What does it mean to reinvent self? According to Longman dictionary, it means to do some differently from before in order to improve. Reinvention by other names could be equated to Change. Transform. Make different. Modify. Adjust. Shift. Evolve.
Reinvention entails producing something new based on what already exists. It is not a rejection of what came before, it is not choosing to look only at what you like about yourself or to punish yourself or hide the things you don’t like. Reinvention honors your past and all of the lessons, experiences, training, and expertise you bring with you while simultaneously looking forward to future possibilities.
To reinvent oneself is not to pretend to be someone else hence the “fake it till you make it” method is not applicable, for that method is a “quick fix” which at the end fixes nothing and simply adds more “masks” to self. There is a difference between seeming different (faking it) and becoming different; the second honors your true self by gently pushing you to be brave enough to look at what isn’t working in your life and encourages you to release even more masks (false beliefs/preconditioning).
Making changes that focus merely on surface-level aspects of your life often won’t result in meaningful long-term reinvention. The reason people often fall for but fail at the “make it till you make it” process or “focus on the positive only” (otherwise you are considered a negative person; yet life is made of both aspects–to negate this is to negate reality) is because although at the beginning the newness can energize us, we are still working with the same internal parts and overall approach; eventually we’ll find ourselves feeling the need to make yet another change. Real self-reinvention happens from the inside out as you realign your life with your values, dreams and priorities, while working on healing wounds, traumas or working on building on your already existing but negated talents; because one is working with real aspects of self, transformation becomes permanent and dependable vs temporary and elusive.
We are used to living non-stop from morning to night: channeled into social behaviors that help us to seemingly live without problems and to carry out our daily activities. Sometimes the very things we have invested our resources and time in begin to look like a frame without an image, a tunnel of which at the end we only find a dead end.
At this point, the only way to find ourselves and aspire to a life of balance and joy, is to stop, and proceed to that point on the road (mentally) where there are so many paths and we can choose which one to travel on.
Reinventing yourself in everyday life, at work, in romance, within family, friendships and other type of interpersonal relationships, is the best investment you can make.
Why have I chosen to write about the process of reinvention? Well the past couple of years have been hectic and quite the rollercoaster for me; although, I tried to keep an objective view on things and tried to convince myself that I could handle everything, life kept throwing me around like a rag doll. In the last few months (specially the last 2) my life’s chaos intensify to a point which seem almost impossible to believe; on the one hand things are progressing to where I want them to be; on the other hand, demands from so many sides kept me unable to find my center, and if I did, it was not for too long.
I kept trying to tell myself that the chaos I was experiencing was the result of my shadow work; however, in my heart, I knew that wasn’t entirely true. My real self knew I was blaming my PTSD for not feeling strong enough and energized enough to handle everything, yet my spirit (that quiet peaceful but stubborn voice) kept whispering there was more to the story I was telling myself. I did not want to accept the fact I was tired from running around trying to fulfill all my roles (mother, partner, writer, caretaker, coach, volunteer, student). The more I gave, the more I felt people made more demands; I use the word accurately; they were demands; because when life wants to show you something, it intensifies it until you cannot longer ignore it…until my life became pure Chaos.
I always say chaos is magick because it is the intensified energy of light and darkness, which are what creation is made of; as such, chaos is the power to create but first it will rip off all the things you think are important but which might be stopping you from being magick. You will have to make a choice of what to do with that power, which direction to take your life in. If you are lucky and are paying attention, your chaos won’t be too bad. However, this time I had lost my compass, I stopped checking to see if “I” was ok. I kept pushing through even when I had just finished a solo crying session. I kept trying to understand why I was starting to feel so tired and unhappy yet I was afraid to take time to really look in. Notes from people telling me how much they value my help were and are beautiful yet I kept feeling like a fish out of water…I was drowning. I was not falling pray to the false ego of being “the great helper and humanitarian”, instead I was falling victim not just to the demands of others but also to my own. During my quiet moments, I knew I was leaving “me” behind, but I figure I could take it; people needed me. I didn’t want to disappoint, not because I care what others think, but because I didn’t want anyone to be left alone; the way I once felt; yet the more I gave the more lonely “I” became.
In the last weeks I could barely sleep, I found myself tired and cranky. I tried to cheer myself up with quick meditations and jokes but they didn’t feel like enough. The nightmares started to haunt me again, and I found myself not breathing properly; more like shallow breaths, agitated. Soon my chest felt odd, something I never felt before, yet I pushed past it until earlier this week; I felt so tired, as if I would just collapse on the spot. The doctor had to work hard at convincing me to go to emergency; long story short, there was a problem with my heart which came as a shock to me. Being spiritual/metaphysical, I felt frustration, sadness and relief. Frustration at knowing I had done this to myself; I had allowed the demands to get to be too much. Sadness because I did not honor myself first, I forgot my own rule….it matters not how “good” my intentions might have been, I had forgotten to take care of me first. Relief knowing I knew the way out; you see in my line of spirituality (mix of shamanism/metaphysics/sacred arts) we believe when your heart hurts is because you are not listening to your own tune. We are each born with our own unique music and rhythm, and when we forget to dance within that rhythm our heart hurts….you are not honoring yourself. I knew at that moment what I needed to do was to pay attention to me again, and that thought alone made me happy; for believe it or not , I love me…I love the quirky, odd, intense, sensual but nerdy misfit that I am. You see, I am someone who can be impulsive and that can be good or bad; however, being overly cautious was killing me.
My life is a unique one, not just because of what happened to me but because of who I am and my own choices. I have what my grandparents called a gypsy spirit. Although I “tried” (years ago) pleasing my parents (study law/study criminology) I also did a lot of things my way which they hated because it made me too unpredictable. I wanted to work on a radio station just to see how that felt, so I did (two of them actually). I wanted to work at a big Corporation, just to see if I could do it, so I did; I helped ran a pretty extensive program at the corporate’s headquarters. I wanted to work with NGO’s to better understand their work and I did. I love soccer, so I got it in my head to work for the Whitecaps and for a while I did help in their office; then I got bored–like any young person who enjoys the thrill of the stadium during a soccer match would have. I wanted to own my own business and I did (a few of them, all 3 were of different nature). I disappeared whenever I did not want to be found; disappearing from days to months–I am sure my father hated it but at the time I needed to do it. I once sold all my possessions and my condo; and went to South America, started a club/bar. I also bought a house away from everything and everyone, it did not go well, I knew nothing about the laws there. I don’t regret it entirely for I learned. I also made some good life friends, and experienced things I would not have had otherwise. I am not saying I am going to go and do all of that again; I have learned, but perhaps I had also learned to be too cautious. Instead of caution helping me feel fearless, it was doing the opposite, fear was settling in my heart more and more each day; thankfully my rebellious spirit fought back–perhaps not in the way I would have preferred, but it did and I am listening.
I can’t just drop everything off but I have chosen to cut a lot of things and some people off my life and embrace new things, new people. I am choosing to give the best of me in small amounts to others, so I can enjoy the very best for myself. I am choosing to look at my life and closely inspect what brought me to the point that my heart had to pay the price, and asking myself what makes me happy. Where is the impulsive (with maturity) misfit that I love so much–well she is here, she has always been here, and thank God I did not drown her; she was crazy enough to shake my heart so I may hear her and I am.
I am now thinking of all the things I do want to do; some old: getting back to belly dancing and Tantric dancing, going back to the shooting range (I do not like to haunt, I just love guns; perhaps because I am decent with them and through them I feel connected to my father). I want to spend more time gardening, hiking, swimming naked in cold rivers, lounging by the beach. I want to retake a long lost friend…my guitar.
I also want to try some new things: I want to get over my phobia of being behind the wheel of a car (I dated a car racer and during an accident, he almost ended up killing us both). I need to drive a car if I ever want to achieve my dream of owning a motorcycle. One day I want to ride my motorcycle along the coast of California, along Santorini, Tuscany and of course my ultimate dream to ride my motorbike along Calabria and Cinque Terre in Italy…so I guess I better get over my phobia quick, but you know what? this time I am inspired.
I want to learn to swim long distance, for currently my swimming really is more like a relaxed mermaid, I enjoy the water but I don’t move much and I want to change that. I want to continue writing because even though English is not my first language, I love writing, but I won’t pressure myself anymore with timelines. After all, this reinventing is upon building on myself, which for me is about listening again to my real self and if anyone including friends and family don’t like it , that’s cool… for it’s my path, my choices, my life and I choose not to escape life, not to be an spectator of it but to LIVE IT!
“You can be the most beautiful or loved person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you are drowning in all of it, none of that matters. To be heroic is to be courageous enough to dare to live your life according to your own tune. Listen to the quiet, wild yet wise voice within, it will not push you towards your destruction but guide you home”