Three years ago I met my hero. She was awesome. She did things she, and probably everyone who knew her, thought she could never do. When from the outside, it looked like everything was falling apart, she was keeping it together, drawing on magical super-powers that helped her bounce back up from every little trip and stumble.
Ever since that time, I’ve been trying to be just like her. I reflect back on her every move and see if I can replicate what she had achieved. Yes, I know that it doesn’t do us any good to compare ourselves to others or even idolize them, but it gets a little tricky when that idol is you.
One of the joys of my new job is the commute. Although I live less than 5km away from the office, it takes me an average of 40 minutes each way to get there via transit. Don’t get me started on how ridiculous Toronto’s transit situation is because the amount of expletives I’d have to use would be sure to get some sort of censor’s attention. But I digress. It seemed that my co-workers who live in the same area got around the annoyance by simply walking to work, so a few weeks ago, I decided to brave the Canadian cold and make the trek by foot. 50 minutes. Again, don’t get me started.
But this whole walking business has been a bit of a blessing in disguise. I actually really like it. It’s a good time to do some “mental sorting”, as my sister likes to call it, and to walk through Toronto streets while signing out loud to whatever is playing on my iPod. My apologies to those who are suffering from premature cringe lines along my route. But it’s also a time when I’m blessed with little epiphanies. Today’s epiphany (ok, there are not epiphanies *every* day), was this: stop idolizing who you were.
Indeed, the person I was three years ago has been my hero for as many years. Her 13 year relationship disintegrated and pretty much everything about the life she’d known up until then crumbled with it, and instead of hiding from the world, she carefully stepped out of the rubble in kitten heels and a checkered mini, dusted herself off and went about the business of being as fabulous a girl as she could be. And not just because she thought she should, but because she knew she was. She exercised, she ate well, she tried new things, she made new friends and she dared to be different. All was good.
As we all know though, time doesn’t stand still. I continued to evolve, and sometimes, I’d find myself in tough situations. Scary, crap-your-pants kind of stuff where you’re forced to ask big questions and do your best to answer them. And in typical Sylvie style, I’d always try finding my answer by asking another question: What would Sylvie do?
Oh yes, “what would Sylvie do?” Such a wonderful yet completely irritating question that I unfortunately answer from the perspective of a three year old, rattling off every activity that would fill my schedule and habit that would shape my actions. And for the past three years, I’ve been trying to mimic those things, trying desperately to tap into those Sylvie super powers. Maybe I need to work out more to blow off steam. Maybe I should try to fit into my size 3 pants (dear God – I can’t get started on that ridiculousness). Maybe I need to go back to eating yogurt every afternoon with grapes and sliced almonds in it. Maybe I need to have the same haircut as I did then. Maybe I need to find another pair of those apple earrings I lost that summer. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Oh barf. Please.
Now that I realize it, I see how ridiculous it is. I have put the me that I was on some sort of pedestal, but if I try hard to put myself back into the head-space I was in back then, I hardly felt that I had it all figured out. And I didn’t.
I don’t quite know how to stop doing it, but I’ll give it my best shot. The best I can come up with is that the Sylvie from then did what she had to do, and it’s led her to where I am now. I’m not the same person, and I’m not in the same circumstances. But yes, I can certainly do my best to do what needs doing.
But there is one Sylvie super-power that I’ve admired the most, and lately, I have needed it so badly but found it to be missing whenever I called upon it. The heroic me went through some tough times and she shed more than a few tears, but somehow, she’d always manage to set it aside after a few minutes. She’d say “Crying isn’t going to fix anything, and it’s not much fun anyway. Go do something else and stop being so sad.” She was so smart. And it always seemed to work. I’ve been finding myself on tough times again lately, and what’s made it even tougher is that telling myself the same thing never helped. I couldn’t convince myself to stop crying. Or to stop being so sad. I know that it’s important to live through our feelings, but sometimes, you just know you’re not doing yourself any favors by wallowing in them, and it’s scary when you can’t stop. Especially when you used to have that ability.
But today, something happened. I was at the store and I was in tears. It wasn’t much different than it’s been so many times over these last few months, that is until I stopped. My super power was back. My magical lens zoomed out and gave me the perspective I needed. Sure, something was upsetting me, but I had plenty of other things to do and I carried on with them. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I did it. Thank you Super Sylvie.This post may contain affiliate links.
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