I’ve had an uncontrollable urge to clean recently. It’s been feeling a bit similar to the nesting phase I went through during my pregnancy, but spanning across all areas of my life. I spent the better part of my Sunday sifting through clothes and shoes, finding myself at the end of the process knee-deep in unnecessary clutter I’d accumulated over the years. Tops and dresses with tags still attached, shoes that had never been worn, and skirts with their pleats still intact all sat neatly piled in a bag on their way to find their new homes. It felt like I’d shed my own skin. And I’ve never felt lighter.
The past few months, after the birth of my daughter, Lucy, have found me in a state of re-evaluation. A while back, I wrote about finding balance in a struggle between work and motherhood. But the truth is, I’ve recently discovered that this topic goes far deeper for me as the result of a workshop I’ve been taking with Miami writer and self-help expert Nikki Novo. Nikki’s “Charmed Life School” reeled me in with the promise of guiding creative types like myself towards finding the career purpose we are truly meant to fulfill – for me, embarrassingly enough, finally having the courage to go after the writing career I’ve always longed for.
But I didn’t expect to have to shed some layers to get to where I’d like to be, though that should have been apparent from the start. Any major life change and growth always comes with its share of upheaval and disarray. Making room for new things means getting rid of what no longer serves or fits. It happened in the months leading up to my wedding, when people I’d considered friends, and even family, no longer fit into the new journey I was taking. Or just after my daughter was born, when I finally understood what “perspective” really meant. And just now, making the decision to be the person I want my daughter looking up to rather than someone who lives in regret and missed opportunities.
For someone who’s always done everything by the proverbial book, shedding the layers of who I thought I was has been a bit unnerving. Though, living up to the ideal of so-called perfection seems ridiculous now as I realize that’s both completely unattainable and simply undesirable. I’m not even sure who that girl would be. But it’s certainly not me. Not even in the slightest. So I began by shedding the outermost layers, and even the clothing that felt like they belonged to someone else have been packed away and given to consignment shops for that girl to discover.
This is a process that will take time and unrelenting dedication. But for the first time in my life, I’ve given myself permission to go after what I want. And it’s both terrifying and exhilarating – but, on all accounts, absolutely necessary.
Nikki Novo is a Miami-based writer and creator of various developmental workshops, such as “Charmed Life School.” Read more about her work at NikkiNovo.com.