Hello, good day, and HAPPY NEW YEAR, all!
The fact that my posting date is also January 1, 2019, works out better than I expected. It allows me to not only set the tone for this new year, but it also allows me to introduce a newly refreshed, revised website for my blog.
Now, once you’ve browsed and oohed and ahhed, come back here. This post and I will patiently wait.
…Finished your tour?
Now, back to the obligatory post!
I want to introduce you to JusB.
Many years ago, when I held big dreams of becoming a professional wrestler (or at least train as one), I developed a wrestling persona that was everything I wanted to be. Brash, unpredictable, and unparalleled, JusB achieved what she wanted with seemingly no plan in mind, but luck was always on her side. Of course, she was actually a clever mastermind who ignored her naysayers while seamlessly achieving her goals. Lighthearted and fun when in a good mood, sinister and ruthless when not, she was the perfect alter ego to my true, passive, anxious, overly sensitive self.
And of course, her name was a perfect existential play on words.
JusB = Just Be
I summed up the character rather quickly above, so I think the JusB name (and persona) can be easily misunderstood.
The reason why I bring up this persona now is because, with all the years that I imagined being her if I ever did successfully become a wrestler, she has always been an ideal that I looked up to. Most of my adolescence and too much of my adulthood has been me imagining being this cool, calm, collected person that everyone admired.
Meanwhile, “real” me stuttered, hid, and floundered through life decisions and social situations in ways that I always assumed everyone else expected me to.
It was like controlling a robot, telling her to go left and screaming at her when she wholeheartedly turned right.
I never had an answer as to why I just couldn’t behave the way I really wanted to behave, until I started thinking about the direction my life has been going when I re-asked myself “Why am I waiting to be happy?“
Last year was a start. This year, I want to make my inner transformation an absolute priority.
JusB is “Born”
By stating that I’m focusing on myself, I don’t mean that I’m going to buy an endless amount of material possessions or ignore my friends and family to do whatever I want. Instead, it’s more about listening to my own mental health and responding to it when things feel off.
For example–I was supposed to have flown back from Arizona to Atlanta as of last Saturday, after nearly two weeks of visiting my family during the Christmas holidays.
But, I didn’t.
Last Friday night, I went to bed late and woke up even later. I always have anxiety the night before I fly anywhere. This time, though, my anxiety was different. My procrastination to pack my suitcase lagged into late morning, after I slithered from bed at 10 am. I told my sister what time I wanted to leave for the airport, and she agreed.
“Or, ” she added, “we could leave a little earlier and have lunch somewhere first. Maybe even drop off your bag at the terminal.”
My heart clenched at this. My stomach dropped. Despite my best efforts to hold my displeasure in, I felt my eyes well and overflow with tears. Nevertheless, I tried to shake this off and went about getting ready. My pace was already making us late; there probably wouldn’t be time to get lunch.
The tears flooded harder the closer time approached to leave. I tried to ignore them, but they flowed too fast. I have always been remiss to leave my family during the holidays, but it had never been this bad. I didn’t want to go.
I really, really didn’t want to go.
2018: The Best and Worst Year
2018 was, without a doubt, one of the most amazing years of my life. I realized that
- I was capable of living the life that I only dreamed,
- the universe really does listen, and
- the Law of Attraction is real.
There was one aspect of myself that I repressed for decades, that 2018 finally exposed.
My lack of social connection, lack of human contact, and my inadequacy with my interpersonal relationships.
I’ve prided myself on being a “super introvert.” I’ve lived alone since I was in college and always appreciated the silence and ability to make decisions without having to rely on someone else’s direct criticism to slow me .
Now that I’m taking part in more activities with more people, I’m able to watch many others’ ease of interacting with each other–including my friends and family. When I see how easily they seem to do it, fear seizes my chest. I feel that, if I try to join them and converse the way they do, surely I will mess it up. They will think me strange and dismiss my words as those of an annoying, inexperienced child.
Which, for the most part, I am.
Small talk doesn’t come easily for me, and it probably never will.
The way that I internally respond to people is also unconventional, and the way that I feel I express myself best is different than most.
I could go on and on about wanting to improve my social capabilities and reaching deeper layers of intimacy with my loved ones, but you know what?
At the end of the day, it’s simply this–
Top 2019 Resolution: I want to spend more time with the people and things I love.
I’m not going to let my social issues, my self esteem, my “busy” schedule, or any lame excuses stop me from doing that anymore.
So, to begin…I changed my flight back to Atlanta from last Saturday to today, New Year’s Day.
The Delta customer service representative greeted me warmly on the phone and, once I told her that I wanted to change my flight, started with some of the best words I’d heard that morning.
“Well, it looks like your original flight was delayed, so any flight change fees will be waived.”
Considering that change fee would have otherwise been between $75 to $200, this was a downright miracle.
Not only that, but when I asked her about the ticket price difference between my original flight and my new flight, she said, “Well, great news! You will actually be getting a credit back with your new flight.”
That cinched it. I immediately completed the change.
When I hung up the phone and told my older sister Tiki the good news, her face lit up. Seeing her happiness affirmed that I’d made the right decision, but her happiness hadn’t been the reason for my decision in the first place.
I wanted more time with my family.
Being Who I Am by Knowing What I Want
Despite ups and downs, the “boring” days and moments when I just wanted some space from my family and friends, I want to know that in a moment where a lot of crap can change in an instant, I have them right here with me right now. Nothing is more important to me than taking each moment for all that it is and cherishing it.
When I first began typing this post last Sunday, I was surrounded by my nephew who was fighting a cold (sorry, “allergies,” as he vehemently corrected me); my sister Tiki, who was playing a video game; and my mother as she browsed the internet on her iPad. I couldn’t help but think that, in some other timeline, I was already back in my home in Atlanta doing my best to clean my house or work, kidding myself into thinking that I was okay taking the Saturday flight.
But in that other timeline, I’m not okay.
I’m probably kicking myself for not looking further into the plane ticket price or not following through on seeing what my actual change fee would have been.
I made the right decision because I recognized what was most important to me, and followed through on it.
And that’s how I want the rest of 2019 to be.
Listening, Hearing and Following Through
There are other parts of my life that I am currently not happy about.
I’ve been lying to myself for too long, thinking that if I held on, if I ignored or fought through my discomfort, if things were “good enough”…I could hold on indefinitely.
I’ll try to do a better job writing about the actual life events as they happen, but I want to close by saying, 2019 is a chance for all of us to open our eyes and look inward at who we truly are. Be honest with yourself.
- Living a good life or a “good enough” life?
- Holding back on trying something because it’s “too hard” to think about, to start, to focus on?
- Afraid that taking that leap will result in failure or–worse–nothing at all?
Make 2019 the year to say, “I’ve wanted this for so long. Let me at least see what it will take to achieve this.” After all, one step forward is one step closer than you were before.
2018 was a year where extraordinary things happened to me.
2019 is the year I help make even more extraordinary things happen.