“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying,” Sarah Dessen. I’m guilty of not listening to my heart. I’m guilty of pretending I couldn’t hear it. I’m guilty of telling it to shut up because I had other things to do. It left me lost and alone and feeling unfulfilled and unheard. I never understood the importance of recognizing my own beat until very recently. I found myself repeating other people’s stories rather than creating my own. I felt like I wanted something for me, but I couldn’t shake the fear that I was unsupported. I was raised with the idea that taking care of ourselves was a personal obligation—you don’t ask for help and if you fail you pick yourself up. I was fortunate enough that my parents DID help me, but it was challenging to allow myself to try things when I knew I might fail. So I often stuck with the book.
I’ve spoken a lot about that voice inside and I started feeling like a hypocrite once I realized how long I ignored mine. I played it safe. The entire first year of working on this blog I tried to fit it in after work. If I missed days I would feel upset but I allowed myself to skip because I had other things to take care of—I had to work late, or my son needed my attention because my husband was video gaming. Shifting this to a priority was uncomfortable at first because I felt like I didn’t have enough time. Then I felt guilty making time for it because I felt like I was ignoring my family, especially my son. And then I realized that this is more than just a little blog. This is my outreach. This is my connection. This is my vulnerability sharing these stories with people who may resonate with them. This is something I did for myself to be there for my family when it really mattered. I needed to share these words for my own sanity.
I spent 36 years of my life doing what I was told and keeping that voice so silent I didn’t even know it could make a noise anymore. But that voice is strong—and it never went away. Rather than continue to listen to the monster replaying every mistake I ever made, I decided to listen to the inspiration telling me I couldn’t afford to not do what I wanted anymore. That we have one shot and it’s time to do what made me happy because once I go to that place, I would be able to help those around me even more. I could be even more present with my family.
I realized how much more fulfilling it was to tell my own story rather than try to be a copy of someone else’s. It’s also much easier. I surprised myself. I didn’t know how detailed I wanted to get on the personal side of things but I found myself sharing some of the deepest parts of me. I found myself sharing things I’ve wanted to talk about for years. I started to find my real voice because I listened to my inner voice. That intuition is never wrong.
I’m sorry for all the years I ignored what my soul was trying to tell me. I know on an intellectual level that things are meant to happen in their right time and that what is meant for us will never miss us. It still hurts to think about the “what-ifs.” What if I HAD listened earlier? What if I hadn’t been so damn stubborn and just listened to what I really wanted? What if I had been able to go with the flow more? What if I hadn’t been so afraid? What if I had said what I really wanted to do from the start? The truth is none of that matters because what happened is what happened. If it was meant to go another way, it would have. And all of those moments that I let go by taught me not to waste another second more. They taught me to slow down and listen. They taught me that not everything is meant for me. They taught me that I can try and fail and still try again—and that has no bearing on who we are, only on what we learn. They taught me that perfection is a myth and that living in sync with what works for me is what matters. I am grateful to hear, loud and clear, what I am meant to do now. Trust me, take the time to find the beat of your own heart.