“Midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: I’m not screwing around. All of this pretending and performing—these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt—has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through your veins. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”Brené Brown, “The Midlife Unraveling”
The tumultuous weeks leading up to my 30th birthday left me feeling uneasy. This arbitrary year, this closing of my twenties, had me tense and restless.
Well-meaning friends and family blanketed me with platitudes like “age is just a number!” and “you’re only as old as you feel!” and “ just wait until you hit forty!”
But still, I remained uneasy.
And I remained that way until I did the bravest, scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had the courage to ask myself,
“Who am I really, and who do I want to be?”
And then I faced the ugly reality that at thirty years old, I had absolutely no idea who I was or what my values were. I was in complete survival mode, just trying to make it through this day, this week, this month. I didn’t have the language to express what I was feeling, and even if I did, I would’ve been too chicken shit to speak it. I couldn’t articulate who I was outside of the ways I served others: mother, wife, teacher, friend, daughter. And each of those people got a different version of Bobbi, too.
I felt so damn lost.
So I started journaling, going to individual therapy, reading self-help books, listening to podcasts, and now my life is unraveling. It’s painful, beautiful, messy, but unearthing who I really am underneath societal conditioning, people-pleasing behaviors, and codependency has been the most profoundly satisfying work I’ve ever done.
I have come to the conclusion that fear has been holding me back from knowing who I am and what I want.
Fear of being seen as selfish, of being judged. Fear of not living up to people’s expectations or letting others down. Fear of failure, fear of not being worthy, fear that if people saw the real, true me, they’d reject me.
The biggest comfort in this journey has been exposing my fears and shame to the light of day. By writing my ugliest truths into existence and then sharing them with trusted people also doing their own inner work, I’ve experienced some serious healing. I am not unique in the struggle. I am not alone.
Those books I read, those podcasts I listened to, were all testimonials of other women who looked fear in the face and said, “I see you. I see what you’re trying to do. But I’m done letting you stop me, and I’m going to tell my story anyways.” Through their words and bravery, they charted road maps to find themselves and gave me the courage to start doing the same.
So as I approach my 31st birthday, I’m going to be incredibly vulnerable with you and share my biggest, wildest dream:
I want to be a published writer.
Even typing that, I let out an audible breath I didn’t know I was holding. Putting this dream out there in the world is absolutely terrifying. It’s the fear, man.
The fear that you’re judging my very first blog post, that you’re laughing under your breath and thinking “good luck, she’ll never make it.” The fear that my writing is mediocre at best. That there are a million other people who are better than me. I’m afraid nobody will read my work.
Or that I’m not original enough.
Or creative enough.
That I’m not enough.
And Bobbi in her twenties? She saw that fear miles down the road and wouldn’t even admit to herself that this was a real dream she had.
Bobbi in her thirties, though? She calls bullshit.
So to you, my friends, family, colleagues, and all of the wonderful humans who have somehow played an interlude in my life, I want to paint what support from you looks like while I give myself permission to follow my dream of writing for an audience outside of my Facebook feed.
Read my posts, and if they resonate, comment or like. Share them. Follow me on insta. Send me ideas for topics you’d like to read about.
I saved you a seat next to me on the back of the struggle bus. Let’s grow together.