Sometimes, I feel like I’m being dishonest when I write in this blog. It’s my “public” blog, my “writer’s” blog, so I feel this pressure to be positive and interesting.
In reality, I am most interesting when I am being honest. And when I’m being honest, I’m not usually all that positive.
I think the most difficult thing about growing up, is you have to come face-to-face with everything everyone has ever told you about living and being a person. You have to start figuring out who you are and what you believe… and if you’re who you are and believe what you believe because it’s true for you, or because someone gave you these ideas.
Since leaving my full-time job last summer and spending most of my days at home, I have a lot more time to think about these super-meta things. I’ve gotten to know myself better. It’s really uncomfortable sometimes. It’s easy to build up a version of yourself that is for public and social consumption. On Twitter and Facebook, I am so witty and entertaining. With my friends and colleagues, I am funny and full of energy.
But when you’re given an indefinite amount of concentrated time to just be alone… all of that stuff becomes what it is: cosmetic. It melts away and then you’re another you. Maybe not a more “true” you, but definitely a less enhanced and deliberate you. This past year, I got to be me, boiled down. It has been a gift. But some days, it is overwhelming.
Recently, I have been grappling with this sense of “supposed to” vs. this sense of “want to”. They’re not matching up. I spent a very long time making a plan for my life that was somewhat responsible and somewhat indulgent at the same time. I was intent on becoming a “creative professional,” whether that meant writing or acting or directing. But still, I did well in college and made sure I had meaningful experiences like studying abroad and transferring to a school that better suited my needs. I realized I was passionate about social justice—I’m just as passionate about it as I am about writing and TV and poetry and theatre. I found a good job after graduation that let me be both responsible and creative.
But within the last year, all of my plans and my attempts at being responsible and put-together have come undone. As much as I enjoyed working with youth in the non-profit/community-based sector, that work is draining. I burnt out. As much as I enjoyed performing, I don’t feel as confident in my body or myself. And standing in front of hundreds of strangers, telling them my stories and being vulnerable doesn’t sound as appealing. As much as I love writing, I too often hear the voices of my mother and other family members telling me, “This is not a practical career.” Or I think about how much better other writers are than me, and I feel silly and unworthy.
More than anything, I’ve felt bared. At times, this is good. So many people often tell me what an honest person I am. I take great pride in this. I believe a lot of the problems we have in the world are made worse by the fact that people are not willing to be open and honest with themselves, with each other. So yes, I move through the world on a principle of honesty. But it can be difficult when this honesty is not valued or appreciated… or when others simply don’t know what to do with it.
This year, I’ve come to realize some things about myself: I like staying home by myself more often than I like going out with friends. I like spending quality time with small amount of friends. I have serious issues with food and overeating. I have an aversion to working out and doing other things that are good for me, but require more than bare minimum effort. I have been able to get by in life mainly because I’m smart, kind, lucky, and somewhat talented… but not so much on hard work. And the older you get, the more hard work matters. I don’t really enjoy working full-time or within office spaces, but I do enjoy the financial security that having a “regular” full-time job provided. I love my family, but I’ve always felt different from them… and thus, I can’t spend too much time with any of them without feeling awkward and/or annoyed. I have faith in God and I have system of personal spiritual principles… but my relationship with The Big Universal Spirit is fractured and I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t like asking for help, but I do like complaining. I let fear guide a large part of my actions and decisions. I would love to start dating, but I am unwilling to make myself truly vulnerable for any person. Even though I love writing and the arts/culture… I really have no firm clue about what I want to do career-wise.
I know all of these things about myself. And they are good things to know. But they are not easy things to know. And knowing them does not directly translate to action or resolution. And it’s so very frustrating.
All of this to say: It’s a Monday afternoon in late July. I’m still in my pajamas. Whenever I think of applying for a specific job, I stop myself for whatever stupid reason. I spend a lot of time thinking about how much I just want to be back in New York City, but I always make up an excuse why this is not a good time to move.
All of this to say: I am wandering now. And I may wander forever. But eventually, I’ll find a little path to stay on for a bit. I hope…