This is going to be a bit of a messy mind dump.
I’ve never quite felt like I fit in anywhere. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had this predilection toward misfits, oddities, and things that go against the grain. Always passionate, always opinionated, always obstinate, always full of ideologies and fantasies and imagination. Always screaming in indignation for the things that I dislike about the world, and a shuddering grief over all that I can’t change. My brain is, and has always been (for the most part) a complex framework of ideas, stories, malnourished plans for societal and personal betterment, a battle of overwhelming negative thoughts toward myself, and recently, a spiritual frenzy of pleasure, excitement, drive, and self-love. An empathic chaos of sorts has followed me around throughout my life, causing me to scarcely be able to fixate on any given point.
This isn’t meant to be a sort of boasting about my “free-spiritedness”: it has actually caused me a great deal of distress in my life.
My dad has always said I have to “skin my knees on everything” to learn. He’s been frustrated by my indecisiveness and my lack of direction (or perhaps it’s more accurate to state that I have too many directions: each one less stable than the last). I’ve confounded a lot of people in my life with my airiness and ability to change direction with a subtle nudge of the wind, and I know it’s been hard for a lot of my loved ones to keep up. It’s hard on me, and I’ve also confounded myself in this process, allbeit for the opposite reasons.
I’ve recently discovered that I’ve been tremendously disingenuous with myself throughout my life.
Rarely have I felt understood, and often I have felt alone and strange, like some alien who walks around among people but isn’t really sure how to do it properly. There’s always been something uneasy within me: a restlessness, a paranoia, a desire for something more. Unfortunately, I placed a stable acceptance on a higher pedestal than I have placed my true, authentic self.
I think this is a fairly typical occurrence, particularly for those who have less secure attachment styles. I’ve found myself to be a burden to everyone in my proximity my entire life, so it makes sense that I chose a more agreeable predisposition for myself. I’ll go keep some beliefs to myself, I’ll get my degree, find a job to settle into, I’ll do what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ll rage against the societal machine in my head, and scream my miseries into the void of my own subconscious, but I won’t do anything to change direction.
I was afraid to rock the boat and potentially disappoint people with my ideas for my future, though secretly I was hatching plans to find post-grad work on pot farms and live in a van and be a vagabond writer hippie-person. I truly had no plan to use my degree at all at this time of my life, I just knew I could miss out on opportunities if I didn’t have it. In the process of this duality of being, I was profoundly depressed, drinking too much to cope with my life, and feeling deeply dissatisfied with my existence. Suicidal ideations were no stranger to me. Thoughts of dropping out crossed my mind more times than I can count, but I was so concerned about what people would think of me, and feeling so guilty about the wasted money and potential, so I buried them deep inside of myself and didn’t even allow it to be a consideration.
My last semester of college was the apex of my anxiety, due in part to the toxic relationship I was in, and significant personal traumas during the preceding months, but also due to my own doubts about the significance of my life and a horrible lack of love for myself. Who am I? What do I want from life? Are my intentions pure? Am I making a terrible mistake choosing the path that I am? Is all of this depression and struggle worth it?
I felt weak, cowardly, spiritually depleted, numb, and supremely inauthentic.
How much of my life have I spent doing things just because I wanted to follow some arbitrary set of rules? Even while getting my degree, I knew that I would finagle it into something abstract and off the beaten path (still trying to figure that out). I’ve been terrified by the idea of settling down into any one career, getting married, and having children for many, many years. It’s just not like me, and every year I get older, the less that lifestyle appeals to me*. I’ve only gotten more restless as time has gone on, until now.
My path is billowing before me, a ripe peach just waiting for me to take it. It’s always been there, but I’ve just tried to fit it into the molds of a conventional world. I’m learning to finesse my past into the practices of my present, and acknowledge that there may be little conventionality to my life from here on out.
And I have had resistance, and a lot of it. Most of the resistance I’ve experienced from the last few years was from within (my own doubts, my own insecurities, my own inabilities and sheer lack of confidence), but now I find it more from without. I don’t know how to reconcile the fact that my path may make people uncomfortable, may disappoint, may not be what people wanted for me. But I’m learning to accept the truth that, despite how much I want to please the people in my life who want a different life for me, it’s not my responsibility to be that person and live that life.
My responsibility is to be true to me: to work on bettering myself through my health, lifestyle, and spirituality.
And the cleaner I can keep my side of the street, the more I can do for others. The more full my cup is, the more I can share. The clearer my path, the easier it will be for other people to settle into their own paths without fear of judgement.
I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned through hardship. I am so grateful for my education, and I can’t wait to see the opportunities that may arise from it (MSW when I’m 30, perhaps? Internships with MAPS?). I am so grateful for having a rich life full of lessons, difficulty, and mind-blowing beauty and revelation. I am so grateful for all of the people in my life, whether they affirm my path or not. Everything feels clearer than ever before, and the tranquility I feel from my own knowing and honoring of my truth is worth everything.
When you have literally had times where you’d rather be dead than alive, it really makes the times when you feel the most alive shine brighter, fuller, and more profoundly. When you have hated yourself as deeply as I have, loving yourself feels really exquisite. I am riding the waves, and for the most part, everything feels just right.
Of all the things that I could be, I am happy, I am healthy, and I feel more aligned within myself than I ever have. I feel calm, I feel peace, and I feel love for myself.
Hopefully, that’s enough.
*My lack of interest in having this type of lifestyle is not an indictment of anyone who chooses that lifestyle. I just know myself, and I know that I would be unhappy in that world. Everyone should be consciously honoring their path, whatever that looks like. I know my own truth, and that is all.