Oprah Winfrey once said, "We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are."
A few messages, and months later, I finally agreed to have a sit down with long-time high school friend, Ian, as a guest on his podcast, the English Coach Podcast.
On the day I agreed and provided a topic, I didn't realize that I had this very topic noted in my "things to write about" two years prior. Nothing beats the right time!
Having never been a guest on a podcast before, I started asking a myriad of questions. How would it work and what kind of questions would I be asked? And Ian, being the consummate host, obliged and sent me a few questions which eased my anxiety, a bit. Suffice it to say, in the end, we veered off topic during the interview, had a beautiful conversation, and I never died. Listen to the podcast here. My voice is not hard on the ears, so you’ll be fine.
Q: The theme for the day is “finding yourself through repeated losses and curiosity.” ~ What does that mean?
A: Let me start by saying that “finding yourself or self-discovery” looks different for everyone. You can spend years, a lifetime even, trying to figure out who you are; while for some, they figure it out in an instant. Finding yourself can also mean becoming mindful, feeling at peace with the person you have become, and accepting your feelings and thoughts for what they are.
"Finding Yourself Requires Time, Patience, and Grace; And It Is Not A Display of Apathy." ~ Deon Cecile
Q: How does this reflection on loss and curiosity play out in your life?
A: For me, losses have fueled my curiosity.
When I lost my husband in 2001, I was young and unsure of many things. I felt like a part of me departed with him. But, the saying, “sometimes you become brave by necessity,” rang true for me and I used that to fuel my curiosity to start life over in a new city. I relocated, went back to school, started a new job, and made new friends.
It’s funny how death never seems so imminent when you are younger, nor does it seem to hurt as much, or affect you in the way it does as you get older. That perspective quickly changed for me, at 25, losing my husband was not written in my skies and nobody could ever understand my loss. Looking back, I don’t believe I would change what I had gone through, and still go through sometimes, because I was being prepared for what was to come.
In 2005, 15 days apart, I lost both my maternal grandparents. My Iris and my Joe (Joseph). Another piece of my heart chipped away, and I prayed that I would never have to see my parents go because I saw how much this took away from my mom. My resilience grew stronger!
And then, just like that, my 10-year break was over and in 2016 I lost my dad. Losing dad opened another door of curiosity – I became reflective and extremely curious about “matters of the heart.” I read more about heart disease, started taking better care of myself, and spent a heck of a lot more time with my mom. The journey to finding myself, or self-discovery as most call it, had started.
In 2018 I lost my job of 13.5 years. My emotions were a mixture of happy, sad, excited, and scared. Yet, my curiosity went through the roof. I wanted to understand all these emotions and what to do with them. To be honest, having remained jobless for 11.5 months does give one ample time to become curious about a lot of stuff. During that time, I started journaling to explore my thoughts and feelings with the hope that it would also help to safeguard my mental health. After a while, I realized I really had a love for writing; my curiosity piqued further, and so began my writing and content-creating exploration which later led to the start of my website/blog and social media presence in 2019. "Life Is Filled With Teachable Moments." ~ Deon Cecile
Elizabeth Edwards, says, “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
So, I tried. Then it happened.
The resilience I started building in 2005 came to a head in 2020 when I lost both my godson and mom within 2 months of each other. I was lost. Still am some days. But my mom’s death changed something in me. It was like a switch flipped. I became curious about life and living – not just waking up, going to work, or doing the day-to-day stuff. I wanted to live! To try new things and enjoy every day that I’m still here on this earth. Again, journaling and writing during this time helped to keep my sanity in check, it didn’t always work, nevertheless, I kept putting pen to paper, honoring a skill my mom was so adept at, and one which I was finding out was ingrained in my very fiber. As Kierra Heard-Kelly says in her song, “Something has to break…” I will tell you more about that in another article.
As I channeled my losses into curiosities about who I was, who I really am, or what I wanted to do, I began to explore my feelings on a deeper level and was more open to sharing my experiences with others. That, my friends, is now my passion – writing and sharing my stories, and the stories of others, in a bid to help others cope, get a different perspective, know that they are not alone, and provide love, light, and laughter, with some words of wisdom splashed in between.
Q: "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." Is this relevant to your topic?
A: Yes, it is. It’s all about our attitude towards something. I believe it was Winston Churchill who said, “Attitude is that little thing that makes a big difference.” Have you ever noticed how your attitude to a situation can alter its outcome or your feelings towards it? We tend to say that whatever can go wrong, will. What if we changed that narrative to say, whatever can go wrong can have a better ending? Well, we will never know unless we try it, right?
Over the years I have learnt to embrace everything that happens and try my best to change my outlook on it. Do I always display the right attitude when something happens? Oh, heck no! I am by no means perfect. But after I have had an attitude adjustment, I look back at the situation and try to find at least one positive thing or one lesson from it.
Q: Does this outlook in any way represent a kind of apathy?
A: Oh no! Quite the opposite. Through my losses and resulting curiosities, I have learnt so much about myself and others. I’ve built stronger relationships with family and friends, and I’ve learnt that the word NO is a full sentence. I’ve also learnt that I do not owe anybody an explanation for how I choose to “find myself,” how I deal with my losses, or how I approach life’s curiosities. It’s more that my losses have given me a new lease on life, they have heightened my curiosity to explore, and have manifested other things in my life that I probably would not have thought possible before. I'm interested in so much more now and quite enthusiastic to see where this journey takes me.
As Henry David Thoreau said, “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
So, you see, losses have a way of feeding our curiosities while helping us to find ourselves! I hope, if you have suffered losses, that you too can channel these losses into new curiosities that will help you to find yourself wrapped in love, peace, and joy.
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Welcome to my blog, "Penned Inspiration," an expressive hub where I find joy in sharing my inspirations and stories. I am Deon Cecile, a Jamaican Writer, Blogger, and Aspiring Author. This space is dedicated to stories about Women Over 40, Wellness, Lifestyle, Organizing, Decluttering, and pretty much anything that I find fun and inspiring. I invite you to delve into my content today and discover something that may help/inspire you, or make you smile. I hope you enjoy reading and please feel free to leave a comment or idea below, I'd love to hear from you.
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