Transitional Periods & Becoming Your Best Self
Updated: Feb 15, 2020
The first time I had a transitional period, I remember I thought I'd hit rock bottom. It's funny to think back on this, because I was only in middle school, I most definitely hadn't hit my worst yet. But at the time, it definitely felt like I had. Our worlds are pretty minuscule at this point.
Back then it was considered "cool" to Google each others names to see what would come up. This was when we all used PC's in school, and had a whole period devoted to "typing class." One of my classmates decided to Google me, thinking the only thing that would come up was my Myspace page most likely talking about Twilight (judge me), or some array of photos with me doing the peace sign (throw back) instead it showed a missing persons report.
"Hey Bianca did you know you were kidnapped?" Were the words that sent me into a moment of pure anxiety. My dad was called, I went home early that day, only to learn that I was two years old when I was kidnapped by my Mom. She'd had a psychotic break of sorts and took me to Germany. One year later, I was found and my father was granted full custody of me.
At the time, I was as upset as anyone might be who realized their world has just been flipped upside down. Communication was never a strong suit for my family one might say. It was difficult to know what emotion I had to feel first. Here's what I learned from most of my transitional periods. I almost always hate them in the moment. I call this first instinct: the heartbreak moment.
Your chest feels like its closing in on you, you might cry...a lot. You feel something so intense that I think can only best be described as pure agony. You might self-pity, you might even think the words "Why am I not enough?" or unfortunately, the very common, "Why did this have to happen to me?" This is usually due to a break-up, or a moment where your world is flipped, perhaps someone has passed away, or a friendship ends. Whatever it is, this is a period where the pain demands to be felt. For some, this period can last months or years. Sometimes people become numb first before feeling everything they need to feel. For others, it might only be days or weeks.
Everyone is different and however it is for you, just know it's okay to take the time you need. Comparing your healing to someone else's will only be detrimental in the end, it speaks to yourself in ways you may not even be aware of. For me, when I tried to rush the healing, I didn't realize I was internally telling myself that I wasn't feeling like I was enough. I was lonely, so I rushed it to get myself to where I wanted to be, instead of where I needed to be.
The heartbreak moment is unique in that we feel all these emotions at once, it almost becomes overwhelming. Which is why often enough, it leads us to do stupid things. You might dye your hair, go out drinking, and end up with some random stranger. When I was in middle school, I decided to just be an asshole. My period of healing from all the emotion that was thrown at me that day just became too much for me, and I didn't handle it in the best way. In my most recent heartbreak moment, I legit just didn't do anything for like a week. Zero motivation, I just read a ton and barely left my bed. This period can look like many different things, which is another reason why it's so hard to work through. But we do work through it. There is a light. We move forward and grow from it (more on that later).
We live in a world where this stage is almost always encouraged. I find that a little insane and here's why: after this initial heartbreak moment, we feel out of touch with our norm. We are dealing with all of these emotions and while we've cried and self-pitied, I think the healthy next step would be to work through these emotions. But having been through these periods myself, I realize we are not always capable of moving through them, so we distract. We keep busy, and try not to think about the very thing that completely earth-shattered us not too long ago.
Some of my friends, after my break-ups will automatically say "We gotta get you a man!" and I honestly internally cringe when they say this. Love them all to pieces, but just because I'm doing better after a break up, doesn't mean I'm in need of a man in my life. Same goes for men with women. You made it to the fun stage where you get to finally spend time with yourself, pouring everything into what you want, what you need in this life. Think of your body and soul kind of saying "wow, finally I get to focus on my happiness and do the things I love" then all of a sudden you jump back into the same rhythm. This is not the answer guys and I want to change this norm for us. This applies to every single transitional moment as well, not just breakups. You just got fired, maybe you had a death in the family, you planned out two years of your life for a program only to realize they changed the plan, whatever it is that happened or is going to happen: the universe is telling us something.
Here's what I suggest when in this faze: it's okay to have distractions, keep yourself busy, do the things you love doing. But at the end of the day, and every morning you wake up make the choice to acknowledge how you feel. "You are the greatest love you will ever have" so it's time to treat yourself accordingly. Now is the time to show how much you love yourself. For me? I like to take my time now when something goes "wrong," I give myself about a week of wallowing in the pain (obviously depends on the event), but I slowly start to journal it out, I start enjoying the things I love doing and soon enough I try to figure out the why of it.
"The Why of It"
I love this stage the most I think, not really sure why since it's not always the easiest. Sometimes I still cry at this stage, because it's bringing back everything you've dealt with and putting it back into the light again. In order to move forward though, this needs to be acknowledged.
A while back, some of you may know I had planned out two years of my life to volunteer for the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. I truly believed this was my journey, my path and was completely ecstatic when I got into the program. They pulled out my medical clearance shortly before I was supposed to begin my training, mainly due to my past mental health issues and my struggle with anxiety. This was my earth-shattering moment that I often look back to, because after this happened I felt lost. Here's the thing though, everything happens for a reason right? As much as we hate to admit it when negative things happen, there is a why to it. So I began pouring myself into this.
Understanding why something happens, doesn't mean you'll get a direct answer. It's not like God spoke to me in exact words saying "this happened because you are going to do ____." Man, I wish but it's nothing like that. It's your perspective. You can choose to think bad things happen, why bother trying. "I thought this was my purpose it's not. So, I'm giving up" which believe me is a normal reaction when you hit rock bottom... OR you can look to this as a blessing in disguise. I often like to think about what God's plan or the universe's plan must look like for me (whatever your spirituality preference is insert it here, and if you are atheist, think about the larger picture of your life from birth to old age). This event might feel completely negative in the moment but in the grand scheme of what my life's plan is...it's most likely a minuscule, intricate part to who I am becoming.
The universe has our back.
When bad things happen, we like to think negatively, we blame others or ourselves. This isn't the case, however. The world isn't out to get us, and the sooner you nip that thought in the bud, the better. The universe is trying to show us something when these things occur, and yes, it sucks at times. I'm not saying it's ever easy. But one day you will look back and see how it guided you to where you are now. I also truly believe that there are some events we don't even notice that were so necessary to get to where we are now. Life is crazy, and it's messy and we can't make sense of it entirely. This is why I think we often can't see everything we're becoming or going to be. We're too busy dealing with the mess of it.
This is why I think we often can't see everything we're becoming or going to be. We're too busy dealing with the mess of it.
Struggling with my mental health for years, I would obviously never wish this on anyone. However, I do believe that I am in part who I am, I handle things the way I do, because I had to go through these transitional moments. This was a piece to becoming everything I am meant to be, everything I'm meant to do.
Understanding Transitional Moments
When I am in these moments, the number one thing I get frustrated with is the fact that I just want to get to where I want to be in life. I'm always saying I want to be ____, I want to do _____.. When in reality there is a beauty in the stillness. And usually the universe is bringing me to this because I have trouble sitting still, being in the moment rather than having anxiety of the future and planning everything out for myself.
There is a beauty in the stillness.
Whatever your transitional moment is, understand:
1) You are never alone in this, even though some days it might really feel this way.
*If you feel alone, think about why you feel that way. You are whole, you are incredible all on your own so the universe might be trying to show you this. To feel complete, you do not need another human being, you are already complete. You are beautiful just being you, and seeing that and appreciating it might be what you need to work on.
2) As tough as it might be, be still and enjoy your time with yourself, expand your spirituality, explore new friendships, try new things, take time to do things that make you happy, be kind to yourself.
*I've started something recently where I'm doing something that scares me or puts me out of my comfort zone every 7 days. I like that I've made that time for myself because I am happier when I'm out of that zone, when I'm challenged and growing.
3) "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game" to quote the wonderful movie we all know and love, this is a crucial part to moving forward. You feel like your failing, maybe you just don't know what your doing anymore. The fear of moving into a new part of your life, a new partner, this all too often is what affects us next. It has a tendency to move with us and toxify our thoughts. This is common because we, as humans, have defense barriers up for protection. We go through something difficult and it's scary to move into the unknown, the uncomfortable. It's okay to feel scared, this is a good thing. You are growing into something incredible. Don't let that fear stop you from living your life to the fullest.
*Reminder: when you are scared, sit with yourself, know that you are there to support yourself. Nothing will ever hurt you quite the same once you've learned to be there for yourself in every way possible.