To Be: An Unapologetic Awakening
In July of 2016, I began writing a post about what it means to be me. As the routine usually goes, in the last year, I stopped short and immersed myself in everything but one of my favorite pastimes. Not because the other things were more important. Yes, there was work. There was hanging out with friends and family. There was gearing up the Fall/Winter season of Dream On Youth. But, none of that would've stopped me before. I would've made the time.
I was standing in my own way out of fear.
Fear of people's judgment. Fear that I would scare people away. And it's all rooted in my fear of abandonment. Something I've never openly discussed on here because it's deep seeded. It's been eating at my roots since I was a little girl. Its nasty and gnarly fingertips threatening to shackle me every time I show affection or try to move on.
But in this moment, as I make sure none of the other DOY ladies have drafted their posts for review, where I stumble upon this forgotten post my breath catches between my figurative brick walls and a glass ceiling. I can see the birds flying, the sun shining, and the day moving on without me. I can see the leaves changing, unbothered by the fear of new seasons.
And so, I let this post go live. Let it wander out into the world alone as I let go of that crushing fear and walk on my own two legs again.
Let's journey backward to July 20th, 2016.
I think this personal post has been stirring inside of me for the past few months. I believe I kept ignoring it, pushing it back, trying to stuff it down, because I couldn't stomach it. How do I be me? How do I tell other people to be themselves? Who on earth do I think I am?
Deciding to lead a community isn't easy. It's a lot more work than Instagram worthy play. I love what I do. I choose this every day, over and over again, but I started to lose myself in this.
Today's post is coming at you unfiltered, messy, gritty, and all those good awaken-your-soul-and-light-a-fire-in-your-belly words. I wanted to have the hard conversation. In a world that is constantly telling you how to do YOU, how do you be, well, YOU?
Let's go back to early 2015.
In January, I decided to ask the team who consisted of Taylor Young, Courtney Benisch, Maire Hannigan, Taylor Longs, Lauren Schubilske, Emily Karlsson, Mika Matias, and Emily Fleckenstein their resolutions, their goals if you will. I made a plan for them after receiving their list of where I wanted them to go, the potential I saw in each young lady.
This is where I baffled even myself. It was easy for me to come up with a plan of action for these girls because I saw them. I saw them for everything they were, wanted to be, and what they were not. I knew their fears, doubts, and even when they didn't tell me, I knew their struggles. It's part of my gift, it's part of being me, I'm intuitive.
But you know who the one person I left out on that list was? That's right. Me.
To be me had become putting everyone ahead of myself and granting myself no grace. To be me had become self-loathing because I allowed myself to be a workaholic. Being me got harder and more frustrating with every step I took. I couldn't shake the weight I had put on my shoulders. I couldn't run past by struggles or my illness.
In Summer of 2015, the burnout started to catch up with me. My brain was buzzing with a million ideas, AWESOME ideas. The girls were excited to start a new chapter. Communication was great but I could still feel myself slipping.
And that's where I stopped.
This is a common case of starting and not finishing something. It's classic Cydney. I am the world's most well-adept self-starter but I am also the world's worst finisher.
It's why Dream On Youth hasn't blown up and gone viral. It's why our team was struggling with connecting for so long. It's why I'm not already a full-time entrepreneur. It's why I'm not running my own empire and taking names.
I am the reason my own earth has stopped moving.
And no, this isn't a pity party. This is my own wake-up call. I'm hoping it inspires some of you to "own your sh**" as Ruby Fremon says and helps you get out of your own way.
So, now we're in November of 2017 and I am currently unemployed. I quit my full-time job because it was taking a toll on my mental health. I was falling back into bad habits, habits that were alive and thriving long before Dream On Youth and nobody else knew about. Habits that could be triggering to any of you reading this so we're not going to talk about that just yet.
I'm sitting at my dining room table, trying to figure out where the time went, about to call back a possible job prospect, about to make a smoothie. There's a lot of things I'm about to do but I just start with one.
Finishing what I started.
What does it mean to be me? Currently, it means waking up (alarm is set for 5:30 am on weekdays, I fell back asleep apparently and woke up at 9:00 am) and praying as I sit in my window seat. I may have music on like Joy Williams' record "Venus", or Sam Smith's songs "Pray", "Him", and "Scars" on a loop. I may even be feeling fierce as hell and throw on Beyonce's record "Lemonade" which is yellow (side note because I am obsessed!!) and I ordered as a birthday present to myself. And I do mean they're actual vinyl records, I do own a Crosley people. Don't judge me.
Most mornings I follow up with a bit of reading and some breakfast. I was going to make a smoothie this morning but totally immersed myself in work so I'm actually finishing up the matcha tea I made when I first got up. Yes, it's cold right now because it's been sitting beside me for hours but it was still delicious. I have no shame.
The rest of my day depends on the lady-dos I write on my whiteboard. I'm trying to cultivate a morning routine and I'm on day 5. But, I wanted to make it fun so I call my to-do list "lady-dos" instead. Should I coin that term or did someone else already do that?
Today's lady-dos consist of reading, designing some graphics for Dream On Youth, writing a special letter for our kindness hustlers, applying to at least 8 jobs *screams internally*, and shooting some stock photography.
This blog post was not originally on that list, neither was updating certain parts of our website. However, doing a little here and there every day to take a step closer to where I want to be is a gift. Not everyone can muster up the strength to carry on or find the passion in their days. Not everyone chooses themselves over a job. Usually, this is because that work pays the bills and puts food on the table. I'm not telling you to make the same choices I did.
I'm only asking you to let go of what's holding you back: the excuses, the toxic relationships, the crippling fear. I'm asking you to let go and let yourself be, unapologetically. Let yourself live. Let yourself dream. Let yourself stand a little taller and reach a little higher.