Breathe and Exhale

I always assumed that the best writers only write stories of anguish, pain, disappointments. Maybe because all the greatest books I’ve read, came from a place of darkness where characters would live out their worst fears and desire to change.
I remember a time when I only wrote when I was unhappy or lost or when I was unable to explain my emotions within the hour.

I’ve come to the realization that I haven’t written in a while. While I can blame it on my hectic schedule (part time job, full time masters, friends, family, etc.), I think much of the reason I haven’t sat down to write is because I’ve changed. Writing no longer encompasses my sad truths or reliving past experiences.

I remember having off days where I would have a perfect day at work, school, home. But somehow would end my day with a cloud of lost feelings and lack of satisfaction. I would turn on the news and hear stories of starving refugees and war, and think to myself, “What do you have to be sad about?”

I think it’s a feeling we all go through. How do you determine that your life, or feelings, really matter in a world of complexity? It was the answer to this question, that allowed me to finally be free of my thoughts.

It started with me removing all aspects of my life that made me unhappy. As a shy, not outspoken woman, I knew my first step was to confront past emotions, things I had continued to hold on to. So I started with my father. Then moved to my ex-lover, and ended with friends who I had lost over the years. I cannot explain the feeling of removing parts of my life that were floating. It was as if I removed the blockades from a road.

Next, I began to learn the powerful importance of “no.” I began to self-reflect on what was important to me. And in the long run, I had to understand that no matter what I did, someone would disagree, be unhappy for me, or be hurt. I had to let go. My life was in no other hands but my own and I needed to stop living for others approval.

I then decided to repair what was good in my life. I strengthened my relationship with my family and closest friends who I knew would be around for years to come. I repaired my relationship with people I held grudges with. And lastly, I repaired my relationship with myself. I began looking at myself differently. Instead of analyzing my faults and regrets, I began to appreciate myself. Just myself as it is, bare and human.

Lastly on my road to being free, I reflected not on the past or things I could not change, but rather on what lies ahead. It took me realizing that while I may not be satisfied with my current job, or relationships, or financial burdens, that these minor factors would ultimately not make a difference in years to come. I began to let go and stopped worrying about things that were out of my control.

And in doing all these things, I also found a new spirituality and connection with life. I began to appreciate small things like music and food, things we often take for granted and dispose of without looking the other way. I began reading extensively and dancing (even embarrassingly) without a care. I stopped caring what people perceived and rather cared about those who were interested in my persona.

I stopped writing because I began to realize that my life was full of so many stories ahead, yet I was too ignorant and unsatisfied to realize it. So if you’re at a dead end, or simply regretting how your life has turn out, start with the basics. What makes you write? What keeps you breathing in the morning? What is it that makes you happy? Trust me.

And soon you’ll be writing again. But this time, it will be stories of unfounded worlds, and love, and all the in between where you left a dark moment to find true happiness.

Just inhale. Exhale. And begin.

-CLH

 

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