Press Restart

“Once or twice a year, I find myself in a period of closure where I happen to be finishing several shows, books, or other pieces of media at a time, and making other changes to my life. I lean into these periods of closure and renewal, making sure my home and body are in the ideal shape for the new me.”

The other day, I posted this sentiment to Twitter to talk about my need for a “reset” playlist.

That playlist is still a WIP, but here it is if you’re interested.

How Far I’ll Go

You’ll notice that some of the songs come from Moana. I always take time to watch Moana during these periods of reset, because she speaks to my heart more than any other Disney movie. I cried almost nonstop during the beginning and ending of that movie.

It came out while I was still living in Columbus, OH, dreaming about leaving. Moana was told, “You must find happiness right where you are.” That was one fear I had – that the problems I tried to run from back home would follow me into the mountains.

But she knows she has to leave anyway: “If I go, there’s just no telling how far I’ll go.” She feels her potential is being stifled in Motonui. Same.

She is given some grand mission and purpose for leaving, but hesitates when her grandmother falls suddenly ill. A teary-eyed Moana says, “I can’t leave you.” I bawled in the theatre. My grandma just about raised me, and I felt so guilty for leaving when I could spend her last few years with her.

But of course, her grandma wants her to be happy, and says, “There is nowhere you can go that I won’t be with you.” Ugh. Such big baby tears.

And along the way, Moana finds her potential and finds out who she really is: “I am everything I’ve learned and more…. Come what may, I know the way. I am Moanaaaaaaa!!!!!”

Yeah you are, girl. Get it.

How Far I’ve Come

This movie speaks to me in my periods of reset, because it speaks to a new potential. I can travel as far as I want to. I am Moana, damnit!
But sometimes in this never-ending journey of self-improvement and fresh starts, I focus too much on where I’ll go and forget about how far I’ve come.

So I want to take a minute to appreciate the work I’ve put in to get here.

There was once a woman who lived in a townhouse with her husband, her sister, her niece, four cats, and a dog. She barely spoke to any of them. She had no job, and she rarely showered or changed clothes. Her apartment was disgusting. She gained 50 lbs in a year, living on a steady diet of anti-depressants, fast food, and about four cans of soda a day just to stay awake for ten hours per day and play MMOs.

That woman was me, for about a year. She still hangs out inside my mind and maybe one day she’ll come back. I hope not.

Since then, I have saved my failing marriage. My diet is healthy now, and my fatigue is under control. That said, with hypothyroidism and PCOS I don’t think the damage I did to my body will ever be undone.

I held a remote job for 4.5 years with a Fortune 500 company. I received my BA in English, winning an award in 2015 for best undergraduate essay. I received a grant writing certification.

I have also built a modest portfolio as a content marketer, publishing a few dozen articles across the web (lately in the mental health sphere), creating a dozen WordPress websites, and successfully assisting a digital marketing agency with their SEO campaigns.

And I am technically proficient. I learned basic Linux commands to run and maintain my own cloud-based Ubuntu server.

I moved seven and a half hours away with my husband to the city of our dreams. It’s hard to make ends meet here, especially as I am underemployed. But I have options for work, and I’m not giving up.

I found the Twitter MH community. I learned the difference between mild depression (like a cold I can work through) and days I need to stay in bed (like a flu). I learned self-care techniques. I learned to crochet, and technically learned to knit, though I’m bad at it. And I learned about four chords on the ukulele.

I am everything I learned and more.

Beyond these biographical facts:

  • I’m a little bit obsessed with dogs.
  • I am a lifelong learner, and currently studying proto-mythology (look up Dyeus Phter if you’re interested in what that means). 
  • I’m agnostic and think there’s about a 10% chance God exists.
  • I’m an INFJ; I have big dreams for changing the world and I think I can achieve them. 
  • I would love to be a fiction author.
  • I’m interested in homesteading.
  • I’m a democratic socialist.
  • I’m intelligent, driven, empathetic, and on a good day, I honestly believe I’m pretty.

These things don’t sound as poetic as, “I am a girl who loves my island, and a girl who loves the sea,” but I’m proud of all Val 2.0 can do. It doesn’t mean I’m stopping, but I don’t want to focus so much on the forward momentum that I fail to appreciate how far I’ve come.