Today marks a very significant milestone in my personal journey toward self-discovery, healing, and wellness. Today is my last day in Dallas, Texas, where I’ve resided for the past two months. It’s been a very interesting, enlightening experience to say the least, and my heart is filled with such gratitude for the opportunity to take this time to do the vital soul-searching that I needed to do. Having described my journey in detail in my previous blog posts, I sit before my MacBook today reflecting on my entire process: On all that I’ve learned about myself, the hurdles I’ve overcome, the areas that still present difficulty and struggle, and the things I know I’ll need to continue to work on as I continue forward on my journey. It’s as if I’m studying and observing a freshly developed picture of my life in an antiquated, chipped frame.
That frame kept me frozen in an old picture–a picture that depicted a life of habitual struggle, discontent, dependence, and rigidity. The picture was underdeveloped and dull, lacking any sign of vibrance. As I describe this picture, I reflect on the frame that encased it with an air of familiarity and comfort, despite its old, cracked, sharp edges. I found myself in the center of that frame–in that old picture–blending into the background with each day that passed. The frame was predictable: I could identify where each crack was, the depth of each crack, the frame’s dimensions, and how old the frame was. The picture of habitual struggle that the frame held became my reality, and I associated myself with all of the things found within the frame. Little did I know, not many people perceived the frame and its picture as conceptually as I did. Many people saw an intelligent, productive, empathetic twenty-one year old college student, which was the exterior I portrayed in an effort of mask the underdeveloped picture and its old frame.
As I’ve worked at chipping away that ideal exterior, I’ve noticed that I’ve been able to get more in touch with my true being–the vulnerable, sensitive young woman who was trying to navigate life in that old picture. I spent a lot of time studying the picture from different angles and different perspectives, hoping to find an answer as to how I could “fix” the picture. Once I realized that the picture needed more than simple “fixing,” I decided that it was time to take a new, fresh picture. When I gave myself permission to allow the picture to fully develop, it exposed an array of renewed color, radiance, and clarity.
However, developing this new picture wasn’t the only thing I had to put effort into. I had to go one step further, which is when I became aware of how problematic the antiquated frame was. The frame was a representation of the environment I was previously in, which kept me stuck and despondent for quite some time. I didn’t believe that I could possibly display this new, vibrant picture within the same four corners of that old, familiar frame.
Feeling as though I had hit a plateau in my process, I feared what would happen to this newly developed picture if I placed it back into the old frame. I was certain that the old frame would bend the new picture’s crisp edges, drain it of its vibrant colors, and take away from the picture’s newfound meaning. As I continued studying this new picture, I began to shift my perspective toward the old frame. I thought to myself, What if this new picture held just as much power as the old, familiar frame did? Could this new picture have an impact on how the old frame was perceived? Could this new picture hold an even greater power than that old, familiar frame?
If you haven’t yet fully digested the metaphor I’m trying to create, the new picture signifies the new mindset that I’ve adopted and put into practice over the past few months in Texas. Just four months ago, I was lost in the old picture and taken out of the old frame, placed somewhere different. Once I was free from that old frame, I was able to become more self-aware and develop the new picture–a new sense of self and intuitiveness. As I continued learning more and more about my true self, it became more difficult to imagine one day returning to the same familiar environment. I questioned myself, How could I possibly utilize and execute the skills and techniques I had developed and integrated into my new lifestyle of wellness if I was going to be in the same old, familiar environment? How could I continue navigating the vastness that is my new picture in the confines of an outdated frame?
While not easy to tap into initially, the realization I came to was that the old frame–my familiar, past environment–could only hold as much power as I granted it. And if I could grant that frame such an immense amount of power, what was stopping me from giving the new picture an even greater amount power? As I considered this empowering realization, I began experienced a sense of calm that helped squelch the worrisome thoughts that plagued my mind. I was now able to see a glimmer of hope as I acknowledged my capability of preserving my new picture, despite the old, familiar frame it would occupy.
An old frame can very well misconstrue a new picture–just as an old, familiar environment can affect a person’s mindset and self-perception. However, when a picture is more captivating, more vibrant, more distinct, and more meaningful than its frame, the picture holds greater power and can exude a new story that goes beyond the old frame.
Tomorrow, I begin the transition of subjecting my new mindset and sense of self to an environment where I once felt enmeshed in habitual struggle and despondence. Tomorrow, I begin transferring the power I gave that environment into my new sense of self. Acknowledging that I can influence my environment just as powerfully as it can influence me has given me the self-confidence I needed to continue leading this new lifestyle that I’ve invested such in-depth soul work into cultivating. Because of this new knowledge, I truly do believe that an old frame has the ability to hold a brilliant, radiant new picture without minimizing the picture’s authentic, beautiful, renewed meaning.