I recently discovered a new artist on Spotify by the name of Nicole Nordeman, and the song that spoke to me was called, “The Sound Of Surviving.” One line in this song really got to me. “These pieces / the ones that left me bleeding. Intended for my pain / became the gift you gave to me. I gathered those pieces into a mountain. My freedom is in view / I am stronger than I knew.” There is something about life that can really show us our hopes, dreams, and our fears all at once.
When I was 18 years old, I couldn’t wait to start my life like everybody else around me. College, majors, leaving home for the first time etc. Soon I would come to realize that the rearview mirror that used to hold my future self in its sights turned into a fishbowl that kept me swimming in circles for a long time. I don’t what it was, or when the exact moment was that the yearning for what everyone else had stopped, but it did. I am grateful.
I am not that 18-year-old girl anymore. People talk about evolving like it’s a magic trick. But honestly, for me it’s been as simple as growing up and growing out of things, and yes, even people. It’s true that life’s heartbreaks can play a part, but it’s not the only part. After 35 years on this planet, I can say that I have learned to put myself and my heart on reserve for the people and things that matter to me.
Since I began my work with my blog, The Abler, I have learned to embrace change more. I let the fear and what ifs slide off to the side, and if I am still hesitating over something I still do it anyway. The worst that can happen is that I get told no. In this year alone that rearview mirror turned fishbowl has turned into fragile stained glass.
I feel like I have a newfound clarity. I know what and who matters. My reaction to the past is not regret, but rather “Oh well.” I even have that newfound stance when it comes to the people I used to have in my life. I think it’s funny to think back now on how much I used to obsess over people, and how I wanted to be liked by them. Now, I realize that when people show you their true colors the first time, believe them. And that means some people’s colors are muddy puddles of s***.
I survived a lot in my life, and I continue to do so. My pieces may be made from a very steep mountain, but I know the view will be beautiful beyond words. I have learned to carry a golf-sized umbrella for the s*** storms and monsoons ahead. And I can say that I have more than one great person with me for the climb.
If I had to tell the 18-year old me anything it would be: It will take a while for you to finally find your voice and stand strong on the inside with it. Be patient with yourself. Keep that sense of self close to the vest. You will have regrets. You’ll eventually learn to let them go; life will teach you the truth about that. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride, and the bumps will only get bumpier as you go… Don’t brace for the impact; it won’t help.
You will find love. What will that be like? Quoting Dr. Seuss: “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” Yeah, it will be just like that. Fraught with challenges, but nothing worth having in this life is ever easy. And the love of your family will become even stronger over time. I know that sounds cliché right now, but I promise the reasons and events that come to pass are anything but. You will grow up to be your own person, the woman you were meant to be in this world. And your voice is what the world needs to hear.
And it will. Trust yourself. Your heart will take some unbelievable hits. But those hits will come with some amazing lessons and experiences that will change you for the better. Remember that when your heart gets put through the ultimate game of tug-of-war. And lastly, you got this. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
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