Loud and Proud

Over the past few days I have debated about creating this post, about taking the thoughts in my head and putting them into a concrete summary. I’ve never been known for my ability to be humble but for some reason, spending the time to write, edit, and publish a piece focused on nothing but myself seemed egotistical and self-serving. I thought, maybe I’ll just write it in my personal journal but that might as well stay a thought secluded from everyone around me. And then I realized that there should be no shame in posting something themed with a positive self image and pride of my accomplishments. I never second guess writing a piece filled with my negative thoughts or criticism toward an aspect of society or self but when it came to explicitly writing my accomplishments and the pride I feel toward myself, I couldn’t do it. There is something wrong with that. So here I am, being loud, aggressive and proud of who I am.

As some of you may know, I recently moved across the country for no other reason than to chase an opportunity outside of my comfort zone alongside my best friend. I was given criticism, doubts, and negative feedback. I was told I wouldn’t be happy, I wouldn’t find a job, and that moving for a boy was naive. And I want to say thank you to those of you who set the standard so low for me and my success.

I have done over five years of research on the child’s brain, have a degree in human development, and have witnessed first-hand the resiliency young humans have when presented with change. The plasticity of the brain and the adaptability of the personalities is admirable. It is theorized and somewhat supported that as we grow older, it becomes more and more challenging to adapt to change because of pathways in our brains. It’s like walking the same path over and over again until the Earth is eroded beneath our footsteps. We form habits and those habits erode our brain until it is muscle memory: the way we think, the way we act, the way we respond to change. We try to find a path we have already made so the emotional response is lessened.

But we do so by choice. We choose the path of least resistance so we don’t have to respond outside of our comfort zone. That my friends, is where all of your negative responses stemmed from- the use of negativity over and over again in your brain. Change can be scary but you chose to respond by walking down the path of least resistance by offering criticism instead of pride and excitement.

At the same time that our brains are creating overused walkways with our thoughts, it is simultaneously growing egocentric and competitive. We have a hard time recognizing the blessings those around us have received. Few of us are able to utilize or have created pathways for praising others because we are so focused on our own negative ways of life.

Luckily, my competitive neurology has given me an ultimatum: listen to them and fail or make that move and succeed. Guess what kiddos, I’m killin it. I hate that I second guessed whether this was the right thing to do, hate that I questioned if I was brave enough to succeed 1300 miles from home. All I had to do was choose to be happy, choose a new pathway and it was SO EASY. It is so easy to be open-minded and positive. It is so easy to take an environment of unknowns, strangers, and what-ifs and turn it into a land of opportunity. We just have to make an active choice in walking the pathways our brain chooses to take over and over again.

I was scared to write this post in fear of sounding egotistical or like I was better than my readers simply because I’m choosing to be happy. That’s not what I’m saying whatsoever. What I am saying is we should not be scared to be proud of ourselves, to brag about things we are doing well, to accept change and flourish amongst it. We should not be scared to create new pathways in our brain based on positive thoughts and pride for others. We are just as plastic and flexible as our younger counterparts, we are just stubborn in our ways. It is a choice and we have to make it every single day.

With that being said, I power through daily depression and anxiety attacks. It isn’t easy uprooting everything you have ever known for a city in the Deep South. Feel each of your emotions as deeply as possible whether it is positive or negative but do not become a victim of circumstance. Choose to succeed and choose to create a prideful pathway in your mind for yourself and for others. It’s easier than you think to change and to accept change.

I feel like I’m missing something

I still haven’t felt it. That overwhelming sense of fear or uncertainty. I haven’t felt that pit in my stomach that accompanies the trip down a road unknown.

As I was packing my bags and deciding what was most valuable for me to take on my journey across country, any emotion was replaced by a to-do list of things to see, people to hug, and stuff not to forget.

Every hug, every tear shed by a person I hold close to my heart was met with a quick ‘but this isn’t goodbye.’ Or ‘I’ll see you soon.’ I never felt like I was losing someone-simply just adding mileage in between sightings.

I thought I was in denial. Scared to come to terms with the idea that I was leaving everything I have ever known and called home goodbye. I figured it would hit me on the final drive away from my moms house or at least after posting a goodbye photo of my beautiful city. But it didn’t. Ok- maybe it would come in the car ride across the country when I could see nothing but grass and clouds, never knowing what the next mile was gonna bring. It didn’t. For sure when I woke up in a new house on my very first morning, a new city, a new life, I would cry.

But I didn’t. And at first I didn’t understand why. I should be nervous and scared about a life changing move, a new relationship, a new everything. I should be scared of not knowing anyone in this city and not being 15 minutes from my mom at any given time. But I didn’t.

I felt and feel excited and almost at home amongst the uncertainties. I know I have a man next to me that loves and supports me. I know I have the ability and determination to succeed anywhere and I know that life is meant to explore and love and meet as many new people as possible. Life isn’t about comfort or succeeding within a boundary but for pushing those boundaries and doing whatever it is that feels right and makes your heart beat a little bit faster. It’s about being happy with who and where you are.

I realized, while unpacking my everyday clothes into a foreign closet that I’m succeeding at that life I just described. And maybe the reason I am so comfortable and content and not overwhelmed by this transition is because I know it’s the right thing to be doing. I feel proud of myself and so ready for this next chapter. And that shouldn’t be a foreign feeling- for any of us. Cheers to all your next adventures and the emotions felt while experiencing them.