No. 125

How I Lost (and Found) Myself

I love taking chances.

It’s been nearly a year since I moved to Roanoke, Virginia after meeting my boyfriend at an archery tournament last summer. I knew the only way for us to really explore our relationship was to shorten the distance between us. The high rent on my apartment in DC wasn’t quite suiting me anymore, as I struggled to build my business anyways, so it seemed like a good time to move to a less expensive area. I had high hopes that this new life I was embarking on would fit me.

Life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect.

Instead, I found myself in a really dark depressing place. I’m not speaking of Roanoke itself, but of my mental landscape in my new home. I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t relaxing or taking time for myself. I was just working. I discovered how difficult it was to see friends when I lived four hours away, and so I rarely saw or spoke with anyone. I let myself work, more and more and more, just so I had something to occupy my time. My boyfriend saw how much I worked, but I don’t think he ever understood how unhappy I was.

I was completely disconnected from myself, from my tribe, from the divine.

The darkness took hold.

This summer, the weigh of everything became too much. My health became a real issue that needed attention. Archery competitions made me anxious. My self-talk was incredibly negative and abusive. My relationship with my boyfriend was unraveling.

I felt completely lost.

But the darkness was an unexpected blessing.

One day, I realized the dark isn’t as dark as it seems. It’s not a bad place to be. The dark place I was in was actually illuminating areas of my life I needed to pay attention to; it was telling me that the state of things needed to change.

Slowly, I’m making those changes. I’ve been dealing with my health problems and reminding myself every day of how important it is that I’m mindful. With archery, I’ve gone back to the basics, ignoring targets and scoring and focusing on form and feeling. I decided to move away from Roanoke, closer to my friends in the DC/Northern Virginia area. I found a charming home to rent in Charlottesville with a nice yard in a quiet neighborhood. I decided that if I wasn’t happy right now, my life would never come together again, I would never connect in the way I wanted with others and with the World.

The future will be shades of light and dark.

There are still shadows on the path, but I see a horizon now. And while the land before me is vast and mysterious and I’m somewhat unsure of where I’ll go and what I’ll discover along the way, the path feels good.

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

3 thoughts on “How I Lost (and Found) Myself

  1. Oh Brandi,

    I could not have related to this post more than I already do now. It’s tough, sometimes – if not most of the time, to see the good in all of the bad. Even to this day, I’m still struggling to figure out what it is that I want to do with my life and why it is that I can’t seem to find what makes me happy. Each day is a step towards progress – albeit, it’s been quite a slow process, but progression is much better than no progression. I’m glad that you are finding happiness. Cheers for us and for anyone else out there that we will conquer all of our problems and find everlasting peace and happiness!

  2. The picture that you have in your mind’s eye and reality never quite match up (at least never for me) but I never cease in marveling in all the curve balls that life throws my way. Here’s to standing firm in the batter’s box. I’m thinking of you

  3. I can really relate to this right now. My life is feeling pretty dark. But I would never think of the dark as something that illuminates the areas that need help. Such a brilliant way of thinking of that. I’m so glad you’ve found a new place! Finding the right place to live is half the battle.

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.