• Clara

2019 - A year of Selfish in Review

Updated: Oct 1

Right now, sitting in front of my computer thinking about this article I decided to write at the end of December, I feel “argh… I don’t want to.” It was an awful and magnificent year at the same time and I admit to having mixed feelings.

Let’s circle back (briefly, of course, you know me) on my Selfish year. It’s gonna be interesting.

A year ago now, I was at the end of the road I had chosen. I couldn’t live the way I had tried to anymore. Being anyone else but me. I was exhausted, wondering if I was crazy, I was so anxious and sad it was physically difficult to breathe. I was choking. I had spent the new year’s holidays with my then boyfriend, in the Alps, pretending that throwing snow at everything that was wrong would fix it. It wasn’t really relaxing, more like the moment I finally was able to say “F*ck” (not extremely polite, we’ll agree). This was the moment I finally decided to tell my truth, maybe not in the best way, maybe not at the right time, but at least, I stopped for a few hours doubting my emotions and myself. It was not pretty. And so beautiful at the same time. #beautyiseverywhere

I had started to realize at the end of the previous year, how lost I was, how I hated and hurt myself (letting others do the same). The whole point of 2019 was to answer the question: What does it mean to live for myself? #existentialquestion And to be honest, the day I left my therapist’s office with this question, I didn’t understand the question. So much so I almost had a panic attack.

So, I started exploring: I asked tough questions to my family, put words on my pain and worry, given their responsibilities back to people, and tried to take mine back. I looked for other ways to talk about myself and made an inventory of everything I survived (quite a lot, surprisingly enough) … I documented all my research and exercises in a small notebook with a young woman surrounded by hearts and flowers who seemed so light she flies on the cover. My aunt gave it to me the previous Christmas, she thought about me when she saw it. I understood but I was sad not to recognize myself in that image anymore. I wish I did. I learned to do small things just because they made me happy, I learned to express myself clearly talking about myself, and the closer I got to myself, the worse this couple where I felt under a permanent steamroller (Can I use this metaphor?) was going. We took a break in March. I was relieved and I started crying. #CryLikeABabry

I cried first because I was afraid of being alone. When we choose to live our life for ourselves, we do it on our own. No one can do it for us. No one goes through what we do, no one wants what we want. That’s a lot. Yet, I felt less lonely than I had before. I guess telling our truth brings us closer. I cried from fear, disappointment, anger and emotions I can’t even name. Our break became a breakup. I finally refused to leave myself in order to be with others. I chose myself and left the rest.

In the middle of these changes and decisions, I met Laure who has been my coach. Our first meeting was mostly me all snotty in my armchair awfully sad and disappointed to realise I was not present in my life. To be transparent with you, I would have rather not cry like a baby (no kidding), but that was an important step, and you can’t avoid emotions you’d rather not feel. #Sherlock #MissObvious

I did a lot of things, among them a workshop called Feu Sacré (Sacred Fire literally, it’s much less woo woo than it sounds!) My goal was to be able to take my place. It was intense, I feel like I’ve seen my fears manifested in people walking around me (yes, that sounds weird!). #IamWeird #TeamWooWoo I wasn’t the only one to cry. I came back to the present, in my body, and decided to stop sacrificing and hurting myself, while beating myself up. I’ve also been scared to discover the fire inside me. It was good.

Slowly, I started talking, and for someone whose life revolved around writing and making it on my own, that’s pretty great. Honestly, I can barely believe it. I discovered not everyone was scared of emotions, that I could be supported. #MiraclesHappenEveryday I cried in the arms of many more people than is normally comfortable to admit. The world didn’t crumble around me, it became more solid.

Thank you. Thank you to all these people who showed me relationships can be simple, and giving who I am is enough. This is the most beautiful thing I’ve been given. #gratitude

I continued coaching. I was lost in my head, wanting concrete answers to my existential questions. (And it’s still often the case, it’s called #anxiety) I would have loved for Laure to tell me what to do, because it’s not easy to know what you want when your reference point is what you thought other people wanted. This time, though, I was ready. The 18th tissue box of the week was waiting next to me, just in case. #IamNotAshamedISnot

I very seriously visualized peas, while regularly blowing my nose and wondering what the heck I was doing. You’ll be surprised to learn peas taught me a lot. Safety is not where I thought it was. The goal of my existence isn’t to follow whatever my head wants. And for the whole year, I learned to listen to the grain of salt of desires and joy a little better. #IlikePeas I asked myself regularly. What do I want right now? What can I do that would bring me pleasure? #ItChangedMyLife #ForReal

And I finally let a very frightening desire surface (yes, sometimes what we want is frightening, what about the consequences?) It was in a bar facing my best friend who was telling my ex had moved, with a glass full of alcohol as much as tears. I answered her question, “what do You want?” with “Leave, I want to leave” (live in England, you knew, right?) The very same evening I found the ad of the girls who are now my roommates. I love them. I love the place. I feel good. Nothing else to be than me. #Easy

I moved in June, it was chaos. In a month time, I packed up my life in boxes, sold or given almost all my furniture (I admit, I still took my bed. Hey girls! <3 #roomates), and I moved to a new place, on my own (well not exactly but you know what I mean), with myself, for myself. And yes, I was thrilled, but that was also VERY HARD. I felt like I was letting everyone down, I was abandoning my friends and family, I was really bad for being so selfish. Today, I realize the only person I abandoned was myself. I started to learn, “Living for me.”

July and August were very difficult. Crazy what can bubble up when there is space… It was ugly. All my fears, all the stories I had been telling myself about me and others came back like a slap in the face. A small voice telling me: “I am not what I should, I am incapable of healthy relationship, of connection, I am not {insert any positive adjective you can think of} enough, I let everyone down, I don’t even know how to take care of myself, I should [write here all of your friends’ neighbor’s great-aunt good ideas], I can’t be loved for who I am, I am so selfish, I bother everyone, I don’t bring anything to the world, I can’t trust myself, or others, no one is here for me, etc., etc., etc.” We all have a list like that. #Depressing list

Coming back to Lyon for the holidays, I discovered how wrong these stories were. I was so physically and psychologically exhausted that I barely had the strength to give myself what I needed. You can imagine, for once, others’ needs weren’t my main concern. And, to my great surprise, I wasn’t alone, the people I love were still here, even if I didn’t have anything to give. I can imagine all kinds of stories about others, but surely not the truth. And that’s normal, we can only be the center of our own world and draw the conclusions our story suggests… It’s still worth it to check them. #JustSaying

The end of the year (yes, 4 months in the end of the year, right) went by as fast as it was slow. (To be honest, I was waiting for Christmas from September, but that’s not important.) It was a little bit like the concrete part of what I learned during the year. I loved myself better and better. I showed up just the way I was and saw people accept me. #Crazy Life is easier when you are yourself. It’s also easier when you let go of everyone else’s ideas about what you should do or be. My days are so much more serene when I am my only reference point. I also had panic attacks at the idea of doing things I liked. Just to let you know how foreign that was to me.

But I did it anyway. And I felt so happy that I thought I was going to implode and disappear. My life has been so much fun that it’s almost obscene to admit it. I traveled just because I could, took days for myself, saw a number of musicals that is soon going to be ridiculous, walked in the street with a smile the size of a bunch of bananas thinking about my life. #Banana I tried things just like that, and I liked them so much I will start my coaching training next week. #StarryEyes I sang so much I’m not even sure how I found the time to speak. I still spoke with my students, well, laughed as much as spoke to be fair. #DreamJob #BestStudents Happiness is magic in your life! #happiness And it means being here, that’s it! #AmazingTruth #EasierSaidThanDone


It is true, sometimes, I felt lost and started wondering if maybe I was REALLY acting nonsensically. The truth is, what I do DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, and that’s true for all of us. We all pretend to be grown-ups who have it all figured out! #NoLying If we have to be nonsensical, why not do things that make us happy? This is what I have walked toward at the end of the year, even if it was sometimes a struggle. I learned to accept not knowing and doing things anyway. This is my new rule, if it makes me happy, I’ll try. And each time I did, I breathed life a little deeper. Step by step, it filled with beautiful things the emptiness breakups created. I had a better Christmas than I had for so many years I can’t even count. Honestly, it was exhausting, but how amazing it was!! How lucky I felt to live my life, to be surrounded by these people (you know who you are, I love you) and no one else. Frankly, it’s not even fair to other people. #LuckyBitch And if there is still emptiness today, I still learn the confidence that my life will keep filling up with more joy. Because that’s what happened in 2019, and that’s how Care Bears Wonderland works. #CareBareWonderland I still cry a little, even a year later. You should see me after yoga practice in the morning. This is quite funny. After years bottling up emotions, for fear, for myself and others, when emotions are “terrorist attacks,” this isn’t surprising. I am still learning how to let emotions go through me. I am sometimes scared to be overwhelmed, and I might be. But today I know things pass. And the other side is so JOYFUL!!

You can’t start to imagine how much I’m looking forward to 2020.

I am proud of the way I’ve come this Selfish year. And I’d just like to remind you that you’ve come a long way as well. Don’t forget to be proud of the distance you’ve traveled, it is your reference, of the strength and the courage you have. I am ready for the year of Receive. #BringItOn #Story #SelfLove #Learning

Londres, Royaume-Uni

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©2019 by A Trip Around The Words.