I’ve racked my brain time and time again on how to eloquently write this piece without offending or hurting anyone, but I’ve come to realize those who take offense or choose to not to take constructive criticism or advice, well I am just not for them.
“You’re always unavailable.”
“You are so distant.”
“ You don’t call or text as much as you used”
Those are just a few of the statements that are constantly being thrown at me. Can you relate?
Yes, I have changed. I am no longer a 20 something young, college student without a care in a world, but rather a 20 something adult (rapidly approaching 30) that carries a million titles. When we first met, I was probably just a daughter, sister, friend, college student with limited cares in the world. However, over the years those titles have changed and inevitably so have I. As mentioned before, I carry a million and one titles these days but the most important two are wife and mom.
You see these titles trump everything else and are by far the most time consuming. When I took on these titles my life changed forever. No, it did not happen overnight, but over the years I began to see things in a different light.
I was 19 when I met my husband, and married by the age of 22. We welcomed our beautiful baby boy in our first year of marriage and our precious baby girl during year three. This meant we had to grow up. QUICK!
I remember jokingly saying to my friends and family, “I can’t believe I’m actually someone’s mom.” Anyone that really knows me knows I was never one to want a whole gang of kids.
If you would have told me then that I would be a wife and mom before the age of 25, I would have laughed. HARD! But here I am at the age of 28, a wife of 5 years and mother of two rambunctious toddlers.
I tried so hard to hold onto my “cool card” and not be that friend that “changed” after becoming a wife and mom. I wanted to prove to my friends that I was still down. That I could still have a life. But in reality, things did change and so did I.
I began to realize that certain things were no longer of interest or importance to me. Certain things no longer entertained me. Certain things no longer deserved my time or attention.
I found that my interest and desires changed. It was because I wanted to grow! I wanted to evolve into the best wife and mom that I could be. I wanted to focus on becoming my best self. I wanted to do this for me!
Now, I’m not sure how many of you have ever been intentional about making a conscious effort to change but let me tell you it is hard work and takes a lot of time and effort. True growth is uncomfortable and yields from uncomfortable situations. It is an emotional process. It challenges your mental toughness. It shows you who you really are and what you’re truly made of.
You have to decide to grow or seek out to better yourself. Life doesn’t stop or cater to you because you’re trying to grow. If I’m being honest, I feel as though that decision brings about various situations that would normally cause you to buckle. How else can you grow if you do not go through anything?
My decision to grow challenged me spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. I was exhausted. During this season I encountered everything you could possibly imagine. I thought I was losing my mind. I experienced back to back deaths. Felt like my marriage was falling apart. Struggled financially. Witnessed devastating pain within the church that caused me to question everything I thought I knew about Christianity. I went through repeated cycles of depression, suffered a miscarriage that I never talked about and the list goes on and on.
I felt like I had failed my growth test. I occasionally slipped back into poor habits that I knew would set me back. I didn’t care because it was comfortable for me at the time. But it was also hindering my growth.
"I knew I had to change, I had to choose courage over comfort."
During the season of growth, you will evolve in many ways and many times.
In my case, I began to find myself and my voice. I learned which traits were beneficial to me in my efforts to become my best self and which ones served as a hindrance. I made the decision that these traits had to go and if you TRULY want to experience growth, you’ll have to do the same.
Initially, I said I made this decision for me, but the truth is I made this decision for my family. I wanted my husband to be proud to have me as his wife on his arm. I wanted to become more of a breath of fresh air in our marriage. I wanted to become a better soulmate. I wanted to be so focused on fixing my vices that I wouldn’t have time to focus on his.
I wanted my children to stare at me with the same adoration as I do my mom and grandmother. I wanted to be the type of woman that I hope my sweet Kinsley grows into and that my handsome Lincston brings home one day. I wanted them to see a woman of valor and integrity. One that is nonjudgmental, caring, and selfless. In order to obtain these standards, I had to change.
The journey to be a better person can be a lonely one. You feel like no one understands what you are trying to accomplish. You will have feelings of being judged or even despised.
Friendships will challenge you and conflict may arise. You will feel like you have to justify yourself and breaking some bonds and relationships are inevitable.
I had to come to the realization that I'm not for everyone, and I'm ok with that!!!
You have to be willing to accept this as apart of your journey to grow. You are not meant to for everyone and you have to be okay with that!
The decision to seek out growth does not require an explanation. It’s not meant for everyone to understand. It is personal. It’s intimate. It is private. It’s mine! It is yours!
My decision to grow was personal, but nothing personal towards anyone. It was never my intent to become isolated or distant from once close friends. When life happens you will not always have an explanation.
The situations I have encountered on the journey may have been tough and even painful at times, but they have made me better.
I am better than negativity.
I am better than gossip.
I am better than nit-picking.
I am better than depression.
I am a better ME!
And your personal encounters will make you a better you. I mean isn’t the overall goal to become the best version of yourself?
We are not claiming to be perfect. We are all human and have our flaws.
I’m far from perfect. Truth be told, I still enjoy a good petty laugh with a cup of tea on occasion. But nonetheless, it’s just not my primary focus anymore and I refuse to apologize for that.
I’ve decided to spend my time more wisely.
I choose to do things that matter.
My focus has shifted.
My actions are more intentional.
My goals are purpose driven.
If it doesn’t pertain to my family, aspirations, personal betterment, or light entertainment I’m probably not interested!!!!
Some may think it is stupid. Some may call me boring, but at the end of the day, it is not for anyone else to decide.
These areas have my complete focus.
They can be time-consuming.
They can be exhausting.
They can even be overwhelming at times, but at the end of the day, they are worth it.
So yes, sometimes I may be distant, unavailable, or unresponsive because I have changed. It’s nothing directed personally against you. I’m growing. I’m evolving. I’m finding my way. My only hope is that one day you will understand and realize it doesn’t mean I’m intentionally trying to grow apart from you, but into a new and better me.
3 ways to stay committed to your personal decision to grow
It's hard to stay focused when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take time to see yourself living your dreams. Envision what your best self looks like. What emotions do you feel? How has your life changed for the better? These are the things that you must be able to vividly see in order stay the course when things get tough.
Life is noisy. Dedicate time to yourself to silent the noise. Now this may sound crazy to some of you, but giving yourself a chance to center your thoughts around positive things helps you to retrain your thinking patterns which allows you to shift your focus when negativity creeps up on you. It also creates a safe intimate space for you to release your cares, dream freely, and focus only on things that will yield positivity.
There's nothing to it but to do it! You made this decision to want more for yourself for a reason. Whatever that reason is cling to that! Dedicate time to your journey to grow by setting aside time to meditate, to dream, for self-care, and personal development. Dedicate time to grow!