On Baby Steps.
Almost three months ago, a baby girl made her entrance into the world. When I met my niece, Joy, I felt an abundant amount of just that: joy. But then I also wondered why her eyes were always closed and also when would she start smiling?
Now her eyes stay open. She is learning to laugh. She smiles in photos I look at every day on my phone. She may not be taking any steps yet, but oh how she’s grown and changed in these last few months.
And now Joy has me thinking about baby steps in my own life, too.
The other day, I fell down a deep wormhole of old photos - and when I say a deep wormhole, I mean “seven years ago in my awkward second year of university” kind of deep - trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted out of life.
I was quickly struck by how I looked - particularly because I’m currently in a season where I’m not loving how I look, and I clearly remember not loving how I looked back then, either. I kept clicking next, perusing through more years of photos, feeling this intense tension: I wasn’t happy with how I looked then, but I’d give anything to look that way now.
I closed my laptop, packed up my things, and walked out of the cafe and into a nearby neighbourhood. An audiobook played in my ears, but I kept thinking, “Am I ever going to be happy with how I look?”
There’s a constant inner monologue. “It will happen one day. I’ll love myself when I hit a certain weight. When I look a certain way in a photo. When I do this and this and this right.” But that day, I realized that I’ve been unhappy with how I look and feel for the past seven years - and that’s just a crappy mindset.
I think about that inner monologue as I walk through a new neighbourhood, marvelling at schools and houses and a whole world unexplored to me. I think about the pain in my legs — coming from the joy of working out with friends I really love. I think about the walking in this gorgeous weather, how grateful I am to be able to walk from cafe to cafe to library to a voting station. I think about the joy of doing my makeup that day, how a little face paint goes a long way in giving me a little mood pump up.
And those small thoughts are like baby steps. They’re like the “opening my eyes” and “learning to smile” of loving myself, as I am, right now.
That story is just one small example of the baby steps I’m taking in my life. There are baby steps in loving my little Edmonton life - steps that keep me here, even if it’s not where I thought I’d be. Baby steps in pursuing emotional health. Baby steps in creating habits, and pursuing physical health, and loosening my control and grip.
None of it is worthy of a transformation Tuesday post. None of it is worthy of some big blog announcement or any other kind of announcement. I’m not even sure it’s worth an excited text message. But it is a celebration. I am taking small, “learning to open my eyes and also how to smile” kind of steps after a season where I felt like I had to learn everything from scratch again.
So - maybe you’re there with me. Needing to relearn some basic things again. Needing to just take some baby steps. And to that, I say - here’s to the growing and changing and baby steps we’re all taking in the right direction, friends.