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Wizard of Oz, not Golden Girls.

Have you ever had a Dorothy moment? Sitting in the bedroom while your entire life, house, and all variety of things, are swept up in a metaphorical twister, and the bits and pieces of it fly by without any possible hope of you being able to grab hold and take charge? You sit on the bed, looking out the window, watching it all go whirling about thinking “how did this happen?”

I remember my Dorothy moment quite clearly. It was August 31, 2010. I sat in my sweet 2004 Dodge Neon and stared numbly off into the night. How on earth was this my life? How was I surrounded by so much of other people’s drama and negativity – to the point where my entire well-being had been put into jeopardy? I was eating poorly, not working out, sleeping little, drinking too much, and increasingly surrounding myself with the wrong type of people. I’d tried to ease my way out of it. How could I make people understand that this was not who I was, who I wanted to be, without hurting their feelings?

The result was to make myself a priority. It sounds simple when you say it like that, but very few people do. We are too worried about coming off as self-centered and conceited. The truth is, if you don’t put yourself and your well-being first, no one else is going to. I was stuck in a rut – my dreams were fading fast and I was just sitting there watching them slip away, not doing a single thing about it – all because I was too worried about how my embracing me and my own happiness would be perceived by people (people that, frankly, didn’t seem to care all that much about my happiness.)

So I stopped. I took some dramatic steps. I stopped talking to certain people in a very serious way. Phone numbers were blocked, facebook friends were deleted, certain individuals – despite all their manipulative attempts to lure me back into their lives – were told, quite clearly, to stay away. I even had, unfortunately, some innocent casualties. Well-meaning acquaintances were cut out simply because I wanted as few connections to these negative entities as possible.

From the outside it may have seemed rather dramatic. But from where I stood, my life was an episode of “Hoarders” – except instead of “stuff” I was hoarding negative people and bad habits. So, I pulled up my virtual garbage bin, and started emptying out the stuff I no longer wanted. I started to take control of, and responsibility for, my own life.

I took this pretty far – my new years resolution for 2011 was to NOT DATE. No dating for the entire year. For someone who’d not been without a boyfriend for more than 6 months since freshman year of high school this was a pretty serious shift. But, my relationship track-record was a fantastic display of self degradation. The societal pressure to settle down in your late 20s is ridiculous, and choosing that time to go on my relationship purge was tough. But I did it, and it worked.

Twenty-five months after my Dorothy moment, I write this on the precipice of great change and surrounded by positivity and love. My friends and family are fantastic, and have always stood by me. More importantly, I have my own back now. I don’t fall by the wayside because something less satisfying is “easier,” or because I’m scared of my dreams or potential, or because I’m frightened of failing.

I’m writing this blog and opening up my journeys/thoughts/musings to the virtual world as an attempt to show that we can all come out of it. I can follow my dreams. I can do what makes me happy. I can run a marathon. I can write a book. I can find a satisfying career path. I can have healthy, loving relationships.

If I can, you can – don’t ever doubt it.

A favorite quote from a friend of mine – to all of you struggling through a dark time: “It’s always all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end.” Tape it to your mirrors.

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