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All At Once….

Written by Charmika Placide

Resuming new normalcy after the pandemic was like a bad breakup; it’s been years, and you know you have to unlearn some toxic habits. It’s become all too familiar, and we wish we could move on all at once. You know, frequently daydreaming of having Will Smith’s character from Men in Black *zap* us so we can instantly forget the trauma, what we’ve learned, and naively go back to the “better version” of ourselves (some of us, at least), pre-pandemic. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that, and now we have to do the work. I hope it doesn’t take three years to unlearn what I learned (as spoken by someone’s cousin on the inter-web) to experience the growth necessary to fully embrace this beautiful new version of myself PERIODT!

The phrase “All at once” was a phrase born out of my frustration during a conversation with my therapist. As a mid-30 (shut yo mouth) something and at that current moment, I shared how my desires had grown, and I was READY! I am Ready to manifest, see my prayers answered, and feel like THAT GIRL! Well, it’s been many, many months later (ah, procrastination is good for something); I’ve gained so much insight and have done a lot of therapy, inner work, and prayer (let me be honest, I need JESUS) His revelations are spot on and help heal my soul and emotions in ways, I still can’t articulate.

All at once was more of a feeling rather than a desired destination. I say that because after months of contemplation, does anything good happen all at once, except for direct deposits? And even with the instantaneous transaction and Jesus having our routing number, we know when payday is and plan for it, even marking our calendars. The things we truly desire take time and some sort of effort. If it doesn’t, we may undervalue and mistreat it because we had no stock or sweat equity in the participation of what we truly desired.

And that’s where I am! I am actively participating in the things that I said I wanted. I’m putting my name in the hat, I’m applying and not telling myself no. I noticed that I wasn’t being active in pursuing the things I wanted with balance. Meaning that during the pandemic, I neglected my spiritual community at church. I wasn’t going out and enjoying my life or celebrating my wins, I was living to log on to my laptop (kind of sad, I know). I was helping to save lives, but losing my own, if I’m being completely honest. Initially, it didn’t feel like that, but that’s what it was. I had no social calendar. Just working and constant “achieving” mode, whatever that is.

Recently, I found myself feeling stuck. I prayed and asked God to open the door to a particular program. I got in and had to stretch, I had to balance my current role with the new blessing. It required a different version of me, I wasn’t completely ready for the additional sacrifice of the things that I wanted to happen All At Once. In fact, I was a little surprised by the additional sacrifice and remember thinking to myself, “Did you think this would come and you wouldn’t have to stretch out of your comfort zone?” At that moment, I felt God was saying, I can’t give you everything all at once because you would be overwhelmed and wouldn’t be able to balance it.

If I am being transparent, my all at once wasn’t just a particular career goal. It was a desire to be married, have children, and feel confident in myself and my community again. I didn’t feel that way those many months ago when all at once was first uttered in frustration while talking with my therapist. Grief was strangling my self-confidence until I decided to be proactive about what I could control. So, I started exercising ( this is still a work in progress), dating on the apps (to rebuild confidence or to find comedy or community in the collective trauma of WTH lol/jk), and building a solid community whether in my network professionally, socially, or spiritually with finding a new church home. All of these communities are important, and I have found more fulfillment in putting myself out there than I imagined. No, it’s not a quick fix, but it is making me into the woman I truly desire to be, which is confident, loving, community-oriented, and a leader.

So, I’ve taken charge of changing my narrative, and I guess you can say, all at once, I changed for me. I know God will honor that, that I am actively participating in the things that I desire, not just to check a box, but to grow in the waiting, to find patience, and learn the lessons (Lord, please don’t put on the strongest warrior list for 2024) become solid and anchored in this version of me, post-pandemic.

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