I wrote this last night before I left for my birthday dinner but didn’t get a chance to post it. Dinner was wonderful and I’m no longer feeling as sensitive as I was when I wrote this, but I still want to share it, because it feels a little disingenuous to not be honest about my ongoing relationship with my mental health. I’m pretty happy these days, but not always, and it’s important to me to be real about that.
It’s my birthday today and, in keeping with the trend of the past two years, a time for me to reflect on how my life has evolved in the past year.
This is basically going to be a freewrite since I’m squeezing this in during the increasingly rare hour of free time that I have in between going from one thing to the next. If I could summarize the past year actually, that would be it - constant movement between cities, between meetings, between apartments, between engagements. It’s been fun, but of course exhausting, and I always find myself a little weathered after long stretches of social interaction and emotional investment. I’m especially feeling it after my competition this past weekend.
As I’ve shouted from the rooftops, over the weekend I competed in my first pole competition and placed first in my category. While I’m extremely proud of myself and happy with the result, honestly it was hard to not have any of my friends or family there to experience it with me, to help carry the intensity of the day after 2.5 fairly intense months of training and being very mindful of my consumption habits, my recovery, my social commitments, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly appreciative of the outpouring of love and encouragement I’ve received, and I’m lucky to have an amazing network of people rooting for me. I moreso weigh whether competing is for me, if I’m made out for the training and discipline it requires. While physically I think I’m capable, mentally, I’m not quite sure.
I’m constantly mindful of my mental health and the way I tend to oscillate from one extreme to the next. I’ve been going to therapy for the past year, which has been extremely helpful, and I’ve spent much of the past year being very intentional about how I track my patterns and emotional responses, how I communicate with others, and how to identify what I need (and by extension how to communicate what I need to others) when I’m in an emotional valley.
Training for this competition really shone a light on my intensity as a person, my dissatisfaction with anything but the absolute best, my high expectations of myself, and it was a fucking lot. I’m a fucking lot. I literally achieved my goal, beyond my goal really, and I still watch videos of my performance and nitpick areas of improvement. I just don’t know that I can trust myself to continue to compete and do right by myself, so that’s kind of where I’m at (though I do love being on stage, I am a Leo after all).
That all being said, overall I am much happier these days, and living intentionally has improved so many areas of my life. I’ve shed the weight of imposter syndrome at work and learned how to really own up to my abilities and skills. I’ve fallen in love with someone who rivals my ambition and thoughtfulness, someone with whom I feel deep partnership and trust. And somewhere along the way I became an athlete, something I never could have foreseen when I was younger, dreading PE classes and getting picked last for team sports.
So sure, while I’m feeling extra reflective and sensitive today, I know that this feeling will pass, and in truth these feelings pass much more quickly than they did even a year ago. It would be remiss for me to not say thanks again to everyone who's reached out to congratulate and celebrate me - I can’t tell you how much it means to me, and I’m appreciative of all the kind words and thoughts, especially when I struggle to give them to myself.
I continue to welcome my evolution as a person, hopefully towards an increasingly better and more self-aware version of myself, on this birthday and all of my birthdays yet to come. Cheers.