I've spent a long part of my relationship making sacrifices that nobody asked me to because I thought doing so was an act of love. That's not entirely true. I've spent a long part of my life making sacrifices that either I thought other people wanted me to make or I was explicitly asked to make. I stopped listening to the music I loved because my partner didn't love it. I stopped writing because somebody asked me to. I canceled plans with friends because I thought going would upset somebody. I made myself smaller and kept my thoughts to myself, only to become weighed down by disappointment I couldn't verbalize while everyone around me verbalized their disappointment with me. A lot of the time, I cannot discern reality from my imagination. I think these thoughts and can't understand if they're real or just part of a one-sided narrative I tell myself. Maybe it's a little of both. The point is, happiness, for me, is a fleeting taste of something I truly only experience when I am distracted enough to forget what everybody else wants from me.
I saw a quote on Instagram last week. Text on an image. One of a million I'm sure I have read and one with a message so obvious it bordered on trite:
"If you don't make time to work on creating the life you want, you're eventually going to be forced to spend a lot of time dealing with a life you do not want."
Let me tell you, I read that last Monday and I was right there. This stupid-simple quote hit me on the fucking head like a "HELLO?" from above and goddamn, I needed it. I read it over the phone to two of my best friends because I thought they needed it, too. I realized that my life had turned into a monotonous rotation of sleeping in too late to get anything done, going to work, doing chores and dicking around on my cellphone. Around the same time as this realization, Volt, my 2017 agenda and journal, offered the following quote and question to reflect on:
"THE MOST BASIC FORM OF HUMAN STUPIDITY IS FORGETTING WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH." --Friedrich Nietzsche
Look back on your yearly goals. Have you made the progress you expected? What can you do this week to push yourself in a positive direction?
I realized that I have not been spending any significant amount of time pursuing creative activities. Sure, every now and then I squeeze out a blog post, but what else have I done this year? I've spent so long conforming to what I thought everyone else thought I should BE, and all it's done is make me miserable because DUH. Daydreaming about your dreams doesn't make them come true. Thinking about them isn't even fucking gratifying because all it is is a DREAM. IT'S NOT REALITY. I've spent my whole life feeling like I'm on the outside looking in, but that is only because I have put myself there. I look at bloggers and Instagrammers with their perfect apartments and indulgent, self-loving lifestyles. The only difference between me and them is that they take up space and take photos of their coffee and books and white spaces, and I just wish I could. It's ridiculous! I have an electric tea kettle and Yogi tea with inspiring words on the tea tag. I have pretty books and candles and white space. SEE?
I took that photo as I was settling in to meditate with my Headspace app (10/10 would recommend) one morning before work. SO SELF-INDULGENT. Then I signed up for a month of unlimited yoga because I wanted to even though I couldn't really afford it. I've written two blog posts in a span of eight days. I've been playing and downloading all the music I used to love listening to when I felt most myself. I rearranged my apartment to resemble something I find peaceful and beautiful to look at. I've communicated clearly to the love of my life how I feel and what I want, and you know what? The world hasn't burned to the ground. I feel more whole and more fulfilled and more like myself again. Now the next thing to work on is making some friends...