When Adele’s record “25” first came out, I listened to it on repeat in my car for three months straight. If there’s anyone who can write a love ballad that sends chills down your spine, or make your heart hurt so hard, or cause river rapids to flow from your eyeballs, it’s Adele.
I hadn’t listened to that album through in awhile. But I sat in a car for six hours the other day driving under the starry night sky, and when I finally got tired of the road trip playlist I had originally put together, I hit shuffle. And there she was serenading me with the most earnest and beautiful melodies. I just kept thinking about how much heartbreak and emotions and sobbery (yes, I just made that word up) could be delivered on eleven, three to five minute tracks. Apparently, it’s a lot. But as much sorrow and pain there is written in between the lines of her lyrics, it is also a record about self-evaluation and human growth. It is a record about breaking free from the things in life that could hold you back from the person you could potentially become.
There are seasons of resting. There are seasons of settling. There are seasons of going full-fledge pushing towards something you have your eyes fixated on; running wildly. And then, there are seasons of becoming.
Adele writes about the lover who broke every promise. She writes about unrequited love, and love that changes. And she also writes about an impossible love where there’s nothing left to do but to retreat, step back, and resign from it even if you are still in love. That’s a lot of love to write about, but I imagine that for “25,” Adele didn’t just wake up one morning and decide: I’m going to write an entire album dedicated to every single time my heart exploded into a million pieces or when I got stabbed straight in the center of it. I imagine maybe it was more like waking up in the mornings feeling a bit un-purposed because she wasn’t living a full life. Instead, she was going through the motions of a half-lived life with pounds upon pounds of built up baggage, haunted by ghosts past she couldn’t quite let go of yet.
A lot of strange things have been happening in life lately. Not like, “Stranger Things” status because there are no eleven year olds with super mind powers in this particular narrative. But it’s still been strange enough. On the normal human scale: there’s been some heartbreak, ridiculous amounts of life re-evaluation, detoxing, de-cluttering, and removing people and pieces of my life that I don’t necessarily want to get rid of but know I really should. The weight of the world feels extremely burdensome, and seeing all of its brokenness clashes with the empathy in me, and the chaos just makes my heart heavy. One of those strange things also included me spending a week agonizing over a pseudo-phone interview and a resume that I had sent out after the phone conversation in hopes of landing a job position I didn’t intentionally seek out. It’s a long story, but when I saw an open door and an opportunity, I maximized all the resources I had for it, even if it was a job that might have been a 9-5. The thing about me is that I never really tell people I’m sending out resumes for things, or have interviews because I like to remain low-key like that. But mainly, it’s because of situations like this where I do tell some people and ask them to pray for me if they think of me. I go through with the emotions of putting even an ounce of hope into something and then I’ll wake up in the morning with an email notification on my phone that reads:
We have received feedback regarding your resume. And although they liked your experience and background, they have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time.
SO CLOSE. Well shoot, that’s never fun. And then I spend the rest of the day sitting in bed word barfing, dispensing thoughts about rejection and being unwanted, and essentially not feeling good enough. I hate it, because I know it’s not true at all. But disappointment does that to you sometimes. It somehow creeps in and makes you think about your self-worth, even if it’s only a thirty second commercial. It tells you how messy everything is—how your bed isn’t made, your desk has too much crap on it, and that you need to figure out your health insurance drama. It tells you that everything feels unstable, and that you’re failing because your room is too unorganized and piled from floor to ceiling with things that don’t actually matter to you. It tells you that you need to hurry it up and get it together, then continue to keep it together for the rest of your life.
I don’t want to waste anymore of my time trying to “get it together.”
For some reason, I’ve convinced myself that when I finally “get it together” everything will be just fine. You know, like when the finances are easy or my studio space is complete or when I’m married with children and have the dream job. But then I think, at what point in life, does anyone ever feel like they have it all together? And in the midst of trying to get it together, how much I have missed out on in my life, and those close to me. Maybe it’s the tiredness in me speaking. Or maybe, I just hit a realization of how much I have neglected because I have spent so much of my time piling on busyness trying to prove something.
For most of my life, I have deeply invested in my GSD degree. I call it that, and I use it all the time. I’m known to “get shit done”. I’ve spent so many hours devoting myself to things and then following through with them so that the world could see that I am capable.
The ultimate lie I believed was that I needed to hustle in order to matter, I needed to keep grinding in order to be accepted, and I needed to produce results in order to be loved.
This world tells you to fight and be aggressive, that you have to throw down bitch fits and walk with authority in order to get the things in life that you want. They tell you to be cold, to act hard, to talk yourself up and fake it ‘til you make it.
Do you know what that does to a person? Let me answer that one for you. It drains you. It tires you out. And it slowly removes any smidge of compassion you might have in your body.
For me, I’m beginning to think it is a season of BECOMING. Don’t ask me what that means. I have no idea what that means yet, honestly. I just know it’s somewhere I can start—whether it looks like changing mindsets or de-cluttering material belongings in my life or to stop chasing certain things and to preserve energy for what is deserved. I just want to move towards becoming the person God has specifically created me to be. Whatever “it” is: taking new classes, risks, traveling, moving, doing new things, or changing up my routine, I just want to live a life that is full and that I can be proud of.
I’m learning to float instead of fight.
I’m learning that I need to rest on the surfaces of waters instead of jumping into raging seas to wrestle with the waves.