You Are Not Alone
Right now, I’m sitting on my back deck, looking at the scene I have enjoyed for 18 years: the stillness of Boggy Bayou, big puffy clouds floating by while I listen to the chirp of the frogs and the barking squirrels. In one month, I won’t have this view anymore, because we are selling our house. This is the only house my baby has ever known, and the house my husband and I built to stay in “until they carry us out feet first”. But things changed.
We are selling our house, so that we can build a Girl Power Wellness/Volleyball Center. The proceeds from the house sale will fund our new foundation and the construction of the center.
This is a 10-year goal for me, and it’s finally coming true.
So, I should feel amazing, right? Wrong! I’m writing this through tears. I’m tired and alone. I’m in Square One of the Change Cycle.
The Change Cycle is just life coach speak for transition management. When we go through a big life change, there’s a pattern to the stages of transition, and we can use that pattern to make the change more manageable. Resistance to change, and the inherent stress it causes, is so universal that I will be spending the next four blog posts on the different stages or squares. Right now, I’m in Square One, which is the Death and Rebirth square. When you have a big change, like your kids going to a new school, moving to a new place or a new job (I’m living two out of three), it is stressful. You want to control the change, but you can’t control change—you can only manage your reaction to it.
When you’re in Square One, it can feel lonely, because most of the transition is happening inside of you. Your outsides look much the same, even as you are swimming in doubt and fear on the inside. You don’t think that anyone else will understand what you’re going through, but this can’t be further from the truth.
It doesn’t matter that the change happening in my life is positive; I still feel alone—and that’s okay. It’s okay to cry at the death of my old story and the rebirth of a new life. But it’s not nearly as helpful to throw a pity party, because I feel alone.
Because I’m not alone.
That’s just an old story that I wrote as a fat kid in a new school in second grade, and I added new chapters entering middle school and high school. Every time I go through a big change, the story kicks back up again. But it’s just a story, and I can ask for help from my Pride to write a new one that feels better.
To move through Square One, you need some alone time to grieve, but you also need help from Pride members who are not in Square One, who can give you perspective and tell you “Honey, it’s going to be okay.” When my heart felt like it was breaking, and the tears started flowing, I immediately sent out four texts to my closest Pride members: “I’m in the swamp. I need help. Can you chat?” Just doing that made me feel better. I got one response in five minutes and made a date for a phone chat. And, just like that, Square One felt a little less lonely.
It seems that change brings up all our ‘chit, and all our old stories of loss and lack. I find that my lizard brain (the oldest part of our brain that focuses on lack and attack) plays the same tune when I’m feeling low, specifically, “How will I ever succeed when I’m not…smart enough, thin enough, organized enough?” This thought then leads to a desire to attack anyone that might actually help me: I snap at my husband, I bark at my kids, and I spend way too much energy in idle, mean spirited gossip. This is the recipe for actually being alone, because who would want to hang around this shrew? Instead of alienating our loved ones, we can call on our Pride for help. Square One is scary and dark, but we all have friends who will join us around the campfire and turn the scary shadows into duck shadow puppets—if we just ask.
When our daughters see us ask for help, they will pattern the same actions when they need help, instead of hiding out in their room, staring longingly at someone else’s “perfect life” on Snapchat. When we can be honest with them and share our loneliness and doubt, without making it about them in any way, then we can support each other through the trials of Square One. We can show them how to ask for help from safe friends who won’t judge us in our hour of need.
Defining your true Pride is crucial in Square One. The time you invest in building deep, abiding friendships will come back to you and your teen or pre-teen daughter in the form of support when you’re in the swamp. Together we will build a path through the wilderness. Together we can help each other through transitions and big changes. Together we are more than the sum of our parts. Hear me now. You can do this, and you are not alone!
P.S. If the Change Cycle is running you down, I’ve got your back! Starting August 12th, I’m leading a 6- week tele-course to help you reclaim your sanity while raising your teen or pre-teen. Weekly calls with e-mail support in between will give you the support you and your daughter need to become Masters of Change–and the Universe, of course! Go here for all the deets…