New Year, New (?) Me

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

OK, so I’m aware that we’re 3 weeks into 2019 and that’s not standard greeting at this point, but as far as we – you and I, writer and reader, blogger and bloggee? – are concerned, this is our first meeting of the new year – so just roll with it, ok?

I hope this new year finds you well, because, not to blow my own horn, but I’m kind of killing it. In a time where everyone is doing celery juice cleanses and joining gyms and signing contracts in blood to Marie Kondo, I am at the front of the parade. I’m steering the float, conducting the band, and doing other metaphors for leadership that I don’t know because clearly I’ve never captained anything. I should basically just purchase a sandwich board with NEW YEAR NEW ME painted on it in letterpress calligraphy.

I’ve started doing yoga 2-3 times a week, and aside from the additional benefit of getting to see Chris Pine with his shirt off last Thursday (hellooo, Captain Kirk), I feel calm and centered in the way I imagine Scientology pamphlets tell you you’re going to feel. I’m journaling a TON, and cooking at home and packing lunches in mason jars and going on walks to break up my day. I’ve jumped on the KonMarie bandwagon, and although my house currently looks like the aftermath of a robbery that occurred during an earthquake, I’m making progress and sparking all kinds of joy. But before I go on further about the amazing new Self magazine version of my life, let’s start by backtracking a bit:

Last year was rough. When confronted with a journal prompt to define 2018 in a single word, I couldn’t stop circling back to erratic.

Externally everything was amazing. I traveled extensively to fabulous places including Paris, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and multiple road trips throughout the state. My career amplified with a promotion, my own digital series, and my first professional voice acting job. My relationship with my dude not only remained solid and wonderful, but grew. I made new friends and deepened connections with old ones. I learned about film photography, went swimming in the Pacific on summer Fridays, saw multiple concerts a month. I experienced my first snow fall, went glamping, watched friends achieve their dreams, made 4 different Halloween costumes. I paid off all of my credit card debt, drove a convertible for a month, built up my jumpsuit collection, drank champagne IN Champagne, and even kept my Ficus alive (barely.) SO YEAH – IT WAS A GOOD YEAR.

BUT.

(There’s always a but, guys. If I can promise you anything – it’s that no matter how good things look, everyone has their own ellipses… That, and that a Nespresso machine is 100% worth the investment.)

While on the outside my life was shooting upwards, inside I was wilting. The grief of losing my mother was compounding and I was too busy to deal with it. So I shoved it down, creating a pit of darkness that kept getting deeper and deeper. My anxiety was mounting, and I was having panic attacks multiple times a week. To cope with this, I drank way too many bottles of wine I didn’t need and couldn’t afford. I was developing some pretty severe separation anxiety, the ugliest moment culminating in a melt down with me physically restraining my boyfriend from leaving my house like a petrified toddler. (There’s a You joke in here somewhere, but I haven’t watched it yet.) As I continued to develop bad habits and spiral further and further down, I kept getting harder on myself. I was exhausted – mentally, physically and emotionally, and instead of resting, I was beating myself up for not doing more. I was drowning in a list of shoulds longer than a CVS receipt. I was meaner to myself than I’ve ever been, in every way I could be. By the time November came around I was living in a profound state of fear that I’d never feel purely happy or excited for an extended period of time again. SO YEAH – IT WAS A BAD YEAR.

In an act of desperation I went to a psychiatrist who is way too old to be practicing medicine, and he essentially just put me on speed and benzos. Despite an entire childhood of having the Judy Garland cautionary tale shoved down my throat, I felt so manic that the idea of feeling better in the form of a pill was too appealing to turn down. News Flash: THIS DID NOT WORK OUT WELL! The Adderall increased my anxiety even MORE, and the Klonopin numbed me out. It was bad, my dudes.

LUCKILY – I have some pretty amazing humans in my life and a relatively solid inner compass that was pointing in a direction I knew had to change. So. I did what everyone should be fortunate enough to do – I found a good therapist.

And I lived happily ever after.

The End.

JUST KIDDING.

Long story short (or is it long now at this point?) I found a good therapist, had a lot of big cries, got OFF the crazy pills I was taking and ON to light antidepressants thanks to a new psychiatrist who’s NOT cheating death with each new day. And I did a TON of work. I had difficult conversations and read self-help books and did detoxes and developed self-soothing tactics and journaled. I have been actively working every day for the last few months to course correct the pit I’d dug myself into.

So NOW I can confidently say: 2019 feels like my damn year. Maybe you’re thinking “It’s only 3 weeks in, that sounds a little optimistic, doesn’t it?” WELL – You also thought it was too late to say Happy New Year, DIDN’T YOU? (I dunno, maybe you didn’t, I’m sorry for lashing out.) I feel excited and calm and light in a way I don’t think I’ve felt in years, and I’m stoked to sound like a cult member to the church of self-help because maybe those Scientologists are on to something after all. (They’re totally not, that stuff freaks me out. Sorry John Travolta.)

In a recent conversation, a coworker confessed shock that I am – despite my aggressive Instagram presence – uncomfortable having my photograph taken. She said “you always look like you’re not worried about anything in the world.” That statement was a wakeup call for me to the false imagery social media perpetuates. To all the people I have fooled with my colored walls and trips abroad and florals and pink wigs: I am sorry. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel remotely like I had stuff figured out, because I clearly don’t.

BUT! THE POINT IS: I’m excited to feel like old myself again – and to simultaneously feel brand new. I’m non-ironically embracing the “new year, new me” mantra, but with the important caveat of being kind and patient with myself because if I’m not gonna be kind to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be?

That being said – feel free to put nice things in the comments because I really get high on that.

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