The piece I was always meant to write
Identity is a confusing thing.
As a branding professional, identity becomes an extremely confusing thing, and one that is obsessed over daily.
I can't count the number of times I've changed my Instagram bio or layout of my website. The number of times I've changed my "defining words" whatever that means. As if, I must have three words that encompass all that I am and I must be perfect at those words daily.
It's exhausting is what it is.
I've realized so many things about myself this year. I've gone through some of my darkest moments, I've had some of my greatest accomplishments. I let different things get the best of me and didn't understand what I was going through, which eventually led me to, well, not really like me.
As a branding and "PR pro," you can imagine, this has been tough. I change my brand daily in hopes of finding the perfect match. In search of something that isn't there. Striving to find who I am beneath the Instagram bio or expectations I have set for myself. Trying to be content with who I am as a person.
But it's never there.
The reason... is this.
I will never "find myself" until I love myself. I will never love my brand or life until I love the person I have become. I will never be happy, until I am happy with me.
For a long time I struggled with why my brain went so many weird places this year, why I did certain things and went through so much. Why did this happen? Why did I sabatoge goals? Why can I not just be?
It wasn't until this weekend, when I was talking with a friend, and she spoke about the different things she has gone through in her life this year, that something clicked. Her sentiment was something like this, "Learn the lesson that life is teaching you through different struggles. If you are stubborn with your lessons and life events, things will continue to happen until life is certain you have been taught."
This resonated in a large way with me.
Last summer I competed in an NPC competition, well, I trained the whole summer for it anyway, and I finally got to where I wanted with my body and looks. But guess what? I still thought I had a ton of work to do. I still didn't think I was good enough. I still didn't love myself.
And when I still didn't love myself, I sabatoged my progress. Because, I'm not going to do something that extreme if it's not even worth it, right?
This was what sparked my tough year, however I know that this has been something I have dealt with for a long time.
I have struggled with self-love for years, and in doing so, I lose all sense of balance.
Want to be fit? Better be the most perfect body ever. Want to be an entrepreneur? Better be the youngest ever. Want to be financially stable? Better set up an insane savings plan that will be impossible to achieve.
And I was setting these insane goals, because I always thought I needed a drastic change. I thought that if only I could do something perfectly, I would finally love myself. Of course, I didn't know I was doing this at the time. I didn't know this until just now, today.
So many factors have gotten me to a place of needing to work on self-love, and so many factors that I will not go into here. It's hard to pin point it to one thing (believe me, I've tried). But I'm so tired of self-deprecating. I'm so tired of saying sorry. I'm so tired of not following goals due to extremity. I'm so tired of not living a more carefree life.
Being that I know that fitness is one of the major things in my life I want to tackle as I "get back to happy" as I am calling it, I decided to write up a perfect meal plan, workout routine, and prep with a 12 week goal like last summer.
I have finally realized, that I can't do that again.
I can't do that again, because if I do that again, I will sabatoge it after, or something else in my life will happen to **take a shit** on my happiness.
Because life is trying to teach me balance and self-love.
Life is trying to teach me that it's not about perfectly crafted plans and execution. It's teaching me that it's not about dieting for 12 weeks and then being done with it. It's teaching me that it's not about saving one million dollars I don't have a month. It's teaching me that you can go out with friends and not ruin all of your goals. It's teaching me to eat well, train hard, and enjoy the ride.
It's teaching me to finally be happy with who I am.
It's teaching me to be me.
Life has tried to teach me these lessons many times, for about three to four years, but I was always too stubborn to listen. Always thinking I needed perfect plans and that I was the exception to the rule that needed to be perfect in every way. I think this blog was the one I was always meant to write. Maybe it's the reason I started writing in the first place.. and it feels so good to write it (like actually just teared up wut).
And, maybe life didn't throw this at me to teach me balance and self-love, but I'm going to think so just the same. Because that brings me peace. Because that eases my regret and remorse. Because that puts to bed many anxieties. Because that makes moving forward and progressing prideful, and maybe even a little exciting rather than appearing as Mt. Everest in front of me every day.
Because that allows me to be free.
For me, it's not about setting more goals, it's about letting go of the goals that become obstacles on my path to happiness.
I've struggled with my identity (lol, duh), for a long time. But I'm finally ready to just be me.
I'm type a sometimes, type b sometimes. I'm extroverted, and sometimes I'm introverted. I love camping and the outdoors but I also love clothes and big cities. I love cabins, and I love city apartments. I love working out, but not that much. I love eating healthy, but I also don't. I have huge, vast dreams but I would also be happy with simply inspiring one person and leading a happy life in the woods. I'm driven most days, but some days I'm not. Sometimes I like to drink 10 mimosas and sometimes I don't. I'm a terrible cook but I'm great at posting Instas of food. I'm artistic and creative, but I'm also logical and rational. I'm a former ballerina that still tries sometimes. I love flowers, coffee mugs, and sunsets.
I'm just me.
I have realized now that it's not about having a perfect "brand." It's about doing things that genuinely bring you happiness. It's about realizing you can change your identity at anytime and walk away. Are you on the board of directors because it looks good on your resume or because you enjoy the work? Are you working at your job because you have to or because you are afraid to jump?
It's about finding what you love, mixing in what you have to do, and being happy with yourself along the way. It's about self-love and balance in all things.
It's a confusing thing.
But if you love yourself, you might not find it so confusing afterall.
So yes, I am "Anastasia Warren - strategic communicator and writer," but I am so much more than that.
And I think I kind of like me.