After difficult unplanned circumstances swept me away this year, here's how I'm dealing with being lost in a world of people that are found.

The phrase “fake it until you make it” might be the best piece of advice a particular individual receives, but the biggest downfall another overhears.

For most of those who partake in everyday social media, it’s easy to see those who are constantly posting about their life’s highs, their outstanding accomplishments, and their consistent happiness. Everyone goes through the trenches of life at times, but seeing it plastered on a public platform hardly ever peeks it’s way through the cracks.

For myself, you won’t find much of my hardships making their way onto my social media accounts, unless I simply find a message or issue that can serve to help others within them.

Today is another one of those times.

For most who only know me or have access to me through social media, my life looked exceptionally more glamorous than average over the last few years. From a celebrity interview here, to attending a grand event there, I heard the phrase “I want your life” more than one time from others of my generation, and peers surrounding. At one point, I truly believed I was capable of obtaining all of my dreams.

Sadly, I’ve had to create a shield around my optimistic mindset with a more pessimistic one. My life has always worked where my blessings tended to come out of my darkest times, eventually leading to some even darker ones following. I’ve always felt forced to live by the negative phrase, “Nothing lasts forever.” It’s felt like the loss of complete happiness has been shoved down my throat one too many times.

This year has been probably the toughest year of my entire life. From serious issues throwing me overboard in my personal life, battling some of the most extreme up’s and down’s of my mental and physical health, and watching my dreams slip through my hands, my losses have consumed me.

My passion for writing and using my voice has significantly deteriorated, and the purpose I thought was meant for me feels like a faded fog in the distance that’s about to disintegrate into the air. A merry-go-round of unplanned circumstances has annihilated all of the steps I took towards my goals and dreams that I thought I was so close to accomplishing. Even music feels like biting into a tasteless food these days. My anxiety has pushed me into an emotional manhole that I can’t find my way out of.

There’s no other way to say it. I’ve completely lost my grasp on the amazing individual I thought I once was. I took a look in the mirror of my life, and the person I wanted to be is no longer looking back. They’ve checked out. My initial purpose has turned to sand and has fallen between the spaces in my fingers. I’ve lost control of my happiness, and I can feel negativity consuming me.

And you know what?

That’s okay.

This should be the time where I preach about how this is a part of my journey, or how something will happen and I’ll get back on track. It’s easy to hear from others, and it’s easy to tell myself it, but being lost doesn’t necessarily mean you believe it. It’s always difficult to watch others become just as lost as you, but know exactly how to keep going, leaving you in the dust. The discouragement can be overwhelming. Not all of us are built to keep going without a real plan of action first, or have a backup handy.

Like so many others like myself at this point, we are petrified of looking ahead. The sense of losing our steering wheels means we’re currently driving a car that can go in any direction. We shouldn’t focus on the road blocks ahead and how to go around them. We shouldn’t continue to panic about losing control of the car’s direction. At the end of the day, our focus needs to remain on the speed. We are the ones in control of how slow or fast this car goes. The vehicle will pick a direction, but those that are lost will be able to choose whether they continue down the path, or slow up and wait for a new one.

Don’t ever think it isn’t okay to slow down. If you have put in the work to build the car, you should be able to sit back and relax in it when the road ahead looks murky and filled with fog.

Losing yourself will always take a huge blow on an individual’s mental health. It doesn’t have to destroy you to the point of no rebuild being possible. As cliché as it may sound, sometimes God has to take things that brought out the great in you to catapult you into something that will bring out the best in you. It’s up to you to be ready to accept it.

If you’re driving down your path of life, and things get cloudy, look for me currently on the side of the road bumping God’s Son and Kirk Franklin’s Losing My Religion until further notice. Those who lose their success to incidents beyond their control tend to be the ones who are given the chances of gaining the most control in the end.

Don’t worry, honey. If all else fails, success sometimes can be the tow truck that’s on the way.

A scared, panicked, but slightly hopeful, lost soul