How I Took Control Of My Life And Now It's Your Turn

Originally published on Unwritten by Aliza Vaccher.

The last year and a half has been hard for me. And, it's not easy to admit that. It's difficult to say that you've struggled, and that you have to fight your demons every single day.

What are your demons? I know you have them, because we all do. I too easily slip into a state of pessimism, and I often struggle to look on the bright side of life. I hide behind a mask of excessive sarcasm, deflecting how I actually feel with one snarky comment or another. I use my defenses, and I don't let people in easily. As a result, I take it out on the one or maybe two people who get to see the real version of myself. It's not right.

I know how to push through physical pain - 16 years of gymnastics teaches you that well.  In fact, physical pain is my comfort zone. Persisting through injury is all too familiar. A tough workout makes me feel better. Achy muscles are welcome.

But emotional pain? That's a different story. I was thrown into a whirlwind of confusion and change - and it overwhelmed me. I lost the sport that had been my life for as long as I could remember. I graduated, and for the first time in my life didn't have the next step laid out in front of me. I no longer spent every single day with my teammates. I realized I didn't actually know how to make friends outside of the gym. I was lonely, sad, angry, and confused.

For the last year and half, I have struggled to come to terms with these transitions. They got the best of me, and I didn't realize just how much until recently .

It took a friend showing me what I looked like from her perspective to wake me up. What from my perspective was a 'poor me, nothing makes sense, nothing matters, I have no friends, I don't know what I'm going to do with my life' monologue, was attempt after attempt to make me feel better, to help me look on the bright side...and to watch me refuse help.

If I want anything to change, I myself have to make a change. Duh. But, I didn't see it. I didn't see that I refused to let the good in. I didn't see optimism when it was offered. What may have seemed like my normal, sarcastic personality, was in fact bottled up negativity and low self-esteem. I didn't see what effect this had on the people I care about, but I do now.

I am certainly not the same person I was two years ago. A lot has changed. Some people have left my life, and others have entered. I don't get to do gymnastics anymore, but I get to pass my knowledge and love of the sport on to the kids I coach. I have a plan set to go back to school, I did my own taxes for the first time (thanks for the help, Dad!), and I am finally looking for a positive balance in my life.

The last year and a half has been hard. But I've had my wake up call, and maybe this is yours. It's okay to be sad, and to feel lonely sometimes. We're both still figuring out what the next steps are, but the days of sitting idly and waiting for the world to change are over.

It's time to take back control of our lives. It's time to stop letting the negativity win. If we want the sun to shine, we'll have to open up our curtains and let it in.

I didn't see all this before, but I do now, and you will too. Our future is in our hands.