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Once Was Lost and Now...I'm (Almost) Found

Hey all you cool cats and kittens! How much would you hate me if I told you I legitimately have no idea where that phrase came from and why everyone's starting off every email, zoom call and the like with it?!? I feel like it came from that Tiger King show, that's the only logical answer I can come up with, but alas, I haven't watched it nor do I plan on doing so...So here I am using a phrase whose origins are unfounded.

Nevertheless, another week in the "Q." How are you doing? How's your mental health? Are you tackling each week with ease, finding new things to "fill your cup" so to speak or do you still find yourself in that dark "Quarantine Black Hole" with no light at the end of the tunnel (hole?) in sight?

This week was somewhere in the middle for me. I had a moment when I was out chasing my 10,000 steps (okay, if I'm being honest I average about 7k - 10k is SO MANY!), an overwhelming sense of morbidity hit me - "what am I doing?" While I'm a creature of habit in a lot of ways, too much of a good thing (the good thing being routine) can actually stifle me and my creativity and bring me to a dark place of dread which is where I found myself while out chasing those steps.

That fateful question brought me back to a post I wrote a little over a year ago "Fiercely...Lost." 

Now, if you read that post, first of all thank you, second of all I AM OKAY. It's so funny the response I get from posts in which I engage in a little stream of consciousness if you will. You have to remember I AM A WRITER, expressing myself through the written word is my form of therapy it is NOT A CRY FOR HELP. At least not yet...

Just had to get that off my chest.

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Anyway, while I have not found the compass of life just yet, I have made some strides and read some impactful self-help books along the way. Shout out to my fellow non-fiction readers. (If you watch my Instagram stories you know I dabble in Fiction too).

I realized while rereading that post that I didn't fully explain myself or my situation, why I truly found myself waking up every morning thinking "what the heck am I doing with my life," just like I asked myself that the other day while out on a run. LOL. See, compass yet to be discovered.

In February 2019, when that post was published, I had been rejected from two jobs I interviewed for between the timeframe of April 2018 and October 2018. Guess what? After February 2019, I was rejected from TWO more. You heard that right, between April 2018 and September of 2019 I was rejected from FOUR jobs.

What a dud - am I right??? Maybe now the whole feeling "Fiercely Lost" makes a little more sense given that context. And the best part is I wasn't even HALFWAY done with rejection at that point in time. HAH.

Let's rewind.

After college, I was grateful to be offered an entry level job working for an incredible international brand. While I knew I would have to "do the dirty work" so to speak, to prove myself and my capabilities, I was more than prepared to work hard, show my stuff, and work my way up the corporate ladder. Ah, the dream.

Like any post-grad experiences starting work immediately after graduation, life in the workforce had it's fair share of ups and downs. I found the adjustment extremely difficult if I'm being honest and it began to affect all areas of my well-being, including my mental and physical health. It affected my relationship with my significant other, my weight, and worst of all, my relationship with myself.

I was deep DEEP in the dark hole of post-grad uncertainty with absolutely zero light at the end of the tunnel (hole - man I keep doing that!). I dreaded waking up each morning and going to a job that inflicted more stress than joy and one I wasn't even confident I really wanted to be doing.

Cortisol was through the roof and as a result the weight started piling on - physically AND emotionally.

I didn't recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror and it took the loving guidance and support of people close to me to help me realize the negative energy I was projecting into the world.

You reap what you sow my friends and let me tell you, I was sowing nothing but weeds.

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I wish I could tell you it was that easy for someone to just slap the silly out of me but unfortunately it took a lot more than that. It took my mom getting sick for me to realize how precious life is and how much of it I had been wasting on a pity party of one.

Oh, you didn't know about the hottest event of the season? Sorry, you weren't invited! Pity party of ONE, remember??

I had spent months and months, if not years, feeling sorry for myself. Feeling sorry at the situation I was in, the negative head space, the dark cloud that seemed to surround me every where I went. It felt like nothing could go right in my career, my relationship, my friendships, my life, NOTHING.

And then my mom was diagnosed with cancer and my entire world was flipped upside down. I'll never forget the moment I found out. I was sitting on the couch in my apartment alone when my mom called. Red flag numero uno - being alone.

My mom always answers the phone extremely energetically and loudly if I'm being honest, but this time was different. Her voice had a softness, a trepidation to it that warned me that what she was about to say wasn't easy.

I don't think it was real in that moment. I've never really had disease or health issues in my family (knock on wood) and aside from my grandpa's sudden passing when I was 9, trauma like this, especially related to family member's health, was not something I had experienced.

I called my boyfriend after that, and it was in that moment that I told him, that I said the words out loud with the same softness and trepidation I had heard in her voice just minutes before, that it hit me. My mom, the person who singlehandedly raised me into the human I am today, had cancer. Cancer.

This started a journey of doctor's appointments, chemotherapy, radiation, hair loss, the whole nine yards and lots of back and forth trips to Sacramento. In that moment I was so grateful not only to live a mere six hour drive from my mom but to work for a company and a boss who afforded me the opportunity to work from home and be there with my mom as often as I could be as she fought the good fight so many of us pray never to have to do.

More than that, this started a journey of happiness. Crazy, right? At the time at which my mom was diagnosed, I was deep in the process of pursuing a new job and had already been rejected from at least one, maybe even two at that point. Nevertheless, my feelings of rejection and self-deprecation all came crashing down and suddenly I saw life through different glasses.

This life that I felt had continued to kick me while I was down had kicked me YET AGAIN however this time was different. This time it was the last time. It was the last time I would let myself get a foot straight in the ribcage and sit by and watch it happen. It was the last time I would allow myself to be pushed to the ground and think "of course I was pushed to the ground, nothing good happens to me EVER."

(Admit it, you just imagined a time in your life when you felt the exact same way. I know, I know, been there, done that. Am I right??)

I realized what's important in life. I realized that the energy you bring forth in life is the energy you receive. It's no wonder I was getting shitted on left and right! Talk about Negative Nancy.

This turning point in my life helped me prioritize. I realized that the little things, the BS that I was damn near crying over EVERY DAY, finding my cortisol shooting through the roof, DIDN'T MATTER. My mom was suddenly in a hospital going through chemotherapy and I was crying because I didn't get ANOTHER JOB?? (And then another, and another and ANOTHER but hey who's counting).

WOW. Get over yourself Casey.

It was this life-changing moment that helped me reframe my entire outlook and while I still may be kinda lost today, I'm making steps in the right direction and I can tell you I'm a whole hell of a lot happier. Plus I got really good at hearing "no" and bouncing back stronger than ever.

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I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Job after job that I kept losing, I kept reminding myself that everything happens for a reason I just hadn't found mine yet.

Plus, I was getting incredible interview practice, meeting new people, expanding my network and remembering the amazing work I had done and the true positive impact I had made on people in a few short years.

I realized that despite my rocky start and Negative Nancy tendencies (we don't need to remember her), I had changed for the better. I had developed into someone I was proud to look at in the mirror every morning and even better than that, I didn't dread waking up and going to work each and every day. Sure I was still in a job that didn't fulfill me but I was still learning, growing and gaining something every day whether by way of an interaction with a coworker or by having to deal with a challenging situation. I was testing myself and working on ME for ME.

I had finally allowed the best version of myself to overtake this hideous version of myself that I wasn't even really sure how she got there. I mean really, who invited HER??

And you know what happened?? I GOT THE JOB. I found my reason. After four interviews, three of which weren't even in California and four rejections, on my fifth try it was a YES. And not only that but it was a YES in the best city in the world, in my home, my happy place, Los Angeles.

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Everything happens for a reason. What was my reason? I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready (nor meant) to leave Los Angeles (hello proximity to home in Northern California). I certainly wasn't mentally ready to be thrown into a brand new job and environment and I wasn't physically ready with the proper tool belt of experiences and skill sets (just yet) to truly flourish.

Don't get me wrong, I am still finding my way. I'm still learning and growing, still finding my place and my voice in this brand new space but one thing is for certain - I like me again. She still has some things to work on but I like this work in progress and I like working on me FOR ME.

I've found my smile again and I'm attracting the energy I put out in the universe. POSITIVE energy.

Everything happens for a reason my friends. Every setback in life is meant to happen. It's there to teach you something that you weren't otherwise learning. It's there to push you to a point of discomfort, so much so that you may even lose yourself along the way. However, if you persevere, if you push through the noise and the heartache, I promise you you will come out on the other side of it a better person.

Good things come to those who fight for it. As for me? I'm glad I kept fighting. I'm glad I didn't take no for an answer and I'm even more glad at the version of myself that emerged.

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(Originally Published April 30, 2020)

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