Musings from a (newly) 33-year-old
By KT Tedesco, Senior Director at oneTILT
These newsletter intros are really hard for me to write. I know that for some of us, writing comes naturally and easily and sometimes just pours out, seemingly without effort. For me? It has always been really overwhelming to write. When I was in college and had a paper due, I would agonize for days, sometimes weeks, over what exactly I wanted to say. What quotes to include, what angle to take, and don’t even get me started on perfectionism. I’d almost always procrastinate until the last possible second, lock myself in the library for 12 hours, and somehow emerge with a thing that felt like it was pulled out of my guts rather than something I had any control over creating. So, as I sit here on the literal last day for me to submit this piece to my very cool and very understanding colleague, I’m feeling familiar gut-pulling feelings.
But what’s been in my guts these days? Maybe an easier question would be what hasn’t. I just turned 33 this past weekend during a month where we’re all supposed to be just a little bit gayer in a country (and world) that’s supposed to be just a little bit better. And by “a little bit”, I mean in every possible way and by “supposed to”, I mean needs to– that is, if we have any hopes of healing. And so when a good friend of mine asked me what I want to be true for this next year of my life, I thought immediately about the word release.
What does it mean to let go of something — a place, a person, a way of being — and make space for newness and change? Anyone reading this who knows me knows that I’m one of the most annoyingly sentimental people on the planet, so letting go of places, people, and things isn’t exactly my strong suit. (I still have a faded note on a ripped paper napkin written 18 years ago by someone I don’t even talk to anymore about egg rolls – my first job was answering phones at a Chinese food restaurant in my neighborhood). Anyway, I’ve been working really hard with my therapist over this last year to recognize and explore the patterns I’ve repeated over and over again throughout my life in hopes of unlearning them and doing things differently. I realized that for the most part, a deeply wounded 13-year-old version of myself has been at the helm screaming for the last two decades making huge decisions, like which people to date, how to handle conflict, and how to cope with pain. And she. is. tired. She should be. She has no business steering a ship, but took that job because she thought she had to all those years ago.
And this brings me to my current gut-contents of releasing, forgiving, and letting go. Of saying to 13-year-old me “hey, you did really great. I’m so very sorry that I haven’t been there for you all these years and that you’ve had to do this on your own. I’m here now and I see you. I will keep you safe. You can rest now, I’ve got it from here.”
Since embarking on this incredibly difficult and absolutely terrifying journey, I’ve realized a few pivotal things and have made some pretty big decisions:
- everything is a circle. just as wounded little kt has been front and center for much of my life, so have wounded little mom and dad been front and center for my parents. What this means is that we’re all basically just little kids screaming to be loved in the ways we needed, but weren’t when we were young. So, if I’m working to forgive my young self for the decisions she’s made out of her pain, maybe I can also work to make space for forgiveness for the decisions my parents made out of theirs. release.
- the body always knows. i am in the process of saying goodbye to my first ever solo-apartment that I’ve lived in for the last 8 years. This wasn’t an easy decision to make; I’ve lived many lives here. I’ve loved and I’ve lost, I’ve screamed and I’ve laughed. But I realized that if I truly want to do things differently and let little me take her well earned rest, I need to make physical movement. I need to shed this place that has held me, protected me, and sometimes (more recently) confined me. In her blog, adrienne maree brown says of her own move, “it is good to shed. our whole lives become skins we wear. if we don’t grow, life can become this mess we are trying to fit into. i have outgrown the self i was in my old home. i will outgrow the self i am now with any luck.” So, with any luck, my body will continue to let me know when it’s time to shed. release.
- “i am mine. before i am ever anyone else’s.” or, at least that’s the goal. If I can learn to feel home within myself and remember that I belong deeply to myself, then I actually won’t ever be lost. release.
- and in the end, sometimes all you can do is dance. this one speaks for itself. Check out my latest freedom-evoking playlist, which includes some personal favorites and some favorites from the people of my heart. freedom.