Have you ever started watching a movie and you’re so into it and the writing is really good, acting is awesome, everything is perfect, but something happens and you get distracted? You press pause and think “Oh, this’ll just take a few minutes and then I’ll finish the movie” and then it’s three days later and you still haven’t gone any further? I pressed pause on my life for about five-ish years and only recently pressed play again.
Motivated, ambitious, and driven had always been words used in describing me. I used to act (pretty well if you’ll allow me to horn toot) and I managed to get quite a number of roles under my belt too. I was on the right track and I let myself get sidetracked by a guy – and not a great guy either. I went through some tough things for the first year or two of my pause and while I got myself out of the situation, I didn’t press play. I thought I did, just like we all do. I started a great (paying) job after having to work three to make ends meet. I started to dress like I liked myself. But I wasn’t Shantelle anymore. My motivation was gone and I had no idea what I was doing (although at least while that was going on I could buy myself some shiny things to distract me from that fact!).
I tried to refocus myself when I figured out that I was still in pause-mode. I looked for another job that I thought would pair well with going back to school. But that job was not good for me – I craved opportunity and this was like I stepped into a mud pit. Did I get out when I realized? No. I let myself stay depressed, gain too much weight, and pretty much literally stop using my brain. As Metric would say, all I did was “talk, sit, and switch screens”. I let myself stay in a college major I wasn’t happy about or cared about at all. I wasted my time and my life for three years at this place. I wasted time I could have been spending doing, or at least figuring out what I really wanted to do and I take full responsibility for that fact.
Things honestly started to turn around when I made the decision (read: I showed up for the surgery wanting to leave) to have my weight loss surgery. When I healed and lost weight, I started to feel like myself again. I wanted to travel and go out and I WANTED to use my brain. So I sat down and made a plan with Andrew. I left my job at the end of January right before our wedding and after the first week of terror I had ideas, guys! I started acting on things I had been talking about doing for so long. I rediscovered how much I absolutely love taking photographs. I rediscovered how freaking smart and funny I am (at least when I’m not around too many people). Today, after an interview for a photography internship – WHICH I GOT!- I am finally really feeling like myself. I’m setting goals for myself and really visualizing my life for the first time in so long. I’m starting to remember the little girl that used to tell people about the huge plans for her future and I’m starting to realize that we aren’t two separate people anymore – but I did let the parts of me that aren’t really me take control for a while.
We all deserve the chance to see what we want and take it. Even if what you want is simple, it doesn’t matter. Make sure you don’t lose sight of it and make everything you do in support of that goal. Don’t press pause and assume you’ll pick it up at a later time, because it’s too often that something happens and we continue to procrastinate due to “reasons beyond our control”. What this really means is we were too scared of getting what we want or having to adjust how we get it. You can do it and if you need support I’m here and so are other people. They’re often more supportive than we think they’ll be.