I’ve spent the last eight years sharing my life with the Internet.
… Well, with the exception of the last 30 days.
I haven’t published a blog post in a month. A full month!
I think it’s time to finally crack open this can of mess and get real with y’all — and explain a bit why I so badly needed the break.
My life is in shambles.
I almost have to laugh when I type it, because it’s taken me so long to come out and say it. I’m exhausted. I feel like an annoying song that’s stuck on repeat, but I’m so sick of overanalyzing everything I do, text, tweet, say.
I’m not complaining when I say “I’ve spent eight years sharing a lot of my life with the internet” — hell, I’ve made a career out of it.
But it was starting to ruin my life.
Aaaaaanyway. Time to peel back the mask:
It’s been 14 months since I lost my job at SoulCycle, and since then I’ve just floundered around aimlessly.
Like, I’ve accomplished nothing.
It sounds cheesy, but losing a job — especially one you loved — is a loss. And in retrospect, that’s how I took it.
Might as well rip off that band-aid, while we’re at it:
I know I told you I would talk more in-depth about SoulCycle — and I will, in contexts such as this — but I think it’s gotten bigger than it needs to be. And, truthfully… I don’t want to — or see a need to anymore.
On the one hand, it’s embarrassing and painful to dig up the past, document your mistakes and analyze ways it could’ve gone down differently. And on the other, it honestly feels self-indulgent.
SoulCycle is a wonderful, empowering community — and I will always be grateful for and proud of the path it led me to. It holds a really, really special place in my heart. I found so much fulfillment in having the opportunity to create that experience for other people, too. And I don’t want to change that.
Que sera sera.
Someday soon I’ll get around to updating that post — I haven’t wanted to re-read it (or figure out how to change the narrative in it). Hmmm…
Anyway, when that chapter ended abruptly, I was devastated.
As we do as humans, I craved some form of closure — and wasted so much of my energy trying to get it. I couldn’t escape an onslaught of scrutiny, which came from both directions — outward and inward. If you recall, that’s when I went to Europe and ended up staying for almost two months.
That trip was amazing — and I gained so much perspective — but when I returned home it was as though everything was here waiting for me. Like, I’m talkin’ on the fucking tarmac.
… Okay, maybe at baggage claim.
Still, life went on (as it does). I had good days, of course — weeks, even! — but deep down I knew I was unraveling.
And all of a sudden, it swallowed me whole.
Identity is a funny thing.
It kinda exists in the background of your life — and you aren’t even aware of it until something drastic happens or changes.
So, what happens when your identity is so closely tied to a job or a relationship — and those things go away?
First, it’s kinda like how you feel when Novocain at the dentist wears off.
Then you start to feel like you’re in a free-fall.
The lowest place to find yourself isn’t rock bottom, my friends; it’s one step above that — where you’re still there trying to hold on to something.
It’s like trying to force the wrong piece of a puzzle into place. It ain’t gonna work.
Here’s where it gets sexy:
Over time, I barely began to recognize myself. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted to do anymore, which made it hard to commit to anything.
So I didn’t. I kept on floundering.
I kept waiting for my A-ha! moment — kinda like when you say “diet starts tomorrow.” But it never came.
Meanwhile, a family dynamic had shifted. I blew through a lot of my savings. I went through a breakup. A year later, another one. I started teaching again at a new fitness studio, but seven months later I was let go. I drifted apart from some of my dearest friends. I felt worthless. I filled the void with a handful of vices.
Throughout my floundering, the feeling that I had “an audience” made me feel hypersensitive, paranoid and resentful.
Blogging suddenly felt like a job — one that most days, I just couldn’t rally myself to do. Even though it was my fucking job, people!
“Just a phase,” I thought. Brushed it off.
And here’s where it gets super sexy:
Some days, I felt like my mind was actually disconnected from my body.
I blogged (a bit), posted on Instagram, and kept goin’ through the motions. Easy enough. I thought I’d reached a turning point a few months ago, but I found myself back on autopilot many days…
Keeping up this charade of aspirational authenticity started to wear on me.
I lost a lot of weight. And motivation. I was distant and withdrawn. I no longer found pleasure in things I used to love doing. (It took me two panic attacks and 11 solid weeks to get back into exercising.)
Sometimes, I holed up in my apartment for days at a time. On weekends, I’d stay out until sunrise. I developed an intense social anxiety. I was ruining some of my business relationships, but I couldn’t seem to care. I was too stressed out to open my inbox, so I didn’t.
Sleeping became a “solution” for debilitating stress — when I wasn’t tossing and turning with insomnia. Television did too; I craved the safety in completely zoning out over a TV series. I remember one day where the only conversation I had was with Netflix, asking me “Are you still there?” I think I went two weeks without emptying my dishwasher. I’d have to re-wash most of my laundry loads since I’d completely forget about them.
I wanted to scream “WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?” but instead, felt mute.
I felt trapped — but strangely, scarily, content. Indifferent. I suppose that seemed easier than the alternative. (Which was, uh… what, exactly? I was still figuring that out.)
For as long as I could, I pretended that nothing was different — or that everything was as it seemed on social media. I had no idea what to do or how to ask for help, because I didn’t (yet) understand it myself.
And so, the domino effect ensued — personally, romantically, professionally and financially.
Rinse and repeat.
You know the pit you get in your stomach when a cop suddenly pulls behind you on the highway?
Or that white-knuckle hell your brain can’t escape when you’re on a plane bouncing through some never-ending turbulence?
That’s pretty much how the last year has felt.
That may seem dramatic; but I’m just speakin’ my truth.
I haven’t been diagnosed, but I suspect all of this related to a condition that I’ve only recently recognized, accepted and embraced: Depression.
We hear these scary, ugly words like “depressed” or “anxiety disorder” and think they’ll never apply to us. But there I was — and there were many days I was in deep.
Contrary to what you might have heard, depression isn’t some feeling of intense sadness — it’s simply the absence of joy. It’s pretty fucking awful.
It took me awhile to realize how normal (and necessary) this next part is. That is to say…
It’s okay to disappear for a little while.
Getting your shit together is self-care.
Which is exactly what I did 30 days ago. When life takes it course and you’re forced to recalibrate how yours looks, everything else goes out the window.
I spent it almost entirely offline. (Yes, really!) I even deleted Instagram from my phone — but I’m saving that part for a separate post that I’ve been writing — subscribe here to get new post alerts so you don’t miss it.
It’s amazing to see how things fall into place when you stop trying to control them. Almost like you’re throwing up your hands and saying, “Okay universe; do your thing.”
In all honesty, I think we’re all struggling to share the parts of our story that actually make us human. (Despite the fact that social media was designed for that very purpose.)
But as the saying goes, “the truth will set you free;” as terrifying as that may seem.
I don’t have all of the answers, but I get it. We’re on the same page. And I do have all of the music. (Wink!)
I know I’m leaving this a bit open-ended, but that’s kinda where I’m at right now — in between chapters, so-to-speak.
A quick note to those of you who have stuck by me for the good, the bad and everything in between over the last eight years, thank you so much. What a ride, huh?
Even if you’ve only stopped by recently or just to read this post, I’m grateful you did. If you’d like, you can click here to subscribe via e-mail — we’ll be continuing this conversation for awhile and that way you’ll never miss a post. (No spam, promise.)
One last thing: It goes without saying, but I am not a certified professional or clinical psychologist — just someone who hopes to help by sharing her experience.
But I do have a lil bit of Buddha in me:
Here’s to embracing our real, raw, fucked up narratives.
… And hey, maybe your world has to flip upside down for you to figure out what’s actually right side up.
To be continued… At last. : )