This is Kylie Jenner. She is FAMOUS. While all of the rest of us were trying to figure out what to do with our fresh, new years, she stepped in and provided guidance by dubbing 2016 “The Year of Realizing Stuff.”
I did not realize stuff in 2016. I say that so confidently because, if I did realize anything, I think I would remember it. And I don’t remember it. I did a lot of other stuff in 2016. I graduated from business school. I moved to New York City. I tried to accept the fact that, devoid of a winning lottery ticket or the billionaire uncle I don’t have naming me in his will, I’d officially reached the point where I’d be working for the next 40(ish) years of my life. But yeah. I was busy. I didn’t have time to realize stuff.
Then 2017 rolled around, as years tend to do, and – yet again – no realizations. How do I know? Can’t think of any. Realizations seem like things that would be big enough to remember. So, consider 2017 a realizations opt-out year, too.
And, now, here we are in 2018, which I walked into without one single thought about the long-gone 2016 Year of Realizing Stuff. Then something happened. The world body-checked me, and stopped me in my tracks, and stood over me with its ginormous (we are talking about the world, here) finger in my face and said, “Nope. Sorry. Cancel all your other plans, because you are realizing shit today.”
A lot of stuff started happening. My aforementioned breakup, work drama, my friend’s diagnosis. I was confined to my apartment for a week with an illness I can only assume was some undiscovered strand of the plague, and then I had an allergic reaction to my meds that turned my skin into fire for four days. My dog decided to contract a legitimately giant wart on his face that is apparently extremely contagious to other dogs (Not humans. Thank you, God.), and treatments are $175 each time, which is not chump change for a single girl in NYC with student loans and a basic human desire to eat sometimes. And then there’s the finding-a-literary-agent process, which is the emotional equivalent of riding a seesaw when you’re the heavier one of the two kids, so you spend most of your time with your ass on the ground.
But, besides just telling myself it’s ok, I’ve suddenly, somehow, moved into a phase of (mostly) believing it’s ok. Like, “It’s cool. No big deal. I’m realizing stuff!!” You will, too. But if now isn’t the time, I’m deciding on your behalf that that is totally fine. I can very confidently say that this ‘realizing stuff’ thing would be going very, very differently if I had made the conscious decision that it was gonna happen this year no matter what, because I also could have just as easily laid back and watched an episode of Catfish instead. (“Right now…I’m realizing…that the shirtless model man you met online is always, always, always going to end up being the girl you pissed off at the 7th grade dance.” REALIZATIONS!)
So since the universe, and not maybe the next most powerful entity (Kylie Jenner), decided that 2018 was going to be my Year of Realizing Stuff, it turns out that I actually am. And one of the biggest things I’ve come to realize is communicating is hard, it’s intimidating, and – I am happy to report – I’m actually pretty damn good at it!
Now, to clarify, ‘talking’ and ‘communicating’ are NOT the same. To me. To me, talking is what I do constantly, what I already knew I was good at, and communicating is all about establishing an understanding with another human being about something you need for him or her to understand. You can talk as a way of communicating, but you aren’t communicating every time you talk. When I’m gabbing about an episode of Chopped, that is not communicating. That is talking.
Historically, I’m realizing, communicating has been kind of uncomfortable for me. Because I’m convinced it’s uncomfortable for other people. Or that it’s gonna be awkward if I bring up something that was kind of a big deal, or – worse – that actually wasn’t a big deal until I brought it up. What if communicating turns into a fight? What if communicating leaves things worse than how they started? What if we disagree???
But before I even really knew what I was doing, I squashed all of that and all of a sudden just started communicating like a freaking communication pro this year. I had to. There was way too much going on, way too much that I needed to talk about and feel understood, that it was gonna happen whether people were ready to receive it or not. And then, today, I communicated AGAIN. I just DID it. I spoke up to a friend of mine about something that bugged me, and then it was like the same world that body-checked me at the beginning of this year, tapped me on the nose and pointed out two very inspiring things:
- You’re communicating and you’re good at it!
- And every time you’ve communicated, people in your life have been ready to receive it.
Knocked me down just to greet me with that sweet little message. Basically, the world is a Sour Patch Kid.
So, now, I’m gonna give you just a few examples of the times when communicating coincidentally happened in the past couple months and everything turned out just fine. And, because I don’t know how blogs work (This post is already trending, right? I’m an influencer??), I’m gonna speak generally to spare any people I reference from having to endure the sudden life change of becoming overnight celebrities.
- At work. I’m ready for a change, a new role, a growth opportunity. So I told my manager. He fully received the message. Now we talk about it pretty much any time the sun shines, and he’s totally clear on what I’m looking for out of my career. Does that mean I’ll get to do something new in the near future? Hopefully. But the point is I communicated my concerns and didn’t get yelled at or blacklisted or fired, AND EVERYTHING IS FINE.
- In my (previous) relationship. I stepped up and said what I needed, point blank. We talked and we talked and we talked. And no, we aren’t together right now, because we aren’t supposed to be together right now, and yes, it’s sad sometimes. BUT I’M OK.
- With my parents. I actually talked to them a lot when breakup-gate first occurred, crying and trying to figure it out. And thank God I did. Why? BECAUSE THEY WERE REALLY, REALLY GOOD AT IT.
- With my friends. I had a couple friend situations this year where my feelings were kind of hurt. And instead of stewing and overanalyzing and reevaluating the entire friendship over it, I just said something. They got it. AND WE ARE ALL STILL FRIENDS.
- With my friends (again). There was a lot that I needed to process, and talk through, and try to understand. For about a quarter of a second, I didn’t want to make that their problem. But then I did. Because good friends – real friends – share your problems. And, realization? I HAVE GOOD, REAL FRIENDS.
So I guess that leads me to wanting to dedicate this post to the magical people in my life who have embraced my realization that I am a kickass communicator, and given me a safe place to be that way.
And one more thing I’ll say I’ve realized thus far (ok, real talk, I’ve only really realized a total of two things at the moment): Fulfillment is not going to fall into your lap. No matter how hard you pray for it, hope for it, wish for it or think you deserve it, you have to walk towards it, and control what you can when you can, and always, always move forward. I promise, the fulfillment you’re seeking is not going to be somewhere caught up in some time warp from your past. It’s ahead of you. And every single day, just by the pure act of getting out of bed that morning, you’re closer to it than you’ve ever been before.
(Still undecided on the best way to end a blog.)