Mercury retrograde. Transformation season. The summer of breakups. Whatever you want to call it, shit’s been crazy lately. 

Some say that planetary shifts and astrological movements are to blame for the emotional upheaval, unsettled feelings, and seemingly endless unexpected changes. And hey, when I’m feeling intensely uncertain, I find comfort in horoscopes.“AH, yes. Of course, that’s why that’s happening to me.”  It’s silly, but it’s some small consolation when everything feels unsure.

Lately, I’ve felt deeply unsettled and I feel like I’m not alone. This shift has been sending ripple effects through the lives of people closest to me. The currents of change are moving beneath us all. So what's up with growing hurting so much? From relationships and friendships to career pursuits and side hustles, there’s been some serious turmoil as of late. My life has been hit with unexpected redirects and it feels like I can’t rely on anything to be the same as it was mere months ago.

I believe we’re in a season of metamorphosis. On the outside, metamorphosis and transformation looks beautiful and laudable—but in actuality, it’s complex, challenging, and sometimes really bitter and tough to swallow. Up until recently, I was a happy ass caterpillar. Munching leaves, crawling on shit, living it up. Suddenly it was time for me to enter my cocoon and transform into a new chapter of life. And it feels like I’m really in a cocoon; I can’t really see where it’s all

going yet, but all I can do is recenter and focus on me. Witnessing the glow up from a distance or even from the ‘gram is so wildly different from experiencing it. More often than not, life doesn’t give you a heads up that change is just around the corner. You just turn the corner and sometimes you get sucker punched.

Maybe when life stops hurting and testing us is when we should really be worried. Whether you’ve experienced loss, change, or uncertainty, maybe the lesson isn’t the person, job, or situation that we lost. Maybe the real lesson was to change our perspective: with ourselves and our lives. When we go through shit, we’re forced to change the habit or repeat the pain. The shit that shakes you and knocks you off your foundation is the shit that transforms you. You get to choose if you’re going to get up and reattach yourself to your old foundation or dust yourself off and build a new one. 

I’ve been forced to stare at my emotionally naked self in the mirror and honestly ask myself if I like what I see. The veil of happiness shadowing my mirror of self-reflection was ripped away, and honestly, I don’t like everything I see. I’ve got some changing to do. But we’ll never look in the mirror and like everything we see. That’s the beauty of life, we should be ever-evolving. 

Some days, I listen to Lizzo and feel like a bad bitch. Other days, I come across an old momento from the past that sends me into a spiral of memories and nostalgia. I let myself feel it all and it’s okay. Because eventually, the emotional rollercoaster gets less extreme. Slowly, the lows don’t feel so low anymore.

A friend recently told me, “Treat it like waves. They knock you over at first, then you learn to dive into them to get through. And with time, they get less intense and you learn to float over them.” Like the water-crazed Cancer baby I am, I loved that. No matter where you are with your waves, eventually you’ll learn how to float over them.

I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m changing. The only thing we can truly count on is change. And when I look back on the milestones of my life—6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years—the constant is me.

Words & art direction by Jessica Wu

Photography by Andy Baptiste

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