It took me a while, but I have learned to “trust the process”.
To trust my life. To trust my decisions and my instinct. To trust me.
I celebrated a minor step forward yesterday and was met with encouragement from a total stranger. “It’s all about progress!” she said, and that really is true. The beginning and end are important, but there is no story at all without the middle.
So I have learned to appreciate the frustration that comes when I try to tackle something new. The discontentment I experience when I don’t move forward as quickly as I think I should. The anger that freezes my fingers when I know what I want to say, but not how to say it. The sadness cloaked around my heart when I disappoint myself. The times when it feels like all I’m doing is treading water or running a hamster wheel. Every piece of what I go through – every lesson I learn – it all has meaning.
Those trying moments are signs of growth. They are drops in the ocean of my purpose. When I try to shortcut the process, I lose my ocean. I dry up. What I end up producing is smaller than it could have been and less great than it should have been.
Skipping to the front of the line teaches me about privilege, not patience. Letting procrastination push me around in circles ultimately means that it takes longer and more energy to get to the same destination. Anyone who creates knows the uniquely sickening sensation of avoiding the work we were born to do. When I feel that tug, that familiar pull that whispers “you should definitely be writing”, that is when it is most important that I not let anything distract me from it. Not work, not friends, not phones, not the internet. If I believe that I am a writer, then I must write. It is really that simple, and that difficult.
My focus cannot be on writing to make someone else happy.
Not on writing to improve someone else’s life.
Not writing to make an impact. Not writing to sell.
When I decided to take control of my health, I didn’t set a “size” goal. I didn’t want to lose X pounds or melt away X inches. I wanted my period back. I wanted my hormones in order. I knew that I needed to change the food I ate and move my body more, but I didn’t want to diet. I wanted to make the best decisions for me without feeling bound to a ‘clean eating’ lifestyle. I didn’t want to be branded as a weight loss or fitness expert. I didn’t want to inspire others. The only thing that changed in me is the desire to do what I already knew I should have been doing. I believed I needed to make changes that would improve my health, and so I did. It is really that simple, and that difficult.
But the process of turning my endocrine system right side up is not easy. PCOS makes your body work against you, so I have to be deliberate and consistent in my actions. I choose to eat foods that are good for my body and exercise most days. I choose to drink water. (And wine.) I see how my choices affect my health, negatively or positively. I see muscles developing that I haven’t used in years. I feel my energy increasing every week. I can tell that I sleep well and need less of it. My knees don’t creak and snap as much.
Trying to shortcut this process would have meant losing weight quickly and relatively easily through surgery or pills or whatever new concoction big pharma has come up with lately. It would have meant looking thinner, but not better. It would have meant that I didn’t go through the shit I needed to go through in order to really understand my body. And it probably would have meant getting my period back, but not through my own work.
It all goes back to trusting myself. I know that I have good sense. I understand the things I’ve messed up – and not just how I messed up, but how I got in those situations to begin with and how I can avoid them in the future. I am critical of myself, but not unfair. I am resilient. I know that I can do anything, but I also know how to lean on friends and family when I really need them. I trust my process. I trust the life that I’ve been given.
Most importantly, I am not afraid of setbacks or failure. I am only afraid of dying a puddle instead of the ocean I was built to be.