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Emerging From My Unexpected Cocoon

It’s been a stone’s age since I’ve written. Or at least it seems that way. It’s been two years since I’ve published an article on Linked In and several months since I’ve submitted anything to BizCatalyst 360°. Some days it seems like yesterday, and most days, it feels like a lifetime ago.

One thing is for sure. I cannot believe how much life has changed these past three years. It’s been challenging but also enlightening. It’s been tricky navigating unknown waters and exciting falling into a space that feels right. It was eye-opening when I found myself jobless amidst the pandemic with the time to reflect, grieve, and make peace with so much in my life.

Lately, I’ve thought a lot about the chapters of my life and the many roads I’ve traveled. I’ve hit many low points throughout my 51 years, but I’ve experienced many high ones.

I’ve questioned my worth, successes, failures, and choices. You name it; it’s been subject to my scrutiny.

I used to hold onto things like anger and resentment, and I didn’t like who I was when I did that. I used to let worry and complacency anchor me. I never thought I was good enough for a long time, and I legitimately lost my confidence, spirit, and the zip in my step.

I spent over a decade in a toxic environment rationalizing why it was okay and being afraid to leap before finally finding the courage to fly. And not one day goes by do I ever regret my decision to walk toward something instead of away from it.

I’ve lost my mother and my aunt – two women who had a significant impact on my life. And a father-in-law whom I adored. Those losses and the accompanying grief would change me and lead me to a place I never thought possible. And I fought alongside my husband as he battled cancer and other challenging issues. I’ve had my health scares that tested my strength, and I’ve carried my scars inside for a long time. I have some mild anxiety that likes to bully me and try to win, but I continue to learn how to work through it.

So, when I found myself in a cocoon these past few months, I guess I shouldn’t have been all that surprised.

When I turned 50 last year, I felt my life shift – mentally, emotionally, and physically. I had come to terms with the closed doors and held onto the firm belief that it would all work out. And sure enough, fate stepped in, and I welcomed the opportunity with open arms. Still, I couldn’t escape the feeling I felt off, and slowly I cocooned. Being on social media was the last place I cared to be. So, I faded away into the periphery for self-preservation.

The worst part is that I didn’t feel like writing. And that’s been my respite for a few years now. So, yes, this shift perplexed me. And it scared me also. But I always knew that I’d come out on the other side because I’ve slipped down this mountain before. However, it felt like I fell off this time – a sheer drop into unchartered territory that, unbeknownst to me, would teach me new things. It’s so easy to slide down it and harder to climb back up. At least that’s how it’s been for me. But somehow, I’ve managed to do so. And, at times, I’ve clawed and cried my way back up. My mother, who passed away several years ago, would tell you it’s because I’m “made of good stuff.” Maybe so. It’s at least a part of the equation anyway.

I’ve always been a little scrappy, especially when pushed to my limit. So, I suspect that has something to do with my ability to fight like crazy to make it back up the side of the mountain.

As I write this, I feel like it’s a random collage of thoughts and feelings bottled up with me on my island of isolation. I didn’t intend to create a cocoon for myself. But I needed to do so. Part of me knows I could have fought it and stayed immersed in everything. I would have landed somewhere other than where I knew I needed to be if I did that. But I decided to instead lean into it. I needed to feel what I was feeling. It was essential to let go and, occasionally, bury my head. I had to cut back on always being on and let myself be off now and then. And not feel guilty about it. I had played those cards for too many years, and it was time to cut the cord.

I needed to learn how to deal with what I was feeling and figure out how to navigate the menopausal waters, which by the way, we don’t talk openly about enough. I was, and at times, still am, a hot mess. However, stepping away gave me some clarity and a chance to figure out how to mitigate the changes my mind, body, and spirit were experiencing. I’ve coined my reentry as an emergence, albeit a slow one. It’s challenging dealing with a body that feels like it morphed overnight. And it’s unsettling to have brain fog and feel incredible happiness one minute and rage the next. But I know I’ve got the spirit and the tools to get through it.

I’m not making light of any of these things. It’s been rough on my husband and me. But it helps to let it out and share a tiny slice of my story. There was no preparation for this shift, that’s for sure. And when the curveball hit me, I wasn’t sure I could throw it back.

The best way I can describe it is this: This spring has exhibited erratic weather, much like how I’ve felt these past few months, and I’ve often commented on how long it took for the flowers to bloom and the trees to come alive. On grey days especially, I would notice it. On the one hand, it frustrated me and made me want to wrap myself in armor even more, but little by little, I felt myself unraveling the threads I had chosen to wrap around me.

It’s made me realize how much things are connected, and it’s certainly taught me more about patience and appreciation. When I look out the window, I see such beautiful green hues cast against a blue sky or a cloudy one. And it reminds me that as the seasons emerge, so do we. Or, at least, I am anyway. I’ve always been a firm believer in trying. And I’ve never stopped. Although, I have stalled from time to time. So, even if I’m putting one foot in front of the other or stringing together one true sentence, I’m making progress. And that’s what matters.

Laura Mikolaitis
Laura Mikolaitishttps://bellasolwrites.blogspot.com/
Laura credits her writing, which laid dormant for years, to her late mom, who always believed in her. Writing unabashedly from the heart and inspired by millions of moments, three tenets of evergreen advice that her mom always shared with her are her guiding principles. Whether it is poetry, fiction, or a personal essay, her love for the written word feeds her mind, body, and spirit. Laura’s creativity also comes to life in her passion for photography. Her ongoing love affair with the moon, her joy for family and friends, her connection to nature, and being a loving canine mom often become some of her best subjects. Laura has held many roles throughout her professional career, including Brand Manager, Project Manager, and Director of Global Business Development and Sales Operations. In addition, she has a background in consumer-packaged goods, manufacturing, and textiles. Laura currently works in biotechnology for Berkshire Corporation as their Product Marketing Manager. She holds a Master of Science degree in Communications and Information Management from Bay Path University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from SUNY Oswego. Originally from Northern NY, Laura resides with her husband and canine child in a small town in Massachusetts that captured her heart years ago.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Laura, I can tell you that reading your article made me realize that I am not alone is this dryness of writing these past several months. First, I send heartfelt prayers your way in the loss of your mom. I was barely 13 when I lost my mother. Perhaps someday I will write an article about that time in my life. I had not written a piece until lately because of several reasons. One, I couldn’t really think of anything I wanted to say, secondly, I felt what I had to say really didn’t interest many readers as sometimes I would get comments, sometimes I wouldn’t. Finally, it hit me that I needed to write just out of love of writing and not expect anything more than that. I also recently got back into reading articles written by others and when one strikes me, I comment. Yours did and I am glad your back!

    • Lynn, thank you so much for leaving these thoughtful comments. You indeed brought a smile to my face. As for not writing, I often have similar feelings. And, at times, it feels like the words get stuck. However, I think it’s more that I feel that they get stuck and overthink what I’m writing. So, I get frustrated and stop. It’s something I need to work on for sure. But you’ve hit the nail on the head. We need to write out of our love of writing and not expect anything more than that. Such a powerful statement and I appreciate you sharing it with me. I also fell away from reading content. It was partly due to my cocoon, and partly due to feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of content out there.

      On another note, I’m sorry you lost your mom at such a young age. I cannot even imagine. I miss my mom every day. She was indeed my rock. Hugs to you.

  2. Ali,
    Wow, thank you so much for your kind sentiments. I have to tell you I read your comments earlier this morning and it brought tears of joy to my eyes. Thank you for making my heart smile. I love your reference to creative tension. I have never thought about it like that, but it resonates and makes sense. The stories of our lives are often filled with ups and downs, and sometimes in-betweens. And I suppose it’s these ebbs and flows and bouts of erratic seasons that help fuel our ability to discern and create.

    I look forward to connecting more and writing more. It feels good to be back even at a much slower pace.

  3. Welcome back, new Laura,

    dare I say to my side of the hot mess?

    Your piece is so relatable – I probably spent more than a few years in a cocoon and now I wonder how often during a lifetime we need to go through metamorphosis and why we have ceremonies celebrating some of them but not other…

    Happy to see you writing again.

    • Thanks so much, Charlotte. Yes, it’s okay to say to your side of the hot mess. It’s a part of life, and in many ways, I know it’s liberating. But still, it’s been a rough road. I’m with you on the number of metamorphosis’ we go through during our lifetime. Some indeed are quieter and less celebrated, and I don’t know why either. Maybe it’s different as we age. Perhaps I don’t care as much about what others think, and I mean that respectfully. Whatever it is, I’m happy to be back and I hope that my writing continues to flourish. I felt lost without it.

  4. Hi Laura
    Welcome back!
    I’m a bit new to BC360 so that’s a little weird for me to welcome you back to where I have just arrived.
    I was drawn in by the quote Dennis posted as I’ve aqlays self-described as ‘a little scrappy, especially when pushed to my limit.”
    But the story of your journey pulled on many emotions -isolation anxiety -grief, loss and suffering, cocooning wrapping emotions in cotten batten a protection that leads to feeling disconnected- moved me.
    I am pleased that you are emerging from your island of isolation and hope the reconnections you make accelerate your healing and centering.
    I look forward to your writing.
    Alan

    • Alan,
      Thank you! It’s good to meet you, and I appreciate you taking the time to read my essay and for your kind words. I did feel so disconnected from many things, and it made me sad. But I knew rushing it or trying to pretend like I was connected would have been a disservice to my journey. I needed the time away more than I thought. I missed connecting and writing and doing things that I love, but I needed to turn it off. I haven’t isolated to that extent before, but life shifts can be like that I suppose.

      I look forward to engaging with you further, Alan.

  5. Hello Laura,

    I can tell you with perfect honesty that your post is one of top posts that I have ever read. You moved me and lived your “life journey story”.

    In your post you wrote “Those losses and the accompanying grief would change me and lead me to a place I never thought possible”. This is so true and timely and at least for me. Only few hours earlier I submitted my post to BIZC titled What is wrong with the call for living a balanced life?

    Your post is the support I needed to defend my controversial post. I give scientific reasoning why going through such an imbalanced life like you experienced is the way to become a better version of self.

    How could you write such breathtaking post without the tension that you lived? It is the creative tension that resulted in reading this diamond-like post.

    Please keep on writing. I am one of your faithful readers.

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