Why Living Your Best Life May Also Mean Living Uncomfortable
Who said it was going to be easy?
March 19, 2018 at 11:21 pm
Grateful is an understatement for how I feel towards the community that lifts me up. “Makisha, you are living your best life,” they say. There was no shortage of pats on the backs, likes, shares and “yaaas girl!". It’s real fabulous and humbling that my peers recognize me as a boss chick, but I’m going to be real with you. For so long I’ve looked up to women who are thriving in their careers, and even my own peers, constantly asking myself, how in the world did they amass such success? And now, it’s funny how folks look up to me and give me all the hype. While I’m getting better at internalizing/soaking in the compliments and praises, I realize I have deeper work to do that I went so long without addressing. Don’t let this million dollar smile fool you, boo. Your girl is really sitting in life’s classroom scrambling to take the best notes possible.
Growing up in Miami, the world I experienced is possibly quite different than you can imagine. I have an amazing family of go-getters, boss friends and beaches that are less than a 15-minute drive away. Although it looked like I was thriving, I couldn’t help but recognize this nagging feeling of dissatisfaction. Something wasn’t right. In the depths of my existence, something was off-balance. What I realized is that I was trying to, and successfully, living up to the image that everyone perceived of me. I always crafted my Facebook posts the right way. I even made sure to scour the internets for the most uplifting quotes to continue to inspire my followers. But then one day, I realized things weren’t poppin’ off like I wanted them to. I started posting less and that momentum died down. Matter of fact, it came to a screeching halt. When all the hype died down and I was forced to face myself, I didn’t recognize me.
Why did I feel so lost without a cause? One time, my father told me that I didn’t need to buy a car and, instead, should get a plane because I traveled so much. As I write that on my bucket list, I think about how everyone has that one friend who spontaneously buys domestic and international flights to “find their life,” re-group and then come back with fresh energy. Well, this time I took it to another level and with only two months worth of rent, I decided to move to Washington D.C. from the sunshine state, smack dab in the middle of winter.
OK, maybe it was not the most well thought out move, but sometimes you gotta jump all in. What they don’t teach you in school though is how to take calculated risks. With too much time to think, you’ll retreat back to what feels comfortable.
Your girl was on all levels of uncomfortable. By week three, I was crying myself to sleep, thinking of finding the nearest homeless shelter and applied to work as a server. I was out here exhausting all my options. And although I still have questions that need answers, I’m happy to share three things I’ve learned so far:
1. Find your inner voice and learn to listen to it.
I’m not talking about Sally the Stomach that haunts you every time you go for a Georgetown cupcake. I’m talking about the real you that used to, and hopefully still does, dream. The one that danced in the mirror as a little girl or got excited about science projects as a kid. The voice that was always positive and believed in the impossible.
You’re probably grown now and have been slap-boxed by reality and logic. But, stay with me now, even with the reality that life is not all rainbows and unicorns, realize that you’ve made it this far. You made the decision to get up in the morning and conquer the day. Spend more time listening to that voice. Your own voice.
2. Even if your situation doesn’t change, change your perspective.
Moving to a new city with no job prospect is pretty risky, but quite interesting if you like a challenge. While Washington D.C. proper is one of the most expensive cities to live in the United States, I managed to find a way to dry up my savings, but still be afloat. The restaurants I applied to never got back to me about bussing, but I found myself in administrative positions with some dope organizations. Again, not where I wanted to be, but guess who learned how to make expense reports and requisitions? She did, boo! She is me, and she can be you too.
You. Are. NOT. Your. Career.
Say that in the mirror three times fast. Now say it slowly. Good job. Internalize that joint. The thriving women I talked about at the beginning of this piece have had some perspective-changing experiences that have brought them much contentedness, despite. So I encourage you to do the same.
3. Take off your cape for a second and plug in deeper with your tribe.
I’ve experienced extreme periods of loneliness during my move. I thought I had to rely only on myself during this transition. Although listening to your internal voice requires solitude, having your tribe support you emotionally and spiritually is one of the best things you can do during a transition. Yes, that means picking up the phone and calling. This means being vulnerable. Take off the cape, put superhuman on pause and cry. Share your frustrations with your ladies and your boys. Believe it or not, that is self-care too — admitting that things are hard and not going according to plan as you so hoped. But, you got this. I know you do.
Living your best life isn't always glamorous. Life is a journey and you have some interesting sights to see on the way, both good and not so great. Out of all things I experienced here in D.C. so far, nothing can compare to this.
I'm just gonna let Kelly, from Insecure, tell you: