I have problems. Sometimes these problems take over my life. When the anxiety is unbearable, I fantasize about living in a different body. I wonder what it’s like living in a body that doesn’t constantly feel like it’s on the brink of exhaustion or a catastrophic meltdown. I don’t know what it feels like to not have these issues. I don’t think anyone really knows. Everyone has issues, some great and some small – but all consuming to our relative minds.
I’m not good with problems. I have no standard of attacking them. Whether I’m avoiding or grappling, I have a tendency to tell myself to try harder. To allow my anxiety to push me into believing that I’m never doing enough. I’m never doing it right. <<I’m never right.>>
These thoughts are compounded by the constant barrage of negativity I let into my life, and sometimes by the people closest to me. To those that wish me harm, to those that harm me without their knowing, and to those that mean well.
As I sit here in my chair, writing this blog post – which I haven’t decided I’m going to share publicly – I’m gripped by anxiety and hopelessness. My primal need for external validation is overwhelming. Even thinking about my loved ones not validating me fills me with such a deep dread I almost cry. Shaken, I am unable to concentrate on one topic, unable to determine my path forward. My initial thought is: I must be doing something wrong.
Is it my fatalistic attitude? Everything happens for a reason, therefore it will happen regardless of the path I choose.
Or is it just the old caretaker of my mind – anxiety – speaking? The years that I have let my emotions and anxiety get the best of me only to manifest in yelling and screaming matches, spewing hatred to those that I call my family, friends, lovers. It must come to an end at some point, right? I cannot live in this state of perpetual fit for the next forty or fifty years. Where does the cycle begin and end? Must I live in this shit, confronting and denying myself at every turn, only to realize on my death bed that I never truly knew my mind – or more, didn’t give a flying fuck about myself enough to find out?
Enough. I’ve decided 2017 is my year. After two back-to-back years (2015 & 2016) that I have unofficially [in an effort not to jinx myself (I see you, anxiety)] deemed the most difficult in my life, I needed something to change. This is going to be my year of trying harder, of pushing myself to make the hard choices and to stick with them. But, what does that mean exactly? It can’t be the same tiresome New Years Resolutions that die from unsustainable targets. I can’t let myself inflict that emotional pain onto myself (even though I do that anyways in varying forms and degrees). How can I commit, know that I’m trying harder, and stick to it?
I’ve seen the quote below a lot recently (New Years and whatnot) on Facebook and Instagram.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
Who said it? Maybe Thomas Jefferson, maybe no one, or maybe an unknown philosopher? While I usually am repelled by these erudite, inspired quotations from gods know who – I kind of like this one. It’s truthful and enlightened without being condescending, regardless of what famous or unknown person wrote it first.
So in light (enlight? Terrible pun.) of this, I decided that the change must be new. I started quickly but surely. I joined a boot camp gym (see here), I picked up sewing (see here), and I made a commitment to myself to push myself, to say YES to fun things, and to be comfortable with saying NO. I would stand up for myself this year. I would read, which I’ve obviously done in the past, but I would read with purpose this time around (see here). I give myself the space and patience to find myself: my essence, my laughter, my spirit. It has been too long since I looked in the mirror and liked the person I saw.
I made a commitment to say “I’m good. I’m enough.” And to fight the urge to say, “That’s good enough,” because it so frequently isn’t in my life. To fight my inclination to scream. To fight my fearful need to be combative, but to protect myself.
I made a promise to keep myself on track. To allow myself to be an advocate for my life and for others. To know that this life is short, but long. To try to make it the best life yet.
Above all, I made a commitment to fight my anxiety and, in the same breath, learn to accept it. To discontinue this rapid descent into chaos, into the nightmare of depression and fear, and learn to love myself even on the dark days.
I’m taking it back. Taking my purpose back. Taking my words back. Taking my ability to actively try harder back.
Disclaimer: This post isn’t meant to serve as anything other than a reminder to myself of the commitments I have made. It’s not a revelation, it’s not enlightened – it’s my thoughts in text.