Writing about something creates a record of your truth at that moment. That’s a hard thing for me since I’ve never been very forgiving of change or mistakes. So I struggle with this box when it comes to sharing about my life. It’s way easier to post a photo of my food or talk about a TV show while keeping most of myself off record. (Plus, I am an unabashed over-editor, which makes it harder to hit “Publish.”) But that’s hardly helpful (or healthy). And I’ve been helped a lot over the years by the personal writings of strangers on the internet who are braver than I am.
So this is me posting something personal because I want this space to be more personal, and to reflect who/where/what I am more than it does now. I don’t know what that looks like yet but if it’s messy/uncomfortable/confusing, this is me saying that’s okay.
I had a hard weekend. I moved to a new city four years ago to get on a better path and infuse some momentum into my life. After two jobs, a financial level-up, and a year in therapy, I think I accomplished some positive growth, and I’m proud of that. But there are some lingering not-so-good parts of my life that feel, well, terrible right now.
It took me a long time to get to know myself and start making real, deliberate decisions. I’ve spent too much time feeling lost and like I was pretending in most situations. I don’t want to do that anymore, but big change doesn’t happen fast, so it’s like I’m straddling this line every day between living as myself and for the things I want, and still being stuck in this life of misguided past choices. It’s tough but I’m working on it and staying as positive as I can. It’s just scary and sometimes I have a hard weekend.
Today, July 26, 2016, a woman was nominated for President of the United States of America. That has never happened before. Now, when it happens again, it won’t be that big of a deal. And that’s a pretty big deal.
Months ago, I didn’t expect to be as emotional about this as I am. Politics have worn me out this year. But my tears today had nothing to do with party platforms or policies.
I was never told as a kid that a woman couldn’t be the president. But it never happened, so my reality as an American for the past 35 years (and for the past 227 years) has been: A woman as our government’s leader? Our cultural guide? Our military chief? Our highest in command? A woman? In a respected top position of power? THE position of power? Nope. Never.
So, yeah. Today things CHANGED.
Occasionally, I think about all the times I’ve thought, “I finally have my life sorted out & things are great.”
But in reality, I wasn’t actually doing that great at all.
And that leaves me wondering: Does anyone ever have their “shit together” or do we all just pretend to have that – a life of sorted out plans – because it helps us feel secure?
As children, we learn to feel in control and safe when there are plans. (School events, family holidays, summer vacation, dates, sports games, planning to get your driver’s license or go to college or start a career…) But then adulthood happens and plans are broken, changed, or non-existent until you realize there’s no point in planning at all. It’s funny how the first part of life revolves around plans for the second mostly plan-free part.
I think “get your shit together” only ever really means “have empathy & stand up for yourself.” And you don’t have to have plans to do that. The people living their best lives as adults are never the same people sticking to plans. It’s no coincidence that most real achievements usually start out as totally unplanned things that scare us.
Silly thing in my head as I type this: This clip from Rick & Morty.
I started season three of BoJack Horseman today. With plot points like, “Todd and Mr. Peanut Butter get sprayed by a skunk,” and anthropomorphic animals for main characters, you might not suspect that this is a show about what it means to live a good life, achieve personal happiness, and the fear of never being able to do both. But it is very much about that. (Plus, animals with funny names.)
Sometimes you have to take responsibility for your happiness.
It takes a long time to realize how truly miserable you are,
even longer to see it doesn’t have to be that way.
– Cuddly Whiskers the hamster, BoJack Horseman
Photo Credit: BoJack Horseman, s03ep4
I realized earlier today that I never finished Shonda Rhimes’ book and had one more chapter. It was a chapter about unapologetically going for what you want in life, and I really needed to hear it. (Literally, I listened to the audiobook.) I’ve thought, “I want this!” so many times in my life, only to realize later I was way off and what I thought I wanted were really other people’s expectations.
“Normalize your life.” is some of the best advice I’ve ever heard, coming from “Year of Yes,” which I definitely recommend:
It’s hard to know for sure what you want. You have to make mistakes, realize your own identity, and find some security in your life before it’s even possible. Once you actually figure out what works for you, whether it’s a certain job, a city to live in, a person to be with, or not eating pizza with mushrooms, if you want it for yourself and it makes you happy, go for it because YOU FIGURED IT OUT and frankly, don’t waste time, we’re all going to die.
When you accept yourself and what you want, what you “should” do or what other people are doing no longer matters. As Mindy Lahiri once said, “It’s so weird being my own role model,” but the alternative seems to be an uncomfortable life spent struggling with your choices and the expectations of others instead of embracing who you are. And who wants that?