‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?’
– Mary Oliver
Do you feel like:
- you’re constantly checking off items on your to-do list but never really moving forward?
- you have much more to offer the world than you’re currently outputting?
- you have a hard time acting for fear of failing, looking dumb, being laughed at, being revealed as a fraud?
- you can’t silence the inner critic in your head telling you you’re not ____ enough? Not smart enough, not ready enough, not thin enough, etc.?
- you’ll be happy when ____ happens? When you have more money, another degree, more time, better clothes, new friends, a different job?
- you’re on autopilot and/or about to hit a wall?
If any of that sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place.
If you feel stuck or overwhelmed or dissatisfied or lacking, I know exactly what you’re feeling. I’ve been there. For about two decades, I lived there. Working too hard, buying too much, being too busy, eating too poorly, sleeping too little, always thinking happiness was just around the corner, and feeling like I wasn’t enough.
But I don’t live like that anymore. And you don’t have to either.
My name is Mallory. Some time in my early teens, I let my inner critic or my ego take the reins and start calling the shots. I became a sort of thoughtless, achievement-oriented robot, moving through my days checking off the things I thought I was supposed to be doing and anesthetizing my pain through various means like shopping and binge-watching TV.
I experienced three major bouts of deep depression between the ages of 15 and 26, with a sort of mild depression at all times in between. The third time around, my therapist told me she was honestly amazed I hadn’t committed suicide because she didn’t think it was possible for a person in as much pain as I was in to get up and go to work every day.
Now, however, I live a life of profound gratitude, self-compassion, mindfulness, simplicity, patience, awareness, clarity, and focus. I live consciously and deliberately. This is not to say that I no longer experience pain, grief, anger, shame, and fear. Of course I do. I am a human being. But now when I experience difficult emotions and hear the voice of my inner critic, I am able to hold those feelings for a time in a healthy way, see them and their patterns for what they are, and release them without letting them define me. As a result, I am able to spend a much greater proportion of my days in joy, peace, love, and courage.
My background and my goals: I got a BA in English, thinking I’d like to teach high school or college literature. Feeling too afraid of graduate school at first, I taught high school English for a few years before getting my MA in English. Now, I’m 32 and working on a PhD in English in North Carolina. I live in a little house on a quiet street with my boyfriend and rescue dog. I have a wonderful group of friends, near and far, and although graduate school is incredibly challenging both intellectually and emotionally, I love my life here.
I haven’t decided if I will go on the academic job market when I finish this degree. For a while, I thought I had chosen the academic route because I derived self-worth from external approval and for me, external approval was always granted because of my performance in school. When I detached from that mode of validation, I realized that I have other callings–one in particular that’s always been there but that got buried over the years. During the past decade of teaching, my favorite moments have been connecting with students who are feeling stuck by their limiting beliefs, helping them to move past those beliefs and take charge of their lives. Research and literature have been important to me, but they always felt secondary to building relationships and helping others find their light.
Learning to listen to my intuition and trust myself has enabled me to recognize that my ultimate purpose is to empower others to overcome their inner critics and limiting beliefs, and lead the lives they want. What form that will take only time will tell. For the time being, I work part-time as a certified professional life coach because I believe each person has the power to lead and transform the world around him or her, but we hold ourselves back. Doing the work to complete a PhD while teaching and coaching (and working two other part-time jobs!) is a long and bumpy road, but with the support of loved ones and lots of self-compassion, I am wholeheartedly committed to the process. And ironically enough, coaching helped me rediscover my passion for literature.
I started this blog in November 2016 to document what I think about and do–things that have helped me emerge from the fog of my previous life that I do on a regular basis now to experience present moment peace. I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I still have a lot of questions, but I do know what has worked for me so far.
Publishing a blog can be agonizing for a recovering perfectionist like me because I’ve made public old versions of myself trying to work out challenging realizations and feelings that I now view as quite simple. But I won’t go back and edit those entries in case it helps readers wrestle with some of their own truths and because I’m now in a place where I like to look back and see my progress. I hope you’ll stick with me as I find my way–it’s a daily practice, one I feel privileged to have.
On this blog, you might find entries about
- Physical wellness (ways to move your body and how to nourish it)
- Emotional wellness (mindfulness, self-compassion, self-care, intentional living, personal growth)
- Environmental wellness (minimalism in your space)
- Social wellness (practicing selfless empathy, learning how to say both yes and no, developing true intimacy with others)
- Intellectual or career wellness (progress over perfection, procrastination strategies, work vs. self-worth, process-based small goals)
- Spiritual wellness (meditation, visualizations, affirmations, values)
- Financial wellness (value-based spending, a healthy view of money, planning)
Having been an avid blogger in high school, I am relatively new to today’s blogging world, and a lot has changed. My goals for this blog are to relate, to learn, to share, to grow, to overcome, and to inspire. If you like what you read, please subscribe or share with a friend, and join me as I embrace my imperfections and run headfirst into the unknowable future.