So, it’s the last week of school for my kids. This time last year, I was in an “old yang” state of life. For those that know the Yin Yang meaning, you get me. Things were toxic. Relationships were on the rocks everywhere in my life. My son was being bullied. I missed my kids terribly. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be in the entertainment industry anymore if it meant I had to keep spending 70 hours a week away from my REAL LIFE. Basically, I was in a low period. I was depressed. Then, I became seriously depressed by the end of July. It felt like my entire universe was crashing around me one by one. Well, guess what? It was. I think I know why now.
I think deep inside me was my inner spirit animal. It’s a “she”… an ageless bohemian that never left the fields she ran through as a kid, and she’s just WAITING for her time to dance with the stars again. Seriously! My spirit animal hates bras and likes denim with sandals. She is colorful and witty, yet patient. She quietly lets me do the stuff I can’t avoid because paying bills and adulting is more than “a thing” when you are over 30, and she gets it. But, I hear her sometimes…when life is super tough and I can’t even fathom how this super structured, super long, super stressful daily routine became my normal life. She starts out calmly “ohmmmmmm, I’m not ok with this but if I tug at the heart chakra long enough maybe you will let me out!!!!” Then a few big whammies hit all at once and my inner spirit animal SCREAMED, “FUCCCCCCK THIS!!!!” and I was consumed by this really loud, non-compliant angry force who made it clear to EVERYONE that my meek “sure, no problem” existence was just kicked to the curb. Bye, Felicia.
Little fact about me, I am a spiritual person. I’m not a religious person. I went to church as a kid. I pray everyday, but I don’t direct my prayers at “him” persay. I direct them to the universe, maker of heaven & earth…you know, the whimsical “we are all one” type that your mom would think is a little “too out there”. Yes, she’s right. I own sage and cleanse my house when toxic friends come over to vent. I am also what they call an empath. I think we all are to a degree. We all have “gut feelings” and sometimes we just “know” how a person feels about us without hearing it from their own mouth. It’s energy. If 2018 taught me anything, it was that I was giving off super negative vibes and the world was sending them right back to me. But here’s where you have to look at the glass half full. According to Taoism, harmony is finding the balance between yin and yang. That while opposite, they are both equally important to your inner peace. I think that’s what was happening when I completely switched my mindset and started reorganizing my life. I think I had to hate my current situation so much that it just flipped a switch that couldn’t be flipped back. It worked for Jerry Maguire. Why not me too? I had been in a dark place for so long. I had tried to keep finding the good in the midst of the bad. Then BAM, my gut said “just let go. Trust me”, and I actually did.
Things didn’t get easier right away. In fact, that’s when the hard part really started. I had decided I didn’t want ANYTHING to be the same and here I was at ground zero…before I could build up a new life, I had to clear the rubble, assess the damage, and accept the hard truth. I made this disaster. Not my bosses, not my friends who didn’t “get” mom life, not my family that was just trying to help. No one made this mental mess I was in, but me. As a perfectionist who never gives up, waving that white flag was the worst AND best thing that ever happened to me.
Those dark times, clearing rubble, were very lonely but I think the universe needed me to be alone. It needed me to detach from situations that I wasn’t mentally fit enough to handle at the moment. I realized I didn’t have to be ashamed of my grief, my sadness, and my pain. I just had to face it. Talk to it. Hear why my soul was hurting so much. Then, one day at a time, I would make a decision that helped elevate my inner spirit animal back to the surface.
When I was thinking of what to write about this month, I remembered a picture I printed out and wrote in my journal shortly after my grandma passed away in December 2018. It was the story of two wolves.
I had highlighted the last sentence, but next to it I wrote something that pulled me back from the edge. I wrote “the hungrier one will always win. He’s got nothing to lose at this point. Maybe you should feed them both?” I don’t know why I wrote that in my journal, but I’m glad I did. For the next 3 months, whenever I would meditate, I would think about that concept…feeding them both. I realized that in order for me to make better choices moving forward, I had to allow myself to feel those dark and sorrowful moments so it would spark hope. It fell in line with other cliche quotes like “Only one way up from here” and “there’s always some light in the darkness”. The list goes on. The point is, the wolf story made me appreciate my low periods because they were replenishing my resilience. My sorrow was telling the universe that I needed serious change, AND I was ready for it. Most of all, the dark times were forcing me to make room for the new on its way. I truly believe that.
One thing’s for sure, the change is here now. It took almost an entire year to clear all the debris and pour a new foundation. I haven’t slept much either, working until 2 am whenever I get a freelance job so I can help make ends meet, while I am an aid/advocate for our son’s needs. But here we finally are, entering the light with a positive mindset, and the capability to reflect on the darkness without shifting the universe any further, for now.
My daughter is starting kindergarten. My son is starting in a new school/program for gifted kids like himself. I am freelancing almost full time now on shows that are actually educational and helpful, which has restored my faith that some people do still care about good storytelling and giving hope to our viewers. I’m even producing a cool short film in the fall. I am still sad about family I have lost, but now, I am in a place where I allow the tears to flow without spending the next 4 hours in my bathrobe hiding in my room.
Letting out that inner bohemian happened at the perfect time. She may have been a tad off her rocker when she surfaced, but man, my spirit animal is brave. She walked right up to both of those hungry wolves, shoved a big protein shake down their throat, and said: “knock it off, you two, and follow me.” I changed it all. I donated all of my dress slacks to the Women’s Center. I quit smoking cigarettes. I wear more boho dresses & big hats than I ever did before. I even have blonde hair for the first time, I mean “super blonde”. I also distanced myself from family that triggered my sadness. They don’t mean to, and it’s NOT personal. It’s me taking responsibility for my choices in life and choosing to fix them in private for my own dignity. I know they would be there if I needed them, but this was a solo mission, and my only opponent was myself.
Pretty much, my inner spirit held a mirror up and asked if I liked what I saw. If I didn’t, why? I learned to vent LOUDLY to myself about my disappointments and regrets. I also learned to love myself enough to clean up my own mess. I sure do appreciate the hard talk. I promise I didn’t really stand in front of a mirror and talk to myself. This isn’t Taxi Driver. I did spend many nights staring at the stars, confessing my deepest stuff to my dad and grandma in the clouds. Best part, they never said a word. Now that’s a good family member.
So if you are struggling, may I give you only one piece of advice: Listen to your gut instinct. Spend some time ALONE, really thinking about what you want in your life. Know that no matter what you decide you want, the shift to get you there will be difficult. Everything you have now will change. It has to. If you fight the change as it comes, it will feel like you are in a hurricane. Just breathe. Make sure your thoughts are on what you really want, because once you put it out into the universe…the universe gets to work. So manifest that shit, just don’t go crazy.
JB McCann has worked in “The Biz” for almost a decade, yet she’s somehow managed to keep her feet firmly on the ground. Her altruistic spirit aims to evoke your Inner Phoenix and encourage readers to take the difficult leaps in life, so you can continue to grow.