A funny thing happened this week. You see, the idea for my website was to blog my personal experiences and vulnerable life moments in hopes that what I have been through and candidly share will inspire others to feel okay being exactly who they are. Except, the second I launched it a week ago today, I have been avoiding writing like the plague!
Funny how we open ourselves up and create platforms to share and be exactly who we want to be – and then we freak. We scare off, shy away, pick up our vices and cower away from the very thing we know in our souls we are here to do.
I know I am not alone in this feeling. So I am sitting with it, allowing myself to feel it, being patient with it – but also not letting it win. I am looking at it from all angles and still choosing to write (or attempt to) because I know that’s what my soul deeply desires.
In the recent past when I had this feeling come over me I would have let it win. I would have spewed out a few pieces on what I thought people wanted to hear instead of what I truly wanted to say. Then I would get bored. Because I get bored very easily when not inspired. And then I would simply stop doing it and search for the next way to express my passionate self.
Recognizing this about myself got me thinking. In my early to mid-twenties my dreams weren’t stopped by my fears. When I felt vulnerable or sad I would go hang out with my 4 best friends in Toronto and cry and tell them everything. They would do the same. We used to call our weekly meetings ‘The Goal Club’ and while we certainly set a platform to express our deepest dreams and desires, many that each of us are living out today – we also could have called it ‘The Cry Club’.
Don’t get me wrong, it certainly wasn’t a place to be negative and talk about all the bad things in our lives. The common goal was achieving whatever we set out to do personally and support each other through it. Find love, start a successful business, land a job or get a new apartment, heal relationships with our parents, travel, be physically fit, eat healthier – whatever it was there was no shame in stating your deepest desires to the group.
Week-to-week we would get together and talk about our wins, but more often than not – our challenges. What was getting in the way for us, where we were hitting a wall and where we felt our inner most fears exposed as we walked toward our desires. And that is where the crying came in, because it was the deepest expression of growing and facing your fears.
No one ever judged. We would all listen carefully and come up with exercises for the person sharing to complete in the week before the next meeting.
In our 20-something-year-old minds, the homework was key. The exercises, the follow through and they accountability of the group was what would bring us the life of our dreams.
Years later as a 32-year old woman who has lived out the dreams (and failed dreams) of my younger self – I know that no amount of homework can create a perfect life. That wasn’t the key. Because no amount of hustling or dream board exercises can or will make your life play out exactly how you imagine. It can help direct you, but life is life, and life cannot be controlled by a Tuesday night goal setting session with your best gal pals.
However, what I do know now is that the act of the ‘Goal Club’ is possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever been involved with.
Truthfully – when else in life can you express your deepest desires, vulnerabilities, fears and failures to a group of people, judgment free?
Since the years of sitting on Jordie’s beige L-couch for our weekly uplifting-cry sessions, we have collectively as a group been through it all.
Heartbreak, love, marriage, babies, death, life-altering illness, losing homes, buying homes, family disputes, business successes and failures – and everything in between.
The meetings stopped and our lives changed and grew and moulded – surely influenced by our early goals, but mostly the way it was meant to.
Life continued to grow and shape and teach us what it was is supposed to. But our weekly vulnerability moments stopped. And along with it that place of beauty we had created without even meaning to.
Today when I feel vulnerable about putting my own website and blog out there, I scare off easily and procrastinate. But in those bigger instances of family, love, success, money and all of the things that, let’s face it, bring us to tears from time-to-time – I’ve since experienced anxiety attacks, shame, a self-deprecating inner voice, a sense of being alone and everything else we all experience when we have feelings that we push away, ignore and don’t express.
I’m blessed to have each of these girls in my life individually (and together when our crazy schedules permit), my loving fiancé and my therapist to talk life out with.
But here’s the thing, as we get older we shelter more of our fears. I’m a pretty open book – and even I catch myself withholding a vulnerable moment from my friends on occasion, in fear of judgment and or feeling ‘less than’.
Which is what brought me to thinking about my early days of the Goal Club this week when I felt my personal resistance to writing – because something happens with age.
We put these ridiculous and unrealistic expectations on ourselves to be successful, creative, married, an equal partner and provider, a mother, a home owner with all the glorious perks (car, clothes, dining allowance, travel, etc.).
Then when we feel we haven’t lived up to our own personal standards of what life should look like at 32 (or any age) but (in our minds) our friends have – how can we possibly talk to them about it?
No one wants the ‘oh-poor-you’ feeling. No one wants to feel judged, or less than or not enough.
So instead we suffer in silence. And we all do it. And then we judge each other, even if we don’t mean to. And a we judge because at or core we are scared of being judged. It’s a horrible cycle.
But you know what… Life expectations are BULLSHIT!!!
Being grateful everyday for living the life you have is what living is all about. Dream boards don’t design your future. And ignoring and pushing away your feelings leaves you sick, broken and feeling alone.
Feel your feelings! Be vulnerable and real! And for goodness sakes, stop projecting unrealistic expectations onto yourself and others.
LONG LIVE THE CRY CLUB!