most miserable in my life. To be fair, it’s only been 25 years and I have a lot to be thankful for. But last year I had *another* quarter life crisis. My first was quitting my PB at Johns Hopkins. This, my second, was when I turned my back on myself, metaphorically speaking of course. I’ll spare you the long winded version and only share the necessary details. The overview is that as we grow, there are significant bumps along the way that are meant to sharpen us but feel like they destroy us. One of my breaking points was last year and it exposed that who I am is constantly evolving and accepting that may save me from a lifetime of disappointment. Now I'd never been the girl to go with the flow of change. In fact, I’m pretty well known for shouting definitive statements from the roof tops, or at least I used to be, for two reasons. One, I’m dramatic in the most typical African girl way. Two, I just knew God had a plan and I just knew God spoke to me so I just knew exactly how my life was supposed to pan out. But being so sure of who I was is the reason I ended up feeling so unstable when my actions didn't match the idea of who I thought I was in my mind.
This crisis was about losing my identity, or rather it was about finding it. I have a word of advice. Anytime you have to make yourself or your beliefs smaller in order to accommodate a behavior, experience or relationship, pay attention because you’re out of alignment. I never thought it could happen but I lost myself completely in someone else. And not in the beautiful, romanticized way, if that even exists. This one was painful, for me but also for people who knew me. Not knowing myself or not knowing that I didn't know myself allowed me to get lost in someone else’s journey instead of my own. How does this happen? Well, have you ever met someone who was so different from you but still felt like home? I’ve met a few people like this in my life. And when you truly connect with someone whose fundamental beliefs differ so much from yours, it urges you to question your beliefs, or at least it did for me. If you don’t know who you are, encounters like these will shake you to your core and suddenly you’ll have no idea what is your truth.
Looking back, I remember the feeling of not knowing myself and it was one of the worst feelings I've ever had in my life. I was so unsure of what to do with each step because the result of my actions scared me. I wasn't comfortable with being unsure and I wasn't comfortable with losing the people who may have actually been in the way of my expansion.When you are becoming you have to be comfortable losing relationships, self-images, stability. You have to get lost in yourself because getting lost allows for a beautiful journey of discovery. When the ultimate prize of your beliefs is not a stamp of approval for your actions and is instead a knowledge of truth, you’ve accessed a new level of heaven on earth. When you can recognize the ultimate fullness of joy as being love instead of falling in love, your life will truly transform. When you finally see people, the ones who loved you and the ones who hurt you, as teachers then you'll be able to appreciate the beauty that comes in being sharpened.
I spent a significant part of 2015 and 2016 measuring my success and my happiness by what I did and what happened to me. That's natural. But if actions drive your self-worth forever you'll never recognize the sincere truth about how amazing you are. Ultimately what matters most is the way joy spreads across your face and laughter erupts from your lips. That happens in the moments when you are becoming. In the choice of be vs. do…be.