We don't have to go it alone. We really don't have to.
I'm in the process of moving right now, which is probably one of my most repeated life habits that I can't seem to kick. I haven't lived in one apartment/house for longer than two years since leaving my parents' nest at the age of 18. I tend to hop cities/states/countries a lot, too, but this time I'm only moving about 1 mile away. #progress
The perk to moving every two years is the refreshing Marie Kondo-esque nature of going through all of my belongings and purge, purge, PURGING. If I didn't move so much, I'd be drowning under piles of birthday cards and wedding invitations and Playbills and those rubber bands that Whole Foods wraps around all of your nut butter/to go containers. Baaaaaai, random things I hoard for nostalgic reasons. (Okay, I'm not nostalgic about the Whole Foods rubber bands but I always forget to tell them I don't need them and then by the time I do remeber they've already gone through the trouble and I figure it's good because my almond butter won't explode all over my kale and then I get home and I stuff them in a bag of rubber bands because future Brittany will need a rubber band. And she usually does... but not THAT many.)
There's one thing I can't seem to purge each time I move: journals.
I have so. many. journals.
Some I've had for years and are nearly full, some I've bought or been gifted because they carry a nice/inspirational message on the cover, some are from when I was in school, and I like to peruse the notes every once in a while. But mostly... they sit collecting dust.
One, though, is special. My sister got it for me almost 10 years ago for Christmas. It's Italian leather, beautifully scripted with intricate Italian lettering, flowers, and leaves. It ties closed with leather strings, and it's soft as a baby's bottom. I've LOVED this journal since the day I unwrapped it.
I first used it in 2008 when I was 24 and cast as 30-year old Lenny Magrath in the play Crimes of the Heart at Southeast Missouri State University. The first entry in the journal begins:
"Crimes of the Heart, Spring 2008. Lenny Magrath, the oldest sister—Lenora Josephine Magrath, 30. Act 1 - Lenny and Chick. It's my birthday, but in the chaos of everything, no one has remembered. I'm attempting to celebrate on my own."
The following 20 pages are then a breakdown of the play through the eyes of Lenny.
We skip ahead to 2011 and the journal becomes a vessel for "figuring life out." Pros and cons lists for important decisions in life, morning pages, monologues I was writing for Off Broadway performances in New York City.
I can see where I discovered The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, because the pages are then filled with early morning brain dumps, aka "morning pages." As time goes on, the morning pages begin to get messier as my descent into the grips of an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety evolved. It's hard to flip through the pages. But it's inspiring, too. To see the growth and change. Tangible evidence of where I once was (memory softens) and how I navigated the journey to healthfulness and happiness.
I got into poetry for a little while, and penned this that is by no means worthy of praise, but I see the budding fruition of my recovery work woven in:
I have so much to do
I have so little to do
I don't have enough time
I have too much time
Find the happy medium
Find the happy
Let the happy be
I don't have to find it
I can allow it
It's right over there
It's right here
It's not at the bottom of a bowl of almond butter.
It's not in another person.
It's not in the perfect job.
It's not in New York.
It's not in a place.
It's right here
I can take it
I can grab it
I can run with it
It's mine for the taking
It's every cliche
Because cliches are infuriating truths repeated ad nauseam by those who've unlocked their secrets
It's in me.
It's in me.
The realization that everything I needed was inside of me was a ginormous impetus for change, but the truth is: I could never have gotten through it alone.
The pages then turn into neater handwriting: the work I did with Erin Stutland in her "Magical Manifesters" program. The first time I ever worked with a coach and began digging deep into who I am and what I want.
Then working with Erin one on one. She inspired me to study Integrative Nutrition and follow my passion for cooking and food. She saw the things inside of me that I could not yet see.
I have been beyond inspired by these women. They always pushed me (and continue pushing me) to step beyond my comfort zone. Take risks.
Find the happy. (It's in me.)
It's in you, too.
It's not in a diet or fitting in your skinny jeans or losing that last five pounds or another juice cleanse or a new gym membership or a new boyfriend or any outside forces. Sure, these things can create the illusion of happy for a time, but true, lasting happiness (which is a direct byproduct of holistic healthfulness) is a reflection of what is inside of YOU.
This is what my newest offering, Fed Up Fellowship is all about. It is my absolute honor to have paid forward the gift of seeing the light inside of so many women through this work.
One way you can take a step, right now today, is to grab a journal yourself (or a blank word processor document) and answer these few questions:
List all of the things you want (they can be as silly as being delivered a piece of your favorite cake to as deep as finally getting the respect/admiration you crave from a spouse/significant other/boss/coworker. Anything you WANT.)
What brings me joy?
What am I interested in?
What are my specific skills/particular brand of genius, and am I using it to be of service to others?
Is my life:
What am I afraid of, and how is it holding me back from what I truly want?
What do I need to employ (can be things that I don't already have or tools/people that I DO have) to get what I want?
A key to remember (that is truly hard to do in this day and age of keeping up with the Joneses on social media): Don't compare yourself to others. Do things at your own pace and know the effort you need to put into preparation. Keep it simple and commit fully.
with love and full support of your inner genius,