Two months ago, at our first staff meeting of the new year, I shared with my colleagues that I would continue to prevent avoidable pain in 2018. I specifically used the phrase “surrendering to the truth,” conceptualizing surrender not as an admission of personal powerlessness, but rather an admission that it is no longer worth fighting against the truth.
When we fight against the truth, we choose to create pain.
When we fight against the truth, we lose time we could have spent living with the truth.
When we fight against the truth, we always lose; as they say, “Beat ’em or join ’em.”
You cannot possibly imagine the minefield of truth bombs I’ve navigated in just two months of this year. At the risk of perpetuating victim mentality, I should mention that these truths were so good for me to work out — so much so that I’ve added a new theme word for 2018: reckoning.
There has been so much reckoning!
Almost immediately after the new year, I began reckoning with the pain my physical body has endured. While I have been vegan and vegetarian for the majority of the past seven years, we know a plant-based lifestyle doesn’t absolve other bodily damage from sugars, processed foods, sweeteners, and hormones from meat I would’ve eaten through adolescence. The scorecard for my body hasn’t been a good one:
- Childhood obesity
- Years of crash dieting and body dysmorphia
- Years of working out, many with improper form
- An addiction to food binges to cope with emotional distress
- Almost an entire lifetime of hating my reflection in the mirror
This pain showed symptoms in my joints — so much so that a doctor misdiagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis! Thankfully, my supervisor recommended an incredible acupuncturist in Tallahassee who took one look at my joints and told me this has nothing to do with arthritis. Instead, I had digestive issues! “In Chinese medicine,” she said, “digestive issues are all related to unresolved family pain.”
Indeed, over two decades of family issues now resides in my digestive tract, materializing as a gluten intolerance and prescription for a gluten-free, sugar free diet. All those years of emotional eating! It doesn’t take a perceptive person to know I have family issues abound, but the connection between food and family is a critical one for me. The more absent I became in my family’s changing landscape, the more I numbed, numbed, numbed with the sugar.
And while I have so intentionally — and successfully — remained independent from my family in a multitude ways (including geographically) in order to be come the person I needed to be — the person I would never have become if I never broke out of my socialized family mold, I am learning from Chinese medicine that you don’t solve unresolved family issues with a digestive pill.
As January went on, I learned I was rejected from my first-choice PhD program in Orlando. This was an incredible shock given the fact that this program was less competitive and the program director verbally confirmed my high degree of probability to be admitted. I had just spent the best day in Orlando seeing friends, journaling at my favorite coffee shops, and watching my forever queen Lana Del Rey in concert. When I checked my admission status after the concert, it was a big fat no.
The universe said, “NOPE!”
While my body quickly made peace with this news, my mind was already spinning a new plan. I had to be in Orlando. I started job searching and even applied to their Master’s in Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy program (!). I know. In the future, if your friend decides they want to pursue an entirely different career in the span of five yours, please recognize that this is a silent cry for help! In the back of my mind I knew I was waiting to hear from two Pennsylvania schools, but I had largely written them off. Not only were they much more competitive than my Orlando option, but I was stubborn in my manufactured truth that here is where I needed to be.
Long story long…
- I got an interview for the therapy program.
- A few days later, I learned I was admitted to the University of Pittsburgh with a full ride for five years. Pittsburgh is casually where ALL of my family lives.
- A few days later, I learned I was rejected from Penn State University.
In the epic battle of Orlando vs. Pittsburgh that lived in my mind for too long, I had to reckon with another inconvenient truth: I wanted Orlando so badly because I was still secretly — even to myself — in love with someone who lived there. How could “super evolved me” possibly consider this dead-end option as a viable one? (and believe me, it is indeed a dead end). Spirit sent me an absurd dream that night that prompted me to call him the following morning.
We learned: Despite lingering feelings, we know it still will not happen.
The universe, again, said, “Girl, we’ve been through this like actually 1,000 times by now.”
I thought of the Victim card in the Chakra Wisdom Oracle Card deck that represents my year from January to March. It asks, “Are you willing to make different choices in order to grow?”
I signed my contract to the University of Pittsburgh the next day.
Then, some cool things happened:
The following day, I woke up to a text from my cousin saying she would also be moving to Pittsburgh. We’re hoping to live together.
The day after that, I signed my teaching assistantship and scholarship contract. Let’s just say all that abundance work over the past year has been paying off; that contract affords me the luxury of not having to find an additional job.
My body continues to heal every single day. I feel myself getting stronger.
The best way for me to describe my state of existence for the last two months is spiritual autopilot. The difference between what I hoped, expected, planned, and even forced (!) my life to be is so different from what is going to happen. Reminding me of my need to move on from my unfinished business — both in terms of romantic relationships as well as my food/digestive issues — the universe made an offer that was too good to refuse.
Isn’t that an interesting way to think about the universe’s care for us? An offer too good to refuse?
I can’t say I’m an expert on following signs from the universe, and I can’t say I still won’t fight against the truth in order to preserve my status quo when I am so blinded to and fearful of the inconvenience of change. But I wonder what would have happened if I played the “Orlando or Bust” card and withdrawn my Pennsylvania applications? Would it have been so obviously wrong that the universe would have course corrected immediately? Or would I have suffered through yet another round of writing my narrative exactly as I wanted it, unwilling to embrace a plot twist? What I do know is that mind, body, and spirit are aligning perfectly in what this time up north will mean for me.
Here is how I’m feeling in the last month of the Victim card, moving steadily toward my season of Gratitude beginning in April:
I am partnering with my truth in order to create love and joy.
I am choosing to accept my truth now so I can live in the present moment without pain.
I am forever grateful for my intuition that reminds me I’ll never fuck up as long as I’m expecting a miracle.