The other morning, I woke up with a phrase on my mind: “The only way out is through.” I have no idea why this was the first thing that came to me as my brain was waking up, but it was. The only way out is through.
I have found myself repeating this phrase many times over the past several weeks. It’s become sort of a mantra for me.
A mantra or a prayer of sorts. Same difference.
The only way out is through.
We are moving through so many things right now. Things that feel heavy and hard. Things that cause us to feel stressed to the max, anxious and worried. Things that cause us to have a hard time making sense of our feelings or our current situation.
It can be really disheartening. And as much as I’d love to give you some easy steps to follow to make it all better, I don’t have any.
However, writing is always my go-to for trying to make sense of what’s happening within me and around me. And that’s why I wrote myself the following letter in my journal. Because it has helped me, I thought it might help you too.
If you are reading this, you’re still in it. You’re still growing. Still fighting. Even when it feels like you have given up, or lost, or retreated, or been taken captive by the sheer chaos of it all… you haven’t.
You are still in it. Still slogging it out. You are beautiful, but you are not a show pony. You’re here to do the work. This is the work of life. This is the part that’s ugly. The part that feels like moving backward, or at the very least standing still. You are not standing still. You are moving forward.
You are moving through this, whatever it is.
Through the discomfort and awkwardness. Through the struggle and the pain. Through the darkness where you can’t see even one centimeter in front of your face. Through the uncertainty. Through what feels like the never-ending questions with no answers that seem to satisfy.
Through funky thought patterns that have kept you stuck, and bizarre, outdated belief systems that no longer serve you. Through times where you didn’t even know you were lost and even though things were sort of easier that way, now you realize you can never return to them. Because the only way out is through.
Through the beauty and the ugliness. Through the joy and the heartbreak. Through the elation of thinking you’ve finally figured something out to the agonizing realization you still know very little.
Maybe you haven’t always had the tools you have now. Your muscles in certain areas might be weak because you haven’t needed them or maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to use them. Now you are putting them to use.
It’s normal to be sad. It’s normal to cry or yell. It’s normal to feel like you don’t have any of the answers. You may never have them, and that’s okay, too. A lot of people who seem to have all the answers are just pretending.
There are really hard things that have happened to us, and they have real effects in our lives. There is no statute of limitations on figuring anything out. Nobody has to understand or approve of how you are dealing with it, and it’s okay if they don’t.
We don’t know what the journey will look like. Or what things will happen to us along the way. But I know this: Every tiny step you take while moving through this gets you just a little bit closer to your truest self.
You are terrific and the universe is in awe of you. Every gold star in the sky twinkles for you. You will laugh again. And eat toast and jam. And be hugged and held. And love and be loved. You will look back on this and have all sorts of feelings for this period in your life.
But remember, this life is short. Even if you live to be 101, it’s not really a long time in the grand scheme of things. You’re here now. If all you can do is wake up and brush your teeth and drink coffee or tea, that’s okay. Look out the window. Listen to the birds. Let yourself be exactly where you are. Tell yourself it’s okay. And if it isn’t okay right now, it will be eventually.