THE ONE BELIEF THAT HELD BACK MY GROWTH FOR YEARS

No matter how bad I wanted to break the cycle my life was a mirror reflecting my beliefs back at me. Here’s how I changed, and you can too.

The year was 2016. It was Canada Day, and after getting blackout drunk by 4:00pm at ye old block party I decided to bring everyone back to my parents house without asking them. I showed up, shitfaced, with all my friends, and my parents were very good sports about it. My mom was teasing me about being a little bit drunk, so naturally I absolutely teed off on her. I was so combative my friend pulled me into the next room because it was like watching a train crash in slow motion. She got me to calm down, but the damage was done.

The next day I was stuck in the car for three hours with my mom and dad while we drove somewhere, and the air was thick with regret (on my part). This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, and she said:

“I wonder sometimes if you are still a good person.”

I looked down into my hands, head throbbing. All I could think was ‘oh don’t worry, I KNOW I’m not a good person, so we’re all covered there.’

I believed I was a bad person.

I don’t know exactly when I started believing ‘I am terrible’, but it lodged itself in my psyche and grew into an overarching self-hatred that I’ve written about before.

Believing the above prevented me for years from becoming the person I always wanted to be, kept me depressed, gave me an excuse to act like a self-centered dickhead and allowed me to turn my back on my values time after time.

Sometimes it was the wind in my sails pushing me to work more and more to prove to my bosses, peers and myself I was competent. Sometimes it was the casual sex that was a bid to be loved and cared for masquerading as purely physical rigour. Sometimes it was the fits of depression that made me feel like I wasn’t fit to be a part of the human race. Sometimes it was the binge eating and battering my body at the gym. Sometimes it was the job titles or achievements I chased to feel worthy and prove I was something more. Sometimes it was the alcohol I dumped down my throat so I could act like I wasn’t weighted down by this belief for a while. Sometimes it was someone saying something nice to me and smiling but wanting to vomit on the inside.

It was the echo of “you are not enough, and nothing you ever do will wipe your slate clean.” Always.

No matter how bad I wanted to break the cycle my life was a mirror reflecting my beliefs back at me.

Let’s talk about moving forward, onward and upward out of this mental shithole.

so is it that you stop acting like an ass, then become a better person, or does the belief that you are good come first?

There’s no wrong way, I reckon. If it’s the chicken, the egg, or you say fuck it and lobby the industry, the answer will out in the end…right?

I feel like when you combine the mountain of research around self-fulfilling prophecies and the placebo effect, it’s pretty hard to deny that what we believe tends to come true. There’s probably a million iterations of this statement but that’s the plainest way I can put it. Our brains can generate some incredibly powerful shit based on whatever stories our subconscious is clinging to.

The diagram above (belief > potential > action > results) is called a reinforcing, or causal loop. They can be negative or positive, or both in order to maintain a balance, but in general these loops produce momentum.

For example, I managed to quit drinking, which was a massive initial push that kick started the belief that maybe I’m not so terrible after all. The positive action didn’t cure the belief, but it got me started.

If you think changing your self-talk is the way to change the belief, then daily affirmations might be part of your strategy. The most important thing, according to self-affirmation theory, is that your affirmations reflect your core personal values (Cohen & Sherman, 2014). Make sure to use your personal strengths or strengths that matter to you when creating your affirmations.

RESEARCH ASIDE, IN MY CASE, I THINK BELIEVING I WAS A BAD PERSON WAS A TOTAL COP OUT FOR ME.

Thinking you’re terrible based on the past is like telling someone they can’t call themselves a vegan going forward if they’ve ever eaten meat.

There’s comfort in staying stuck in your self-deprecating ways. There’s a lack of uncomfortable accountability when you can blame most things on being a piece of shit. There’s a great excuse to throw away your potential and pour your money down your throat and up your nose when you don’t believe you deserve more. There’s a cycle to stay stuck in that gives you a sense of control even if you’re out of control. There’s always another person around the corner who will reinforce the belief that you don’t matter if you let them. Saying I sucked was an excuse. A nice bit of self-sabotage packaged in a convenient scapegoat.

I recently read The Four Agreements and there’s an underlying theme in the book that I think is really powerful: we are often (if not usually) the worst perpetrators of making everything way worse and halting our personal progress based on the stories we tell ourselves.

”Nobody abuses us more than we abuse ourselves, and it is the Judge, the Victim, and the belief system that make us do this. True, we find people who say their husband or wife, or mother or father, abused them, but you know that we abuse ourselves much more than that. The way we judge ourselves is the worst judge that ever existed. If we make a mistake in front of people, we try to deny the mistake and cover it up. But as soon as we are alone, the Judge becomes so strong, the guilt is so strong, and we feel so stupid, or so bad, or so unworthy.”

Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

So yeah, the truth is that the power is in your sweaty, probably ketchup/hommus/peanut butter covered hands. It’s time to put down the dip and get to work, whatever that looks like for you.

Take it from someone who is still figuring all this out — you deserve to believe better things about yourself and so do I.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

I LEARNED HOW TO STOP SELF-ISOLATING DURING THE PANDEMIC

I was keeping people at a distance well before the pandemic started and all it was doing was making me depressed.

Since I have your attention, here is a LinkTree of Black Lives Matter information, places to donate and resources, here is a link where Canadians can take action toward defunding the police in their city and here is a list of petitions you can sign to demand Justice for Breonna Taylor.


I lived by myself in a bachelor apartment for almost three years. For two of those years, I was single. For a year an a half of those years, I worked from home. At the time, when I would stay home without any intentions of seeing anyone I called it relaxing alone time or a weekend to myself, but then the pandemic gave it a name: self-isolation.

Here was a typical weekend in my life when I lived alone:

FRIDAY NIGHTArrive home from work to an empty apartment. Take off bra. Cook dinner and eat it in front of the glow of my computer. Abandon my intentions of going to bed early because I’m talking to someone half interesting on a dating app. Make my horizontal arrangement look cute for the gram and upload a story. Consider meditating and deflect that idea immediately because it involves silence. Instead end up eating popcorn straight out of the bag then masturbating to put myself into a coma.

SATURDAY MORNING – Wake up and regret not sleeping with my retainer in. Go to a workout class (wow! some social interaction?) and grab brunch with some friends after. Crawl into bed will a full belly as soon as I get home and watch Netflix or nap. Consider stretching or showering.

SATURDAY NIGHT – Wake up from two hour accidental nap OR rouse myself after two hours of scrolling on Instagram. Avoid making plans if I don’t already have plans. Pick up Indian food dressed like a coked out Lindsay Lohan from the restaurant around the corner. Binge eat so much goddam butter chicken. Maybe cry. Watch a documentary and cry some more. Text my best friend Sarah to see what she’s up to. Delete dating app after seeing and almost accidentally swiping on someone I know. Throw phone across room and fall asleep with the lights on.

SUNDAY MORNING Go for a run or walk to get a coffee. Do some productive shit like groceries or laundry.

SUNDAY NIGHT Make an excuse why I can’t go for dinner at my parents house (don’t lie we’ve all done this). Subtweet about a boy I feel salty about. Watch 25 YouTube videos about productive morning routines to make myself feel productive. Fall into Sunday depression and question all my life decisions and wonder why I’m such a loser. Do a face mask because skin care is the only thing I can do right in that moment. Deal with the mountain of dirty dishes that I’ve left in my sink. #sundayscaries

View this post on Instagram

I had what I was supposed to have as a independent single person: the bachelorette pad downtown to myself. It was the perfect location, size and decorated the way I liked it. So why, amongst this space that was just mine (that I thought would make me feel like an adult), did I feel so empty? Don’t get me wrong – I loved certain parts of my alone time: making myself pancakes on Sundays. Being able to walk around naked. Living in my own mess and nobody telling me to clean it. Being loud or quiet. Looking back I thought I was living the dream being on my own, but whose dream was it? It’s hard to say, but maybe it was Sex and the City that first put the idea in my head that a successful independent women has a space of her own even in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I never questioned if it was MY dream. I don’t need to be on my own to be strong. I know that now more than ever because I’m stronger than I ever have been. This lesson extends to many parts of my life, but the most obvious thing to me is that I’m so much happier not eating alone every night. Right now I’m feeling extra grateful that I’m in a hostel living and working with a group of great people (socially distanced from the rest of the town) instead of being isolated by myself. Because I’ve been there. And I know what it feels like. Living alone didn’t make me feel the way I thought it would and that’s ok. I’ve grown so much more not because I’m alone, but because I’m surrounded by good people, and that’s ok to admit. Letting go of living alone as part of my idea of “making it” is ok. Craving connection after being alone too much is ok. We’re gonna be ok. #sololife #solotravel #solotraveler #covid19 #independentwoman #loveyourself #thepowerofnow #liveyourtruth #growthroughwhatyougothrough #vulnerabilityisstrength

A post shared by Raegan aka Reggie ⚡️ (@raegjules) on

Based on what you read above I think I have an idea of what that was like for people who had to lock themselves away all on their own. It didn’t take a virus to make me keep people at a distance – it was feelings of unworthiness and ideas about what self-reliance was supposed to look like that made me stay away.

The neuroscience researcher John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago has been studying loneliness for over 20 years. He defines loneliness as perceived social isolation. We experience loneliness when we feel disconnected. Maybe we’ve been pushed to the outside of a group that we value, or maybe we’re lacking a sense of true belonging. At the heart of loneliness is the absence of meaningful social interaction—an intimate relationship, friendships, family gatherings, or even community or work group connections.

BRENE BROWN

The funny thing is, the more time I spent alone when I lived alone, the less I felt like I belonged in my social groups, and the more I thought I should be alone. It was a fucked up cycle, and I often turned to Instagram and dating apps instead of showing any sort of vulnerability and turning to my friends and family for connection. Talk about the path of least resistance.

Hindsight is honest, and I didn’t realize the extent of how this habit was impacting my emotional wellbeing until I ended up locked down during the height pandemic in a hostel with 10 other people in the middle of Queensland, Australia. We got to know each other, lived together, grocery shopped together, worked in an apple packing shed, ate together and basically spent every waking moment together. I opened up to them and showed up even when I felt unworthy (where’s my medal?) and allowed myself to feel loved and accepted. I recognized that the way I was spending my time before wasn’t relaxing or restorative.

I thought I would be going nuts being around other people so much, turns out that being alone and scrolling as much as I was before was making me a little nuts.

View this post on Instagram

So during the height of the pandemic I was locked down in a hostel and working in an apple shed with a group of people I would come to connect with deeply. This experience made me realize, after living alone for three years, that eating dinner is more fun with other people (especially when it involves dancing to help with digestion 🤣) and spending too much time on my own isn’t good for my mental health. Today was the first day we split apart fully. Many I’ve already said goodbye to, but this group (in the photo) went off to keep adventuring down the coast and I’ll now be staying in Cairns for who knows how long (lol) to work on some creative projects I’ve been slowly chipping away at since coming to Australia. They’ve taught me to embrace silliness, the importance of stretching and speaking clearly, how to cook all sorts of stuff, new ways of seeing the world, what confidence can look like and made me realize that there is nothing more important than connection. I’ve always traveled alone and been a independent person, but I am a million times more open and joyful because of what I have shared with them: my food, my soul, my toiletries, my weird humour, my secrets, my memories, my dreams, my doubts, my fears and my hopes for the future. I said this in the last boxing class I ever taught and I’ll say it again: we’re not meant to do it all on our own. They reminded me of that ❤️ #loveyours #travelaustralia #backpackerlife #vulnerabilityisstrength #courageovercomfort #peopleneedpeople #bravingthewilderness

A post shared by Raegan aka Reggie ⚡️ (@raegjules) on

Obviously I still adore pockets of time to myself here and there, especially when I need to check in on if I’m living my values, but this experience of living with other people also made me realize how much what I was doing before wasn’t working. Turns out, the story I had always told myself about what independence was supposed to look like was basically just forced social starvation which ain’t it. I know that now.

There’s a reason Carrie Bradshaw hardly ever ate dinner in her apartment by herself and there are so many sitcoms based around groups of room mates.

We’re not meant to go without authentic connection. It makes us human.

Processing…
Yee haw! You're on the list.

“WHAT AM I DOING?” AND OTHER QUESTIONS I’VE ASKED MYSELF IN MY EARLY 20’S

I’m turning 26 next month. Here are a few things I pondered over while trying to survive college, start my career and dodge dudes that didn’t like me.

This doesn’t require much of a preamble other than saying I’m turning 26 next month and saying goodbye to the first half of my twenties so I obviously have every right to write this.

I’M MATURE NOW MOTHERTRUCKERS. BEEP BEEP.

Here’s some of the questions I’ve pondered over, and what I’ve managed to sort out in terms of answering them.

“What am I doing with my life?”

There’s no wrong answer because it’s whatever is happening in the present. It’s an… ongoing answer? Kinda underwhelming, I know, but it’s a half-decent reason to rely on your intuition because you won’t know what you were doing in the grand scheme of things until the end. Not trying to be morbid!!!!! IT’S INSPIRING OK? Go see what you can get away with.

https://www.instagram.com/p/ByYVNQwFdQC/

“What do I value?”

I feel like this is hard to know the answer unless you’ve actually thought about it. Once I made a point of answering this question with a pen and paper, I found it a lot easier to actually live out my values. I highly suggest it. Also can be interesting to look back on later because your values can change over time based on life experiences.

I know now that the number one thing I value is integrity.

“How will I know if I had an orgasm?”

I legit Googled this once. I’ll put it this way – you’ll know if you DIDN’T have one. How’s that for an answer?

“Are they into me?”

If you are truly unsure, I’m gonna go with no. See advice below. 

“How does XYZ person afford [insert whatever thing here]????!!?”

Ok, so to be clear, this is a rhetorical question because it’s nobodies’ business how you afford shit. Next, there are a few realistic answers:

  1. Debt. Maybe credit card debt.
  2. Support of some kind that relieves financial burdens and frees up income (perhaps from a sugar daddy who propositioned them in their Instagram DMs?).
  3. Responsible saving. Nobody wants to post about buying two-ply toilet paper on Instagram back to back with their photos from Fiji, but that’s the reality in some cases.

“What happened last night?”

I blacked out from drinking more than I have fingers and toes and teeth in my early 20s so I asked this a lot. Typically, I did something slutty. Or I came home at 3am and destroyed the kitchen making something to eat. Or both!

“Should I say something?”

Usually, yes. This applies to a whole bunch of situations. Have the damn conversation.

As a people pleaser and someone who has always struggled with this, I can safely say it hurts everybody involved more in the big picture when you withhold what you really want to say. Sometimes it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be, and sometimes it’s exactly as bad as you think it’s going to be. You can’t protect people from their own emotions, and you can’t control how people choose to react. All you can do is speak your truth when the time isn’t right (but don’t wait too long) and tell them whatever it is you need to say.

“Should I be saving for retirement?”

Yes, if it’s financially feasible, but also…no?

Anytime a question has a ‘should’ at the beginning I ask myself if I actually care about the answer, or if I feel like I’m *supposed* to care about the answer.

Doing certain things doesn’t make you more or less of an adult, and having an RRSP doesn’t automatically mean you have your life together.

“What should I do with my hair?”

I recently did something out of character and asked my new stylist this and he talked me out of doing something really dumb and expensive during our consultation.

Much like when a therapist tells you something is a bad idea, you LISTEN THE FRIG UP.

Sometimes in the heat of the moment we forget that bangs take approximately 9 months to grow out. Whatever you want is the answer, but it never hurts to consult an expert.

“Where do I go from here?”

This is basically another variation of “what comes next?” which is what this entire blog navigates through…arguably. In order to actually answer this question, I had to stop running away from it out of fear and accept that it was up to me to decide.

Sounds easy, but when you don’t trust yourself it kinda feels like hurling yourself off a cliff with a running start. How else are you gonna build self-trust though?????

Anyway, the answer is that I’m going to Australia. G’day mate.


Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 12.44.18 PM

OK I KNOW I NEED TO LIGHTEN UP – BUT HOW?

I thought I had to word vomit, exercise, or numb out all the darkness out in order to lighten up. I’ve learned that the best thing I can do is accept it, and light a match.

I know the moment I truly started on my self-improvement journey. I Googled ‘How to stop hating yourself’ in 2016, which led me to a book called Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself  that changed my life. You probably know the rest if you’ve read the post.

Recently, after a difficult but loving conversation with a dear friend about how our relationship was feeling heavy, I Googled ‘how to lighten up’ and found nothing useful. Not one single article or listicle I could relate to.

What the shit!!! It had worked once when I needed a solution. But this time I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be the same.

If you’ve ever read my Instagram captions or my blog – it’s not a stretch to say I’m a heavy person. I’m introspective and tend to get myself elbow deep into the piles of shit most people want to avoid at all costs. It’s the reason this blog exists after all…but it also means I can also come off as intense and a little dark at times.

We all have dominant traits that make us who we are, but when they get out of control they can mess things up in all areas of our lives. We all find ways to manage the internal see-saw. 

View this post on Instagram

The part of me that hates myself screams “who the do you think you are trying to write a book? Trying to become boxing instructor? Who gives a shit. And moreover, what do you know about any of this?” The part of me that hates myself believes that my urges to numb out every emotion with a grocery list of unhelpful techniques will never change for good. The part of me that hates myself tells me that I am a burden to my friends and family. That I have too many thoughts and feelings. The part of me that hates myself uses shame and fear to motivate me. The part of me that hates myself uses “why even bother” as an excuse to avoid vulnerability. This isn’t about proving other people wrong. It’s never been about proving other people wrong. Besides, I learned a long time ago people’s conclusions about you are less about you, and more about them. I’m trying to prove that part of myself wrong. I am, in fact, becoming the person I also hoped, dreamed and fought to be. Sometimes that part of me just needs a little proof and a lot of love. Sometimes I need to force that part of me to stop yelling and start listening. This isn’t some Bell Let’s Talk shit that exists only one day a year. As much as I can write this caption, I can’t write a clean beginning middle and end to this. This is just what goes on in my head and my work is fighting back against it. Sometimes I have the strength to win that fight, and sometimes I don’t have it in me. And that’s when I reach out for help. 💭🤝 #wholeheartedliving

A post shared by Raegan aka Reggie ⚡️ (@raegjules) on

I used alcohol to manage as an adult. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I wasn’t an alcoholic before I stopped drinking almost 8 months ago. However, I showed signs of being a problem or grey area drinker. I would deal with negative feelings by drinking or eating them down so I could continue being the life of the party. I was still bitter and aggressive but at least after booze it was in a softened, silly half-cut kind of way. With alcohol, I could take myself from being in a mood where I wanted to cry from stress, to slurring sassy comments and texting people I shouldn’t be texting to generate some fun in the moment.

Alcohol was the easy lever I could pull anytime I needed to lighten up. 

When I first got sober, I lightened up immediately. I felt like I had found the ultimate life hack. All of the ease with none of booze-adjacent struggles. I was saving money! I was making better decisions! I didn’t have the booze blues anymore!!!

Then, inevitably, I dug into the work of recovery and shit got REAL. Sobriety and recovery are not the same, which is a fun fact that hit me like a brick to the face about three months in.

Believe me, I know I was a bummer to be around. I was groping around in the dark in an attempt to figure out how everyone else dealt with bad days on top of having, what felt like, a complete shit show of an existential crisis. I was doing my best, but I truly felt like I couldn’t lighten up.

So I tried all the normal stuff: yoga, meditation, therapy (the counsellor I had when I was in early recovery wasn’t a good fit for me unfortunately), journaling, and mostly texting and talking to my friends when I was feeling shitty. Which was a lot. I also revisited eating and Netflix as coping mechanisms.

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, writing, reflecting and questioning lately. I guess when I think about it, the other three all feed into my writing. I’ve changed a lot and done a lot since finishing my degree and getting an “adult” job. My opinions are different, my hair is different, my mindset is different. I am older. I am more educated on the ways of the world. I now need special cream for my face (goddam eczema). But there is one thing that steadfastly has not changed, and I hope never will: I love writing. It is a warm blanket after being out in the cold for too long. It is a way of making sense of the world. It is a way of bearing witness. It is a messy mud puddle that you can’t wait to jump in. It is an unruly teenager that sneaks out in the middle of the night but makes you proud at the end of the day. It is trying to herd a bunch of hyenas on acid. Here’s a pic of my writing happy place with a new backdrop. I definitely wrote this while feeling a writer’s running high. Let’s be realistic: It’s not always sunshine and rainbows and sometimes I gotta rip the words right out of me, but it’s meant to be. It’s still love even when it’s hard. #instarealtalk #truth #vulnerabilityisstrength #mentalhealth #bravingthewilderness #writersofinstagram #selfcare #selfacceptance #calledtocreate #winnipeg #everydaygratitude #liveoutloud #parentsupport #findyourself #shameless #gratitude #desksetup #deskdecor

A post shared by Raegan aka Reggie ⚡️ (@raegjules) on

Nothing seemed to help. I felt like a black cloud all the time, which was one of my biggest fears about giving up alcohol: I wouldn’t be fun anymore. And as it turned out, it sort of came true, but it taught me something really important.

I got into the toxic habit of treating a lot of close people in my life like my personal therapists. It’s healthy to ask for support and to talk things out, but there’s limits and boundaries to how much your loved ones can really help. Besides, now that I have a good therapist I’m trying to see regularly I can safely say that those are much more productive conversations and it means I don’t have to put the people in my life through unpaid emotional labour. Which isn’t cool.

Fortunately, my friends and family were willing to talk to me about what they were feeling instead of just running in the other direction.

So after my failed Google search, I started thinking about a new way forward in my recovery.

I thought I had to word vomit, exercise, or numb out all the darkness out in order to lighten up.

I’ve learned that the best thing I can do is accept the darkness and all that comes with it, and light a match.

I couldn’t find lightness in numbing because it obliterates everything — both good and bad. Denying negative or heavy emotions also isn’t realistic because it denies a part of you that exists for a very good reason. So now, I’m trying to stop grappling around for a lever or light switch and meet my internal struggles with unconditional acceptance instead of intolerance. I want to be empowered to make my own light.

Part of the journey has been figuring out the people, activities, and places that create light in my life. Especially my newly sober life.

So far, I’ve figured out that reliving ridiculous moments is a great way to light that match. My go-to memory involves a public park bathroom in New Orleans with a broken lock and yeast infection medication. Nothing reminds me how absurd life is quite like that moment.

Also on the list of things that seem to light a metaphorical match in the darkness: Being outside. Riding a good spin class. Looking at old vacation pictures. Writing. Laughing.

I’m looking to add to the list, but I’m still figuring it out. If all else fails, I just lay on the floor and listen to Magic by Coldplay. Can’t lose with Coldplay.


I recognize that seeking professional help isn’t always accessible or financially feasible. Here’s an article about different types of therapy options for different price points.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 12.44.18 PM

ON LOSING “IT” AND MAKING A COMEBACK

No, I’m not referring to your virginity. I’m talking about when you realize you’ve been feeling….off. Maybe it’s been a few days, weeks or even months. You know when you’re not you, but for whatever reason, you can’t get back to being you.

You’ve lost it. *It* might be something different for everyone. 

Your magic. Your connection to a higher power. Your version of balance. Your gratitude. Your flow. Your peace. Your love. Your wellness. Your self love. Your mental stability. Your total and complete SHIT. 

I’ll provide one example.

When I shoved all semblance of self-care aside recently and allowed my perfectionism to take the wheel, I lost it. All of it. Like that entire list basically. And here’s what happened.

I cried. A lot. Whenever, wherever. Literally while standing in an aisle at Superstore picking toilet paper, at my desk at work when no one was around and once when everyone was around.

I was acting like the jacked up 2.0 version of me that was angry and agitated ALL THE TIME. I cancelled plans, cared way too much about what people thought, was overly critical of others, was insanely critical and mean to myself, binged and pursued short term solutions to pep me up while ignoring how they would make me feel long term.  I was full of every kind of fear you can have. It was like gripping life way too tight and losing feeling in my hands.

All of what I described above totally violates my values, and isn’t the version of myself I want to be. The pain of realizing it sucked. I felt like I had totally and completely let myself down. I was also exhausted from being stressed out and in a cloud of rage and tension 24/7.

I would like to say that I corrected my behaviour immediately, but I felt like I had drained all of my energy on holding on too tight.

Instead, I started to feel totally numb and indifferent — which isn’t really any better, I must say. As someone who feels emotions really deeply (both good and bad), feeling nothing is like a curse. I couldn’t bring myself to care about anything. I came home and watched hours of Netflix and stopped trying taking care of my body or my mind. It’s hard to admit and look within, but we all play a part in our own demise. I was the one who kept hitting ‘next episode’ after all.

I started plotting my epic “comeback” and trying to do things that would reset the hell out of me. However, I also acknowledged that creating sustainable solutions, taking stock of the situation and making changes are how I would come back and stay back.

I ended up quitting my full-time job to pursue other opportunities and I’m starting to get feeling back in my hands again. It feels good.

We all need a kickstart sometimes.

With that being said, here are a few things that have historically kicked my ass into gear:

Making the decisions I’ve been putting off

This is open to interpretation, but you’d be surprised how much mental space and energy unfinished business takes up in your brain. Stop shelving shit for later. In fact, for some people (like myself), procrastinating decisions can be a form of self-sabotage.

There is no better time than now and any decision you make is the right decision, simply because it’s yours. End of story.

Cutting back drastically on things that allow me to escape

Escapism is the avoidance of unpleasant, boring, arduous, scary, or banal aspects of daily life.[2] It can also be used as a term to define the actions people take to help relieve persistent feelings of depression or general sadness.

Escapism is as easy as hitting next episode again and again or coming home after a hard week and having some beers. The sun always comes out again tomorrow and we wake to greet the same problems we escaped yesterday. It allows me to float through without reflecting. It allows me to numb myself to whatever pain I’m probably feeling.

When it’s just me and my thoughts it forces me to address them. This tactic might not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me. Especially when it comes to social media.

Doing something really really scary 

Everyday fear keeps us in line. Adrenaline reminds us that real fear is supposed to keep us safe. Jumping out of an airplane isn’t for anyone, but whatever seems scary go do it. Once in a while we all need a reminder that sometimes the only thing stopping us from feeling better is all our fears piled high. It might be riding your bike on the road, climbing the highest tree or jumping for the top bar (in Gymnastics), but do it, and even if you get hurt, take that as a lesson too. You’re still here.

Then get up, get a bandaid and say “fuck you fear you aren’t keeping me safe, you’re making me sorry.” Then smother that fear with a healthy dose of self love.

Reading a self-help book

Is it cliche? Yes. Is it cliche for a reason? Yes.

It’s usually a sign something is off in itself when I start avoiding anything that would make me reflect on my own behaviour or decisions — things like reading books that ask tough questions or meditating. Everytime I force myself to crack a non-fiction book when I absolutely don’t want to, it ends up being the encouragement I need to be better and pull myself up off the ground.

What a Time to Be Alone
Book is ‘What a Time To Be Alone’ by Chidera Eggerue

Moving

Whether it’s across the city or to another city, this a real thing that can help. I left my first apartment because my lease was up, but also because I knew I needed a fresh start and a place with air conditioning.

With this being said, no matter where you go, the pain or fear that you are carrying on your back will come with you. For me, my new space invited me in, made me feel good enough to put down the bags and become the person I always wanted to be.

Buying a red leather jacket

While I don’t typically suggest retail therapy as a solution, this jacket was what made me realize I missed colour in my life. It also made me realize I had been dressing, and living, on other peoples’ terms. LAME. Now I wear it and it represents who I really am.

Find your version of my red leather jacket and pick it up whenever you feel like you need some lightning straight to the soul. Or whenever you just wanna be a badass.

Saying “thank u, next”

Take stock of the five people you spend the most time with. Are they the squad that’s gonna help you make a successful comeback? Are they encouraging? Do they want you to do what’s right for you even if it’s not what they’d do? Do they remind you who you are in your moments of weakness? Do they call you on your bullshit, but in a kind way that keeps you accountable? If the answer is no – say thank you. Be kind, but be on your way. Now is the time to rise. You need those who will help lift you, and sometimes holding on to certain relationships means staying down.

View this post on Instagram

Tag your pals to remind them👇 @yarashahidi

A post shared by Feminist ♀ (@feminist) on

Changing my hair

Nothing like slipping into an alter-ego version of yourself by making a drastic change that takes 9 months to grow out. No but seriously, I can’t even express the amount of times I’ve used getting over the fear of a hair change to get the ball rolling on addressing my other unfounded bullshit fears.

There have even been a few times I’ve changed my hair only to realize it’s because I wanted other changes. I felt like I couldn’t grasp what I wanted or I was too scared to reach so I changed what I could control.

Moral of the story is: get the bangs, shave your head, dye your hair. It might just help you figure out where you’re at and which glowed up alter-ego you want to embrace going forward.


I thought I’d share in case anyone else is in a position where they don’t feel like themselves and are trying to find their way back.

Fuck any rhetoric that tells you going through rough patches isn’t normal and part of the damn process. Remember your setbacks fondly and don’t forget them — they literally made you who you are and gave you the ability to see things the way you see them now. Because every time we lose it, I think it makes us little bit better at figuring out how to get “it” back. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 12.44.18 PM