The Phoenix Will Rise In 2016

I’ve hesitated on pressing publish on this post for about a week, but I decided to say “fuck it” and go for it…



At the end of 2014 something happened to me and it completely ruined my 2015. I never really said anything about it to anyone, close friends and family included, but it’s been with me for the past year. The worst part is, I’m still not sure what that something was.

Around this time last year something in my head snapped and I started thinking differently. And not in a good way. I lost all confidence in myself. I started to hate myself. I started to hate my life. The world and my life just didn’t look the same. I have no idea what brought this on, but it weighed on me all throughout 2015.

I tried my best not to let it affect my job and my personal relationships, but I’m sure it did. Even if I didn’t tell anyone about how I was feeling, I know that it came out through my demeanour and must have been felt in someway or another by all the people around me.I was dating a girl for a few months and I don’t even think I let her on to my real feelings the whole time, although I’m sure that it had a big part of the overall outcome of that relationship. I tried to hide it and just continue seeming to be the person I was before, but I’m sure it couldn’t have worked completely.

I also let it affect my personal health. I was going to the gym 3-4 times a week towards the beginning of 2015, but after injuring my back I had to stop for a short while. I continued to use my bad back as an excuse for not going back to the gym until recently, but to be honest, it was more that I couldn’t build up the feelings in my head to get back to the gym. I would’ve rather just gone home after work and napped because sleeping was a form of escaping for me. I wound up going back to the gym a little more than a month ago to find that I now weighed the most I’ve ever weighed in my life.

I sort of just walked around for the past year feeling sorry for myself. The worst part was that I know I have a great life. I have a great family. I have amazing friends. I have a cool job that I love and that people are actually jealous of. I do a lot of fun and awesome things. But I still couldn’t shake this feeling of serious self doubt and loathing.

I did a bunch of things to try to get over this feeling. Some of them were complete bullshit. Some of them helped a bit. I read a lot of self-help books, but most of them didn’t really give me any new perspective. I started to practice mindfulness meditation, and while I find that it does help me really think about things, it’s not the be-all-end-all cure for whatever ails me right now.

I thought a lot about that saying that everyone tells you, “if you don’t like something in your life, change it.” But it’s not easy to just change parts of your life. Especially if you don’t believe that you can do it. I read a bunch of books and articles around how to start change in your life, but that’s all I really did; read them. I could think about how I would use these techniques or ideas, but couldn’t bring myself to actually embrace any of them for more than a few days.

One article in specific that I read really resonated with me. Gary Vaynerchuck, who’s not a self-help guy at all, but a man I greatly admire in the business world, wrote an article about how he got serious about his health. What he discovered about himself to make him get into it was that he needed to feel accountable to someone to really make that push for it work in his mind. I realized that this is sort of the way I think and only being accountable to myself wasn’t really helping me at all at the moment.

I realized that accountability actually is a big motivator for myself. I try to do the best job I can at work because I feel accountable to do so to my bosses, my colleagues and my company in general. I used to go to the gym so often because I was also doing crossfit classes 2 times a week and felt accountable to show up and try my hardest for the instructors and the other regulars who were in the class with me.  I feel accountable to my friends and family to spend time with them and have a good time, even if I don’t really feel like doing those things. Accountability to others made me do things that I knew I should be doing anyways when I didn’t want to do any of them at all.

Then, the other week I was having a conversation with someone about tattoos. I told her about my one tattoo, my phoenix. I got the phoenix tattooed on my arm 7 years ago when I decided to leave an industry I thought I wanted to be in for as long as I could remember and go back to school to do something completely different. The phoenix is a symbol of rebirth and that’s what I felt I was doing at the time; being reborn (well, metaphorically anyways). I told myself that this beautiful thing on my arm would serve as a constant reminder that I needed to keep changing and to keep bettering myself. And it worked for a while. I went back to school and got a post-graduate certificate. I went on and upped that into a full on Masters. I then got a job at an amazing company and went on to help them grow and made a decent name for myself in completely new industry. But then I forgot about the phoenix as a motivator and instead it became just a pretty body decoration.

phoenix tattoo

But talking about this the other week made me want to be accountable to myself again. I got the tattoo because it really meant something to me. And I want it to continue to have that deep meaning again. I want to be accountable to be the person I need to be and not this person I hate.

I also realized that in order to be accountable to myself, that may mean that I also need to be accountable to others. And I’m ok with that. I want to fix myself in 2016 because I feel broken right now. I’m going to find ways to make myself accountable to others so that I can be accountable to myself.

I need to get back into a class at the gym or get a trainer of some kind so that I feel accountable to others to get myself back into shape. I need to do something that is incredibly hard for me and find someone that I can talk to about my thoughts and feelings (if you know me well, you know this something I don’t do… ever), which will probably be some kind of professional, which will make it even harder for me, but it will help me to be accountable to someone who wants to see me progress.  I need to be accountable to my friends and family to be happier and not just fake it anymore.

I know it sounds ass backwards that I need to be accountable to other people just so I can be accountable to myself, but right now I don’t feel like I person that I deserve to be accountable to. You always hear people saying that you should be doing things for yourself and not other people, but it’s hard when you don’t believe that you’re a person worth doing things for.

So in 2016, I vow to be accountable to others until I feel like I can and need to be accountable to myself to fix myself. I will be accountable to this permanent ink etched in my arm. I will rise again.

The first part of this accountability is publishing this post. I may not share it through social media as I usually would, because to be honest, I’m kind of ashamed of myself for being this way for the past year. But just knowing that this post is out there will make me feel like someone might read it, even if they didn’t, and make me want to live up to these promises I made.

2016 is the year I become accountable for fixing myself, even if it’s through becoming accountable to everyone else besides me because they deserve it, and hopefully I will too.