Transition and other beasts.

Holding both. My therapist says I do a good job at this. At holding and accepting all of my circumstances, the good and the bad. "Holding both" has become something we discuss often, and consequently that phrase leaks in to many of my every day conversations with friends. If we've had any real conversations on life in the last year or so, you've probably heard me use the term.

It has become a mantra in the back of my mind. As steep emotions and wild anxieties and elaborate thoughts and depressive feelings come flooding, I often remind myself that I am allowed to hold both. Really, that it is necessary that I hold both. By that I mean that it is crucial that I identify the other side of things in the midst of my own personal hurricanes. That yes, things are hard right now. Feel that. But you absolutely must acknowledge that things are also good. It is vital.

Lately the hard thing for me is that during the transitional period that I am in, these thoughts - both the good and the bad - are coming in on smaller, much more frequent wavelengths. My typical day can go something like this. *Cue the vulnerability yuckkkk*

9am - "I hate that I had to tell someone I'm off to go nanny. That is not the career I want right now, and it makes me feel purposeless and angry. I am not proud."

9:15am - "I am growing so many things professionally right now. This is the season for that. My photography is growing. I'm about to embark on great purpose by interning with World Relief. I had a great conversation with someone about another internship opportunity the other day. Things are happening. And I'm SO lucky to have the skills and connections to nanny right now so that I can pay my bills."

11:45am - "Why haven't I seen any of my close friends in days? Why is no one available when I am? Has my friend group shrunk? How come everyone else seems to go on a happy hour date every other day? I'm not used to being this alone and unknown. I can't believe I just spent an entire day completely by myself."

12:30pm - "I just got the best text from one of my friends who just gets me. I have so many incredible people like that in my life. Summer is hard because so many of us are on different schedules. I can't imagine life without the people who know my heart best."

2pm - "I am completely struck by anxiety right now. And over what? A relationship that has put a strain on me for what seems like forever. Why would I put up with that? I must be weak if I can't have a confrontation with a person who is hurting me. That's not what I say I stand for, yet here I am, accepting it. I just want to take a nap so I can shake off the anxiety for a while. It's too much to handle."

3pm - "Most of these things are rooted in miscommunication. I know that. And I need to not jump to conclusions about someone who probably doesn't know how much anguish they are causing me. Let this go, at least for the day."

5:15pm - "When will I feel excited about my week again? I miss that."

6pm - "Look at all the amazing opportunities I've created throughout the month. I am thankful. I am proud of myself."

8pm - "I really missed out on connection today. All I did was a bunch of errands and chores. Now my day is wasted and I wish I had made plans for the evening ahead of time."

9:30pm - "It is OKAY to have a night to myself. Time for some wine, popcorn, a movie, and enjoying my new room that I've labored over putting together."

And perhaps my most vulnerable thought I can share right now...

11:30pm - "I miss my old job. I miss my coworkers. I wish I could live life with that community everyday again. I miss waking up with purpose. I hate feeling left out. This is my deepest pain in the midst of everything else I hold. Why isn't the grieving over yet?"

11:45pm - "Maybe it's okay that I feel that way."

 

And that's just the simple look into it.

Most of the time they come and go even more frequently, even happening simultaneously. It's exhausting. But even as I recognize these patterns, I recognize (see, holding both) that this period of life just looks different than others. It's transitional. I've moved, started and ended jobs whether I liked it or not, caught wind of plans for my future and also grieved things in my past. I'm incorporating new rituals and scrambling with everything I have for just a little bit of that craved idea - routine. I travelled to a new continent where everything was new and unknown, and yet when I came "home", things felt almost just as unknown as being in that foreign land.

My logical self can tell myself, "Emma, this is how things are in transitional seasons. Emotions are heightened, your plans crumble, you feel scared and apprehensive, and you just for the love of God want things to settle down. And they will. They always do."

And yet it is okay for those moments when my emotional self creeps in, even if it's fifteen times a day, and screams, "THINGS ARE NOT OKAY! I AM LONELY AND HURT AND HOW COME I DON'T HAVE MY DREAM JOB AT 23?!" Just for a hot sec.

As long as I hold both. Weaving my way through both of those processes, allowing myself to feel open and exposed and giving myself the chance to heal, change, practice gratitude, and grow more into who I am meant to be. Growing pains, man.

A photo because, isn't this supposed to be a photography website or something?

A photo because, isn't this supposed to be a photography website or something?

Emma Studley