Words can never quite accurately describe what it feels like to be in the middle of a life-altering transition.
I’m in the midst of one right now. But for some reason, this transition seems more significant, more daunting, than all the rest. Not only am I transitioning continents, I’m also transitioning from dependence to independence.
I’ve been mulling over this blog post for weeks, trying to pinpoint exactly what I’m feeling during this transition in order to put words to it.
A few days ago, I gave up.
I almost never give up on blog posts. When an idea comes, I wrestle with it until I can get a firm grasp on what I’m feeling… firm enough that I can describe and explain it. But not this one. I couldn’t wrap my head around these indistinct emotions in my heart. (Which is usually the first stage of a blog post.) Discouraged, I resolved to simply let it go.
A few days ago things suddenly changed, beginning with the Disney movie Tangled. More specifically, a scene in the movie that I love…maybe because I resonate with it so much. The scene takes place directly after Rapunzel escapes from her castle, which she’s never left before. The castle was, to her, a place of perceived safety. She’s consciously chosen to leave it for a new world, a new life, a new reality. She’s in the midst of a painful transition, staring loss and unknowns straight in the face.
One moment, she’s ecstatic.
The next moment, she’s plagued with fears and doubts.
The next moment, she cautiously rationalizes the transition and change.
The next moment she’s hunched in the dark, grieving.
The next moment, she’s delighting in her new independence.
Then she’s aching and frustrated and longing for the intimacy of past relationships.
The next moment, she’s wants to just go home. To comfort. To familiarity. Every ounce of her wants to turn back time to what was.
The next moment, she can’t get enough of her current reality. She relishes the fun and adventure and newness.
The next moment, she’s face-planted on the dirt, depressed and disheartened.
Then she passionately declares that her new reality has been the best time of her life yet.
Finally, we see her knees-to-chest, face-in-hands, sobbing.
There are no words to accurately describe what it feels like to be mid-transition. Rapunzel experiences about twenty different emotions. All in one minute.
Recently, I felt the urge to find this scene and watch it again on YouTube. When the clip popped up on my phone, I read the video caption. My mouth actually dropped open.
The scene is called “At War with Yourself.”
That’s it. That little phase sums up what I’m feeling too. In this scene, Rapunzel looks crazy, and I completely understand why. In a way, we are both experiencing all the same emotions wrapped around the word transition.
My current “castle” is my place of perceived safety. And I’m choosing to leave it soon for a new world, a new life, a new reality.
One minute, I’m excited about the new, the different.
Then I’m fighting doubts and fears.
Two minutes later, I’m telling myself that “it’s time, I’m ready, this is all normal and natural and expected.”
The next minute, I feel tears welling over losses I can’t even articulate.
The next minute, I don’t want to leave the rhythm, routine, and security of my current home.
And the next minute? I realize I’m ready for a bit more independence.
Fear. Thrill. Grief, Excitement. All spinning, darting, whirling around in this muddled and knotted and confusing mess inside of me.
Rapunzel and I? We are both at war with ourselves, fighting through the ambiguity and newness of change. We both are shaken up inside, overwhelmed by our shifting circumstances.
But I’m learning that this is okay. I’m learning to take Rapunzel as an example for handling my inner war.
LET IT OUT.
I’m learning to embrace the emotions I’m feeling. To engage them. To not hide from them. And to never stuff down this emotional hurricane, or feel guilty about it. I’m learning to be okay with this inner war.
Because this inner war is meant to be fought. It’s a natural response to change. And as I allow these heart-emotions to battle against each other, I’m learning to keep my mind set steadfastly on God. Through this inner war, I’m understanding more concretely His promise of peace:
“You [God] will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 6:23 NLT.
Yes, transitions are hard. They are confusing and depleting at times. But through these changes, I’m learning to depend more heavily and trust more deeply in a God who always stays the same.
GIF Image created by Laura Martin.