For many years, when people asked me what I blog about, I'd pause before jumbling together a few words about 20-somethings, Atlanta and relationships. They'd walk away and I'd stand there, wondering what the heck I actually did write about and why I couldn't explain it with more conviction.
In retrospect, it's kind of symbolic for my 20s in general. I knew, mostly, what I stood for and believed in, but, sometimes, when people who ask me to explain it, I'd get a little jumbled up. I'd get turned around and, after they'd walk away, I'd find myself wondering if I really knew who I was.
Now that I'm 30 (and almost a half!), I feel so much more secure in, not only who I am, but what I write about. In case you're new around here or have forgotten:
I wanted to remind you of a few things I hope you, dear reader, know, believe and feel when you read this blog:
1. You are enough RIGHT NOW
Not when you lose five pounds. Not when you get a better job. Not when you have a boyfriend. Right now! Right, as you are, in this moment. You are enough. You don't have to strive to be better. You are already enough. So you can stop hustling. You can rest here.
2. You deserve a relationship with good, gentle love
You deserve to be with someone who is kind to you. Who is gentle with your heart. Who pursues you. Who treats you well and loves you as you are. And, the person you're with deserves the same thing. Love is gentle, safe and reciprocal. It is not conditional. If the relationship you are in is not safe and kind, it is not healthy. And you deserve a healthy, whole relationship. Don't settle.
Pst: I love this simple illustration from Brené Brown about what love is.
3. You don't have to be perfect
Perfect is an illusion. It's a lie. I hustled for WAY too long trying to be perfect when, as it turns out, being the real version of ourselves is so much better. Perfect is tiring and boring. Also, it doesn't exist. Don't buy into the lie.
4. It's OK if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up
As humans, we're constantly changing and, hopefully, growing. If you wanted to be one thing a year ago and this year, it isn't sounding so good, that's OK. I think sometimes people forget that most of us will work for the next 40 years. Take your time finding the right path. Make changes, turn left when you thought you might go right. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to know right now what you want to be. It takes time and you don't have to be in such a hurry to matter.
5. Your worth is not in question
It's not in your work. It's not in what people say about you. It's not in how much you accomplish or how well liked you are. It's not in the trips you take or the ring on your finger.
Your worth is inherent because you were designed to exist. You don't have to prove anything. You don't have to hustle anymore. You are already worthy of love.
6. You are going to be OK
Even if everything is a nightmare right now. Even if it feels like you've lost yourself. Even if you're not sure how to put the pieces of your life back together. I've been there. It hurts. It's scary. But you can do this. You are resilient and you are brave. I believe in you.
7. Kill your dreams
Remember when you were eight and you thought you'd be married by 22 and have two kids by 27 and you'd all sit around the dinner table in your fancy house laughing and smiling at each other every night? Kill that dream.
Remember when you were 15 and you thought you'd be the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize? Kill that dream.
Remember when you were 20 and you thought you'd have an amazing career as a surgeon and own a house by 30? Kill it.
Kill it not because you can't make your dreams come true. You can! But kill the timeline. Kill the idea that you should be doing something by a certain age, because a younger version of yourself said so. Do your best. Work hard toward your goals. But don't let some fake timeline become the noose that makes it so you can't even appreciate the beauty of the season you're in now.
8. Self-care is not selfish
You only get one body. You only get one brain. You only get one soul. Be a good steward of these things. Set boundaries. Make time for rest. Go to the doctor when you are sick. Sleep. Exercise. Respect your body and mind. Listen to what they need.
And, if that feels selfish (*it's not*), remember this: when we care for ourselves better, we are able to love others better. When you are spiritually, emotionally and physically able, you can care for the people you love more wholly.
9. You are welcome here
Even if you don't believe what I believe. Even if you are struggling with the things I talk about. No matter who you are, you are welcome here.
You are loved. You are worthy. Take a deep breath. Right now. Seriously take a breath. In and out really slowly. Every day, keep breathing. Sometimes, remembering to take deep breaths is the hardest part of all.