Editor’s Note .013: Bright Eyed

Image by  Michael Tucker

If you asked me three years ago if I was happy, I’d probably tell you yes. But, this would be before the bed I didn’t know I was making was calling me to sleep but when it was time to get up, I pressed snooze one too many times. Most things about me looked good. Five stars even. A good Instagram feed, a size 0 wardrobe, cool projects to humble brag about, and a “good” reputation. If it looked liked I had it all together I must’ve, right? Little did I know there was a chip on my shoulder holding on for dear life, ready to fall off at any given moment. Why question anything when everything was so comfortable? As long as the perception was positive, it was all good!

At that time and even to this day I’m not sure why people floated in my direction even if we had no personal interactions or real bonding. Regardless: friendship request accepted. No one makes good decisions by basing relationship potential on the “because of” criteria. Because he/she sent a friendship request, that’s why! It’s no wonder I threw toddler-sized fits when some didn’t pan out. Hmpf! It was because of!

Had I evaluated circumstances on capability and values as thoroughly as I did with my significant other, I would’ve made more “successful” decisions, but I’d probably still be asleep. The thing is: just as quickly as the applause flooded in, so did the silence when feathers were ruffled. I never realized how fragile I was and how much social anxiety motivated my passiveness.

It was awfully good timing. Thirty-year-old me was overdue for some good self-reflection to unpack learned behaviors and think through some healthier strategies. I completely shifted my approach. Instead of rationalizing why I should invest energy into a space using because of, I actively defend the case in spite of to truly test my commitment. For example, do I continue to chip away at my dreams in spite of past failures? Do I marry my best friend in spite of our cultural differences? Do I invest in friendships in spite of my anxiety? Do I raise my son based on what I feel is best in spite of societal norms? Yes, yes, yes, yes to all. Not because of one single thing but despite all of the things that could go wrong. Even more, the right people stuck by despite of it all. Hello, Taylor Swift’s ‘Delicate’.

So often we’re beat down and grow bitter from experiences that are critical to our own evolution. I’ve discovered it’s when we’re tested to our emotional limits that we’re liberated. I can now approach almost everything with the same bright eyed optimism I had as a little girl.

It’s with that very optimism, we launch our 13th issue! Much more coming soon.

xo, Juley