24 & Sad
This feels a little forced, as I didn't sit down with the inspiration to write, more an intention this time.
But because I have reached a milestone and feel I should reflect, I will continue just the same.
Today I turned 25. A summary of my life is as follows: I am the Director of Marketing at a firm in Reno, Nevada. I have recently been appointed to a seat on the Board of Directors at a local non-profit, and I am quietly working on and dreaming up my own future business/life of sorts. I have an amazing family and friend base, and I know that I like working with people, being busy (with the right things), and writing. In addition, I still struggle with balance, I'm hard as hell on myself, I can't cook a delicious dish to save my life, I make things more complicated than they need to be sometimes, I battle with what my "identity" really is, and I spill coffee on myself every. single. day.
Sometimes, I wish there was a spot on my resume for the latter part of the description, but I'm sure that would turn lots away.
24 was a tough year for me. I don't write this for sympathy or attention (though that will inevitably come via social media "likes" and the dopamine I in turn will receive and then crave without realizing it... but I digress).
Let me start by saying that most of what has suffocated me this year has been me. Meaning, most of it was self-inflicted, self-involved, self-medicated, self-prescribed.
Most of what I went through internally, was a result of my own thoughts, mindset, and in turn, actions.
I don't really want to disclose it all to you right now, but in essence - I realized I was becoming someone I didn't necessarily like. Someone that felt trapped by money, routine, self-doubt, and comparison.
To label it, I would say I was the queen of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Worried about saving money? Better spend it all. Worried about getting fit? Might as well ruin all progress.
There are a few reasons for this, I believe.
I constantly struggled with the question of, "who am I?" Pictures flooded my feed of awesome yogis, runners, musicians, artists, dancers, business owners, engineers. As a communications strategist, I am already doomed to a life of self-awareness, image, and brand. Add the world of endless possibilities of comparison via technology... and disaster can be an outcome... when not managed correctly. I would try to get into the latest fad, only to fall off and be disappointed in myself. I would look to my friends that were running marathons only to be ashamed that I had increased my short run by a mile. I would see someone following a certain business path, think that's what I was supposed to do, plan it out, and then never follow through. I would look at people in new places only to be disappointed that I could not figure out my next step. I would look at my own dreams and think they were lame compared to Susy Q's over there.
The result? No progress in what I actually liked to do.
I constantly went back and forth from logical to creative. My brain is weird. To explain it in a way you may understand, it feels as though the left and right sides of my brain are 100% equal... and personality and strengths tests have led me to believe this to be true. Basically, I am constantly wanting to create, getting ideas, and wanting to be an artist, while at the same time I am constantly being pulled into strategy, reasoning, playing it safe, and taking my time.
The result? No progress in what I actually wanted to do.
I constantly refrained from allowing myself to be vulnerable. I like to appear strong, independent, bla bla bla bla bla. It's my "brand," or whatever. I realized the other day that I hadn't let myself simply dance freely - even at a bar when heavily cocktailed - nearly all year. I hadn't felt 100% comfortable in my own skin since really, 6 years ago. I always wanted to be better. I always thought I needed to not care. I always thought I wasn't good enough. I always thought I was fine.
The result? No progress in certain relationships, and no progress in finding what truly makes me feel alive.
And in all honesty, I'm exhausted.
I'm tired of trying to figure out who I am, when really, I know exactly who I am, I just won't allow it in. I'm tired of trying to create perfectly crafted plans that cater to my entrepreneurial spirit and my play it safe side that end in not following my heart. I'm tired of "being fine."
And when I finally realized how tired I was, I got sad. And then I let myself be sad.
And then all I was was sad.
And then, I woke up.
And I tried to get better - to be better. To change the way I thought and the way I was. I tried to change, I really did... and when I couldn't, over and over again, I got sad again.
Because, "I was stupid for being this way."
What I didn't realize, until now, is that the root of all of these different patterns of thinking and behavior that caused these downward spirals - was the fact that I didn't love myself... the fact that I didn't even like myself.
It wasn't that I needed to change, it was that I needed to be unapologetically me.
I didn't like my interests, because they weren't "super rad" or that hip. I didn't like the fact that my brain was torn between creative and analytics. I didn't like that I was honestly super shitty at dating and being vulnerable - so then I didn't even allow it in my life at all (god forbid I fail at something and for someone else to see nonetheless).
Looking at it now I see it for what it is. A debilitating, limiting, and ridiculous way of thinking that now makes me cringe... but I refuse to let myself be disappointed and upset that it took me so long to figure out... because I now know how that will go.
Because this is something that I went through. These are parts of me that I will always battle.
These are parts of me that I now, am choosing to love.
I love that I like taking cheesy photos of flowers, drinking coffee from cute mugs, blogging my worries away, and making new business plans for fun. I love that I'm not set on one athletic endeavor but jump around from sport to sport. I love that I love traveling but not enough to leave my career and other life plans. I love that I love fashion, interiors, and cities a little more than I (still) love the outdoors. I love that I love hiking but not enough to really take it too seriously. I love that I sort of suck at cooking but try anyway. I love that I don't really know my wine but will drink it with you regardless. I love that I am uneducated on certain topics but have the ability to be curious and learn more, whenever I choose to do so.
I love that my mind is wired in a way that allows me to think big and build up dreams, yet take the necessary steps to ensure my success. When managed correctly by simply being aware and cognizant of my thought processes, my greatest weakness, as most are, could actually be my greatest strength.
I love that I am able to be alone, independent, and deal with my own shit. And I love that I'm not afraid to admit that I need others, too. I love that I am going to work to love myself enough to let others love me, too... because for too long, I didn't think I deserved it.
There comes a day when you have to close a door on what you have done to fail. You have to quit beating yourself up and thinking, "if only I hadn't done that." You have to remember that you're going to fuck up again, but the demons inside you aren't as strong as the strength within you.
So for me, today is that day. Today is that day that I quit hating on myself for my shortcomings, my "failures," and my past. Today is that day that I decide to move forward with these lessons.
Today is that day that I tell my demons that I know they'll come haunt me, but this time I'm prepared and in short, they can fuck off for good.
Today is that day that I quit hating myself, and I start to actually, slowly but surely, kind of, maybe, love myself.
Today is that day.
Today has to be that day.
Thanks for listening to my melodramatic emo-ness. I don't even know.