5 Small Truths to Carry with Me Always

This morning, I had a mild anxiety attack.

This is a crazy week for me. I’m coordinating an event for my job. It’s the biggest thing I’ll do with my youth all year—it’s basically the culmination of nine months worth of work. On top of this, I’m still not sure what I’m doing with my life come July 1st. And my body has been all sorts of raggedy for the past month.

I woke up this morning and I could just feel it all rolling around beneath my skin. My chest was tight. I felt scared and hyper-sensitive. For a moment, I just curled up in a ball on my bed. I didn’t cry. I didn’t curse all the million and one people who’ve been getting on my last damn nerve. I just breathed in the fetal position until I felt sane enough to take a shower and start my day.

I’m trying to remind myself that even on days like today, I’m not as hopeless and mixed up as I believe myself to be. I know more than I think. I have a few answers, even if they’re not to the questions I’m currently asking.

1. I have so much to be grateful for.

My second favorite past time is bitching and whining. (The first is watching TV on my iPad.) I’m really good at complaining about things. I’m always quite entertaining when I do it. But when all is said and done, I don’t have that much to be upset about. Even when I’m having shit days like today, I try to remind myself of what I am grateful for… even if it’s the small things. Today, that list has included: I got to spend my Saturday afternoon at the beach and put my feet in the ocean. Game of Thrones premiered last night and it was amazing. I got paid on Friday, so I can make another dent in my credit card bill. I made nachos last night. My skin is probably the clearest it’s been since high school.

2. I don’t owe anyone an explanation about who I am or the choices I make.

I sometimes feel like I’m always trying to prove why I am the way I am, or why I do the things I do. Especially in the last year. After a while, it becomes annoying. And then exhausting. I don’t think I’m that much of special unicorn, but I do know that I process things differently than most of my friends and family members. At this point in my life, I’m going through some shit and I’m tired of pretending otherwise. I’m also tired of justifying my decisions to others. I do what I do. Mostly what I do doesn’t affect other people, so back off.

3. My body is my responsibility.

I weigh 267 lbs. I am only three pounds away from what I weighed when I started Project Love Yoself in December 2012. This is embarrassing. But it’s also my responsibility. I own all 267 lbs. of this flesh and sinew and blood and hair and brown skin. If I choose to eat ice cream and french fries, I get to do that. If I choose to skip out on my birth control pills sometimes, I can do that. If I choose to work out for an hour, I can do that. In the same way that I’m free to do with this body whatever I please, I am also obligated to take care of it. Right now, I’m not doing so well with that. But no one else has to pay it any mind.

4. Take other people’s advice with a grain of salt.

I love asking other people what I should do with my life. Right now, I’m having a really hard time making decisions. So I want folks to make them for me… or at least validate the thing I kinda want to do, but am not so sure about. The problem with this is that there are a lot people don’t know jack-shit about anything, especially my life. And even if they do know a lot about me and my life, I am the person who has to actually live it. I can’t wait on others to approve of what I want to do.

5. Ain’t nothing to it, but to do it.

I want to be a writer. I know this now. I want to earn my living as a writer. I could write copy. I could be a blogger. I could be a TV writer. Sometimes, I think I may even be a decent journalist. At this point, it doesn’t really matter what I write as long as I write. But to make the mental, emotional, and behavioral transition from someone who wants to be a writer to someone who is a writer seems impossible most days. I feel like I don’t have the experience necessary to get the jobs I’m interested in. I feel like I don’t have the talent to apply for grants, submit my work, or freelance. However, my excuses and my fears are running thin. As I’ll be 25 in three months… and I don’t want to waste any more time doing work that’s not enjoyable or purpose-driven. At some point, I’m going to have to say, “Fuck it!” and send my little crappy-ass essays and poems out to someone’s online publication and hope they like ’em.

 

Today was a rough day. I have faith that tomorrow will hopefully be better. And if it’s not, I’ll just curl up in my little ball at the end of it and watch some Friday Night Lights. Isn’t that what real thugs do, anyway?

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