I’ve been trying to write this thing for a while. When As Told By Women reached out to me I was honored to be part of a platform that is brimming with different kinds of women, from various backgrounds and careers, who are all inspiring, relatable, honest, and down to earth in their own unique way. It was a responsibility that I felt I needed to uphold, and I needed to get clear on what I wanted to say.
First and foremost I want to say, that you my love, are beautiful and wondrous, and perfectly imperfect. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially yourself. In a world where we are drowned in noise, chaos, devastation, opinions, beliefs – it’s hard to hold a space for ourselves. It’s hard to align with what truly matters within our bones. But we have to try. We are all we got. We have to be the champions of our own lives, no one can do that for us. And it’s taken me so long to even get to this point of admitting that I am enough for myself.
As I enter the third decade of my life, I can’t help but feel some sort of loss. Grieving over my twenties. They taught me a lot. I learned how to do a keg stand. I learned how to open a bottle of wine and that Boone’s Farm is revolting. I learned to delete a lot of my Facebook albums from it’s early ages. I learned how to structure the perfect cheese board. I learned that it’s quality not quantity. I learned how to travel solo and to always wear sunscreen. I learned how to fall in love. I learned how to start a business. I learned how to fail at business. I learned to take a leap of faith. I learned to be open and receptive to others, especially those different from me. I learned a lower heel is way more powerful and comfortable. I learned confidence isn’t given to you, it’s already within. I learned to go at my own pace, whether it’s Fast and Furious style or Dazed and Confused style, or both if I’m feeling crazy. I learned to forgive myself.
My twenties led me to the most profound connection and relationship I could ever want, and that relationship was with myself. I constantly struggle with that bond. It isn’t an easy one. I wish I could say it was. But like every relationship, you have to nurture it. Doubt creeps in, worry, nagging fears, you know all that mind-blowing havoc your brain likes to sink into. But that’s when you know you’re making strides. That’s when you need to push through. When your mind puts on protection mode and prompts it’s safer repeating the same habits, being a victim to your own suffering than going out and stepping off a cliff, hoping to land in the net of life – you need to just step off the cliff.
What a mindfuck am I right? Jump off the cliff?! Yes. A million times yes! I have been in the position of being stuck, of being unmotivated, questioning and blaming everything in my way many, many times. It’s very human of us to get frustrated at mental blocks, lethargy, and stagnant energy. But with that lack of focus, we can’t zero in on the true culprit, which is ourselves. It’s hard for me to relinquish control. I’m a planner. I like things tidy and neat. I like to know where we are going and when we are going. These things are fine when it comes to finances and adult responsibilities, but it seeps into my being. My expectations. Wanting to be certain about my future. It’s something that I hold on to tightly and find false comfort.
Now I’m already in big trouble, because I have one of the most uncertain careers on the planet. That of an artist. My control freak wiring with this kind of unpredictable career means ultra meltdown. And yes, I’ve had plenty. But when I get to the root of it all, it’s because of these written narratives my brain has been replaying over and over to keep me safe on the cliff, instead of jumping.
A short excerpt from Jodi’s asshole brain narrative:
“You’re almost 30, shouldn’t you be further along in your career? It’s probably because you’re not good enough. You’re getting older, no one is going to care about you anymore. You don’t have anything great to say. If you aren’t there now, you should just give up. If only you did this 10 years ago, things could be different–”
I’ll just cut it off there, you get the point.
Our brains can be assholes. And we are not our brains, they are only part of our function. Those thoughts we get so consumed with? Yea not true! A false reality. They’re an illusion. I know, another mindfuck. The old adage, life is what you make it – well it’s accurate! Life is what you make it. What you perceive isn’t necessarily the truth. Our souls want to be heard, you can’t ignore it. Amidst the chatter, our highest truth peeks through every now and then and it wants you to fly. That is where your guidance is, it’s your homecoming. And when we don’t allow it to shine, confusion sets in, our realities are blurred and we are in the same position on the cliff.
Seven years ago, I cried in my shower getting ready for the day because of where my life was headed. Oh my 23 year old self was so dramatic – I had a pretty rad full-time job, with pretty rad benefits, lived in my pretty rad hometown, with my very rad sister. But something was missing. I wasn’t whole. And I had been settling for the experiences that were externally brought into my life. I ran away from my truest desires because I was too afraid to fight for them. I was telling myself, this was meant to be, these are the cards I was dealt. Well you can always fold and be dealt in again – I don’t play poker, so this is probably a horrible reference – but that is precisely what I did. I changed the hand. I changed the outcome. I made a move, and decided to throw myself into my passion of acting and move to Los Angeles. It was one of the most monumental, liberating moments of my life, and I never looked back.
I see myself repeating some of the same ideologies from back then. But this time, I can’t just get up and move cities, it’s much deeper than that. It’s being okay with where I am. It’s being okay with the process. It’s leaving behind expectations and making room for more curiosity, wonder, and openness to the unknown. Open to the fruits of life, to grow and expand. Take up space for myself, get messy and lean into the uncomfortable. To no longer resist growing pains because they are what is necessary for transformation. I encourage you to open your eyes to your shadows, to soften into your tangled parts. The courageousness to do so, I promise you is the most rewarding.
With this rollercoaster of life, we can’t take what makes us special for granted. When you find your rhythm, don’t stop. Excel. Push the accelerator and keep going. Don’t allow a revival to leave you ungrounded and push you out of reality. Stay humble. How you do anything is how you do everything, and it filters into all aspects of your life. Where do you want your life to shift? Where do you want your life to be? See it clearly, and surrender to your emotions that surround that shift. Open up to them. Understand them. Ask the hard questions. You can always move past whatever mountain is in front of you. No feat is too big. When your wishes bring a fire and passion into your life, own it. Take action and shine. Your truth is never lost on you. No matter how dark things may seem, you’ll always regain that consciousness to find your truth. Live and breathe your truth. That is the most honest thing we can do for ourselves and it outpours to the greater collective. It’s your power, your wisdom, your best friend. When you uncover it, you’ll wonder why you ever kept it in the dark.
As I release this hold on my twenties, I release an old version of me. But in order to find yourself, you must lose yourself. I know my youth isn’t over, it’s just a mindset. I know my career isn’t over unless I say so. Through this struggle and self-awareness, I’ve learned my biggest lesson of all – that I am where I’m meant to be. I’m in my power. I’m in my strength. I don’t need to be an image of myself, I just need to be myself. True, authentic, awkward, loving, strange, loud self – and if you know me, you know I’m loud. I’ve learned to really truly love me – all of me. To fill myself up and let the rest pour out to the world.
Love yourself fiercely.
Hello thirty. Let’s do this.
Jodi moore Lewis
Jodi is an actress, filmmaker, and co-founder/designer of the fabulous paper goods line, Noted Studio.