Well, hello, long time no talk. I’ve been working on my novels, learning Mohawk, trying to make some cash money, and writing songs. Oh, and I moved to a new city (more on that in my next post!) annnd I’ve been really working on my ol’ mental health [insert double thumbs up]. To put it lightly, when I said I was going to become a positive person, I actually did it. And it’s been totally fucking worth it.
I told myself I wouldn’t blog until my second novel was completely finished, but fuck it, I miss this.
I’m trying to take a brand new stab at this whole pursue-happiness thang—as I creep closer and closer to 26 I’m becoming increasingly aware of how fast life passes you by. And FUCK, up until 25 all I ever did was wish it away, hate myself, and make stupid, self-sabotaging decisions. I’ve got so much lost time to make up for.
Believe you me, I used to roll my eyes at the positivity movement. All of the rainbows and sunshine coming out of people’s twats made me want to puke. WHY CAN’T EVERYONE JUST ADMIT THAT THEY ARE AS MISERABLE AS I AM?
So, on I trudged. Chasing another below-par decision with a glass of wine and a dart — “This is really living,” I would coo to myself in a raspy, sexy voice that can only be brought on by chain-smoking menthol bitch sticks like they’re going to be discontinued. I was feeling it all, even more than Feist. I was allowing myself to feel the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows as only a garbage-can person can. (“It’s not garbage CAN’T!” I would yell, my friends and family truly saddened that I ever stumbled upon that meme.)
But, do you know what the stupid thing was? When I was alone, when the party was over, I hated everything. I had never felt lonelier and I couldn’t see it coming to an end. I wanted to get off of this sick carousel, but instead I kept shovelling in quarters, hoping that the ass I was riding would turn into a stallion. Or, better yet, a god damn unicorn that would fly me to a whole new planet where I could start over.
Or rather, disappear.
That’s a gross feeling, to hate your own company so much that you long to disappear. To feel as if your skin is crawling when you’re left alone with yourself in a quiet room. When you can no longer turn up the music, crack a dirty joke, and pretend that EVERYTHING IS PEACHY.
I had a tougher exterior back then, which is funny because it was false. I let everyone walk all over me. When you don’t like yourself it’s nearly impossible to stand up for yourself. Telling someone that they had hurt me was like defending grape-flavoured cough syrup—“It’s fine, I’m sorry for saying anything, I’m disgusting, I deserved it.”
My life felt like when you flush the toilet and watch your icky, brown shame rising to the surface but you don’t know what to do because you never listened to your father when he told you how to handle things. Hemingway says in order to write about life, first you must live it. I just unclogged my first toilet. I’m really livin’ now.
I think part of growing up is accepting your shit.
We are all flawed.
We all have our hangups.
We all have things that we need to work on.
We will forever be imperfect, works-in-progress, and that’s OKAY—as long as we’re making progress.
Taking the first step towards being a happier person was just that: a first step.
While working on my second novel (a memoir on overcoming mental illness, nonetheless) I realized I still had a ways to go. Too long had I been ducking my issues under the false impression of recovery. In a lot of ways I’d been “recovered” for awhile, I’d maintained a healthy BMI for years, I hadn’t purged in years, I’d given up on using sex and alcohol as a way to keep myself numb, I’d given myself countless “I love and accept YOU” pep talks. Yet my anxiety was as rampant as ever. Maybe even more so now that I’d taken away all of my vices, or shall I say crutches. I even quit smoking cigarettes last September, leaving myself stranded without a paddle. Now it was just me, feeling increasingly v u l n e r a b l e. I was no longer allowing myself to remain stuck in the same ruts that I had been in for all of my adult life—and you know what, I no longer wanted to. It was time to embrace my vulnerability.
Last year I fell in love for what felt like the first time (cue Foreigner). The way he looked at me made me realize that I wanted to be better. As nacho-cheesy as this sounds, he looked at me as if he was seeing my soul. As if he was seeing the girl I was before mental illness, and addiction, and hatred (cue messy tears). He had fallen in love with me for me, and I realized it was time that I did too.
The mysterious, collective They say that you can’t love anyone before you love yourself, and I always thought that that was god damn bullshit. I was no stranger to heartache. Amidst all of my cynical self-sabotage, being a dreamy, hopeless romantic came easily. This doesn’t happen often, so, I don’t know, you’re welcome?—but they were right. You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself.
For years I had been telling myself that I was always putting others first, but that only happened when the mood struck. I flip-flopped between doormat and selfish-tyrant surprisingly seamlessly, one second sad that I wasn’t being treated properly, the next second hurting others before they got the chance to hurt me. My “Love Stories” could’ve worked as brochures for “What Not To Do In Relationships”. I didn’t want this shiny, new love to be the next one added to the heaping pile of shit better known as my dating track record.
It was time for a change. A more serious change than just attempting to be more positive. I needed to fully immerse myself in the rainbow.
So, I tried what I’d never tried before: I genuinely began to accept myself.
At first, it felt uncomfortable.
I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: It’s much easier to remain a garbage-person. When you’re trash no one can expect too much from you, nor can you expect too much from yourself. How blissful.
Accepting yourself means analyzing your reactions.
It’s communicating how something is making you feel.
It’s separating what’s in your head with what’s ACTUALLY true.
It’s nurturing your body and mind.
It’s baring your soul and not caring if people don’t like it, because you approve of yourself all on your own.
It’s realizing that jealousy comes from a place of insecurity. Running other people down won’t get you anywhere.
It’s standing up for yourself when someone says something that’s triggering or disrespectful.
It’s cutting people out of your life who bring you down.
It’s wholeheartedly believing that you are capable of all of the goals you want to accomplish.
It’s believing that you are worthy of love, and that your partner is lucky to have you.
It’s CRYING. That was probably the trickiest part for me, now when I’m upset I immediately begin to cry. The reaction makes me feel out of control, which is frighteningly refreshing. I was so accustomed to burying my emotions, rebelling against them in whatever degrading way I chose. Now, I cry. IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. SOBER. I address what I’m upset about right away, and as embarrassing as it is, afterwards I feel free. I don’t have to add this new hurt onto the list of lies I use to trick myself into believing that I am worthless.
Now, I address my anxieties. I will openly say that I struggle. And the amazing thing is instead of people shutting me out the way I always feared they would, they open up too. That’s not to say that my issues are melting away by means of acknowledgment. My palms are still sweaty and my voice is still strangely high when I’m talking to strangers. My body dysmorphia still snickers to me during the most inoppurtune moments, startling me as if someone has just punched me in the stomach. I still have to remind myself to breathe. But, I’m putting myself out there more than ever and it’s paying off.
We are all anxious. We all fear that we will not be accepted. We are in this together.
Not only am I addressing my anxieties, I am attacking them with all of my force. I realize that for my entire life, the only person holding me back was myself. I’m not prepared to waste any more time being afraid, isolated, or resentful. I am excited to try new things. To make a fool of myself. To LIVE.
I am grateful every day for all of the wonderful people in my life, for all of the lessons I have learned both good and bad, and for all of the opportunities that I am no longer afraid to grasp. If you’re ever having a horrible day write down all of the things that make you smile or all of the people/animals/places/things that you are thankful for. It helps, I promise.
Every day is a new chance for you to become the person that you want to be. Don’t believe that your yesterdays dictate your tomorrows. And dang, there are a lot worse problems to have than rainbows and sunshine bursting from your nether regions.