I am embarking upon a very ambitious project. I am rewinding everything back to eighteen. This may be a different year for you, but for me, it was the age I felt most in control of my life, dreams and direction. It was also the year, despite great, heart-wrenching loss, that my vision was laser-focused–the remedy for anything I had to endure–the only way I knew I would come out standing on the other side of it all.
In these recent chapters of my life, I have endured things comparable to the losses I had experienced in my past, but my focus had shifted. My focus became more situational than purpose-driven. For example, I created a pattern of dwelling on the hurt and the pain, which kept me stuck in those places, for decades. It is a pattern I am breaking with everything that it takes within me, because it needs to be. It does not serve to keep doing things the way I have done them—this pattern and its results are clear.
It was this disease of the soul that was at the heart of my up and down battle with weight. At my heaviest, I was over 200lbs. To some this may seem like a lot, while to others it may seem that it isn’t much on my 6’1” frame, but to me it was part of the great lie I was living. I was not healthy. It had nothing to do with vanity, fashion, or anything like that, but was the perfect shield. It was a way that I could become invisible. I bought clothes that swallowed up any figure I had, and retreated more and more into myself. I took on the role of being subservient to my own life. Since nothing seemed even close to normal at the time, what would it matter if I let myself go?
This devaluing myself bled into everything I did. Even though I positioned myself as the “queen of being of service to others”, I was doing everything that I did not want to do. Overscheduling gave me less and less time to think about my own pain, and most importantly, lie to myself that I didn’t have the time to put myself in a starring role. Because I had put such a low value on myself, something I never would’ve even considered at eighteen, it gave others carte blanche to reinforce this belief.
One day, when I was in the middle of the eye of the storm, I asked myself one question;
“Trina, what do you love to do?”
I drew a complete blank and scrambled to fill it. Did I really take myself to a place where I let the actions and demands of others dictate where I ended up in life? After this, I would intentionally position myself in an observational arena—during normal, everyday conversations—and realized that this low valuation was being spoken back to me. Basically the message was, don’t reach too far, just settle for this, and this is just who you are. I was insulted by this, but understood that it was I, who placed this ridiculously low clearance tag on my own life. I was accepting what my eighteen year old self would have scoffed at.
I am chasing eighteen. I am not listening to outside voices or my inner critic—designed to keep me safe, but a little too safe. I am listening to that growing voice from my eighteen year old self. When it comes down to it, I really like her, and this is why her wisdom is needed.
She says what she means and means what she says. She knows how to have fun and not take herself too seriously. She has an unapologetic style that doesn’t swing on the whims of fad or fashion. She is comfortable in her own skin. She is aware of her emotions and celebrates them, instead of asking permission to express them. She realizes that her life is hers to live and give if she so chooses. She has an amazing circle that loves her for who she is, even when her life and decisions are considerably less than Pinterest perfect.
The eighteen year old me, is fearless although she is not flawless. She is perfectly imperfect and focused on a matching life and loves. She is more discerning when putting on her superhero cape. She understands the power of no, and relishes the sensuality of yes. She wants to live and not just exist to make others comfortable with their lives and her decisions.
I am chasing eighteen because it is when I felt the most powerful. It is when I saw the possibilities and not the problems. It is the only answer to where I am right now–rewinding in order to move forward.
Therefore, my sights are set on home, with only the map of my past to guide me.