So I was sitting in my girlfriend’s stunning house in Montclair, NJ, sharing with her about my mini life-crisis. It was the first time we were experiencing her new pool with accompanying pool house and the weather was perfect – hot enough for a dip with just enough clouds in the sky. My girlfriend of over 10 years, is like my personal Oprah, always so wise with her sound advice. And our talk this time was no different. After I had exhaled my story of pressure, anxiety and physical sabotage, she bluntly and softly said “I want to empower you to pull the trigger, Cindy.” Words that started a momentum that would later be life changing.
It’s like reading a story from the book The Tipping Point, the moment when everything changes. When graffiti stops appearing on the NYC train system. The moment when immigrants new to a city start to own the table that everyone sits at. I started to physically feel the beginning of my mental paradigm shift.
Ever since I got back from my annual summer trip to Chicago, New York just didn’t fit me anymore. Or truth be told, perhaps I was still trying to fit in a place that I knew deep down I had outgrown. The night I arrived back to my roach-infested apartment where the heat was normally over 90 degrees, I literally started taking down pictures and throwing shit out. I just couldn’t anymore. I couldn’t look at one more hanging picture. I just couldn’t.
Now I’m a person who has a high stress threshold. I can deal with a lot before I buckle at the knees and hit the floor. I know this about myself. For years, my friends have asked me, “how do you do it Cindy?” My answer: God. But really, I felt like I was just focused on surviving and didn’t take a moment to look up because if I did, everything might fall apart.
I’ve lived in New York City for over 12 years, 6.5 as a mom…which is a totally different feel. The years before motherhood, I was single, partying and loving it. Over the most recent 6 years, I’ve transitioned into a full-time single mom. I say “transitioned” because I went back and forth trying to make co-parenting work and convenient. Bottom line: I was carrying the weight and the more I struggled with that, the heavier the weight felt. But when I made peace with my sole responsibility, no matter what, everything else started to feel easier.
It was about 2-3 years ago that I started to hear the whisper. You know “the whisper”? The universe (or your higher power) telling you it’s time to change…go…move. The plan I had in place to work, raise the kids (without a break ever) and manage everything financially was not sustainable. I knew this but I was waiting on the something better to be revealed to me. But we as human beings are soooooo mentally strong or bull-headed and stubborn, whichever you would like to call it. So I pushed and pushed through. Even after 9 months of unemployment with two toddlers which caused me to be 6 months behind on rent, I still pushed through and stayed. Wanting a change, I felt like I had to ride the season out.
So what happened? How did the whisper become a SHOUT? All I can say is, I hit my wall and saw my out. The weight of everything just caught up to me. I over-stayed my welcome. I tried to make a place for the living in a dead situation. And it was the bodily reaction to the stress that really caught my attention. What is it with us women? We walk around, not attending to our needs, and wonder why we aren’t living our greatest lives. We push, push and push. I guess it’s just like labor. But the postpartum pushes need to stop. The baby is here. We need to stop pushing ourselves so hard. Our lives depend on it.
My girlfriend’s words helped focus my mind. She said I still had time to make a move, I didn’t have to stay put and just deal with the weight and subsequently the physical stress. She was right. God had shown me a way out…and lovingly was pushing me out. My prayers were being answered. My time had come. But the decision was too big for my mind to comprehend. I remember sitting on the floor in tears, panicking on how big of a move this is and not knowing how everything was going to “work out.”
My mind even started to revert back to the way things were…”we can do it Cindy…we can make it work.” Even though I knew what was “comfortable” was not my best life. But it was too late, I couldn’t turn back. I was mentally stuck between the old and the new. I had already spoke to others about the move…I had spoken God’s directive out loud…now I had to step up and step out on faith. No turning back. Trusting to be caught. So I just cried and worked through a couple of melt downs. I would go to bed early and start again the next day with the new strength I had. And let’s be clear: I was so frightened by this change that I could barely eat and sleep. I was literally nauseous all day, pushing through, towards a better life. I had to.
But now 8 weeks after the big push, I can say to God be the glory. Change doesn’t just happen writing about it or chatting about it. And I’m a workshop facilitator who coaches others on embracing change. Every step has been paved for me. From driving my car 13 hours to Chicago, having enough money gifted to me to cover rent, finding a job in a month’s time, being approved for an apartment without a job, finding a great school minutes away from my house…..EVERYTHING!
To GOD be the glory. This wasn’t me people. I was just being pushed through a growing pain. If there’s nothing else that you remember from this, remember change happens with mind movements, jumps off fear cliffs and leaps of faith. Change is a verb people. Move! And trust you are covered!