By Charlie Emilia
This millennial content creator, social media geek, part-time healthy person and now first-time mom is back to her original roots as a writer. Formerly a radio show, “Chill Out with Charlie” was a peek into my life and what I had going on. Since leaving the airwaves, my journey has taken an extreme turn. For updates on what’s been happening, sit back and chill out with me as I navigate these new paths in a whole new way.
In my previous column, I asked my readers to reach out and let me know if you would be interested in hearing about the outline that I’ve created for self-improvements. For those who are new, or didn’t get a chance to read last week’s article, you can check out the link on my Like Page, or check out the blog section of my new website, CharlieEmilia.com.
This almost didn’t happen. Since my writer’s block lifted, I’ve been dealing with too many thoughts and I wasn’t sure how to condense it all. But thanks to everyone who reached out on my social media, etc., I had to give you guys a rough draft of what I’ve been conceptualising. I also finally decided to launch my website, because that too was part of my list of things I wanted to achieve before the end of the year. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain how these thoughts became a reality.
It started with a list. Well, it started with much more than a list, but the list stemmed from some conflicts I’ve been facing in a few of my personal relationships. This has been a trying time for a lot of us, and it’s been testing how we see and do things. Due to these changes, a lot of people have been forced to re-evaluate themselves, and their relationships are being put to the test. Personally, I chose to look inward for self-healing. I know, sometimes things are not your fault, but sometimes they are – and even if they aren’t, nobody is so fully healed that they can’t do with some self-reflection and healing.
So… I broke down my issues into steps: 1. Honesty. 2. Evaluation. 3. Active changes.
This is the first stage of the lists. I had to get honest with myself, which is not easy. When we have to admit to imperfections, there can be a little blockage in our brains that stops us from thinking like that. We call this, the ego. Aside from that, many of us block out negativity so much that we also put up a guard against criticism – which isn’t the right way to do it, but not everything is perfect. I had to put my ego aside, take off my “hater blockers” and essentially let some negativity in.
How I sifted through a lot of my emotional baggage, was figuring out if it’s been said multiple times, from some of the same sources. I’ll give you an example of one of my honest critiques, “Charlie, you don’t ask for help; you suffer in silence a lot.”
This has been reoccurring and – as much as I would love to pass it off as independence – I know it’s more a learned coping mechanism for trauma. Whether it’s a response to my own trauma, or that of someone who taught me how to be so self-reliant, it doesn’t matter. It made my list. I limited myself to about 20 items, because much more than that would be focusing too much on negativity. I also made sure to add things about myself I would like to change for the better. Once written, the list was divided into sections, emotional growth, future plans, financial literacy, etc.
Now that I had my list written and sorted, the focus shifted to my plans for how to make these changes. Some had to be broken down into short- and long-term goals. I once read that it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit, and an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. Was I trying to make a quick change; or did I want to form a new, healthy habit?
If I wanted something short-term, it should be applied and show results in about 18 days. For example, I wanted to plant more of my own food. This is something I can start immediately and would yield results sooner. Things like being healthier were sorted into the 66- to 254-day category, because health is not something that happens today for tomorrow; it takes time, discipline and patience. In between, I found mental health goals that were suitable to achieve while I was growing my vegetables, but before I became plant-based again.
This is a bit more difficult. There are some things I really had to implement immediately. One of my favourite examples was to be more deliberate with my words. As a wordsmith, you’d think I would have seen this before, and although I have, there has been no real, active changes in how I use my words. I have put a stop to using words like, “trying” and “just”.
The word “trying” shows up mostly when I’m talking about a plan I have to execute something, and I use it to give myself room to mess up. It’s like saying, “I’m trying to get this done.” So if it doesn’t get done, I’m not on the hook if my plans fall through. The word “just” is used to diminish my efforts. The cousin of self-deprecation, humility can turn into making yourself small very fast if one is not careful. Don’t get me wrong, humility is beautiful, but when you become so interested in making what you do sound trivial, then really, what are you doing?
Since I read the book The Four Agreements a few years ago, I am usually more deliberate in my speech. If I want something, I say, “I want….” not “I don’t want…” While I am not as focused on “The Universe” hearing my speech, I do believe that it gives your mind something to target for desire, rather than something you want to block out. Think about it: If your mind wants you to have more fun, you will follow the path of desire to do things and form actions around that desire. If you said you don’t want to be as uptight anymore, your brain is just thinking about rejecting the concept of anything that isn’t fun.
One thing I have actively changed is how I use my voice. For a very long time I was very opinionated with a strong mind and boisterous in my way of living. Then some things happened and I locked away a lot of that, and I have to admit, I was ruled by fear. A lot of how I found my voice was in how I let my daughter use hers. Before I knew what she looked like, I heard her “voice”. I could hear another person in my head pushing my movements, like, “Eat that cake or you won’t sleep tonight.” And soon after she was born, she was very loud in how she asked for things, not always in her cries, but also in her actions: Her eyes lighting up when she was happy, grabbing at my blouse when she was hungry; everything about her was so loud. I made a vow not to stifle her voice. But I had chosen to hide mine for so long, that when I actually started to use it again in different ways; although it wasn’t hostile, it came across to me that way.
In all of this, I will become a better person for myself. I will repair many of the relationships affected by these times and emerge stronger and more self-aware. I will carve out my own space in this life. My daughter will look up to me, but also understand that people are flawed and will hold herself to realistic standards. She will have a mother who leads by example.
Feel free to follow me on Facebook.com/LikeCharlieEmilia or my Instagram @Chvrl13. Check out my website, charlieemilia.com – I’m open to questions, comments and any concerns you may have about your own health. But please remember, I am not a doctor. My column is strictly for entertainment and, although I may try my utmost to give accurate information, it should in no way replace a visit to your healthcare provider.
Until next time, “Stay Distant. Stay Safe!”