Striving to be

I’m at a place now where instead of choosing to be alive, I’m looking to choose to be happy. I honestly didn’t expect to make it here and I’m terrified that I’m still teetering on the edge, but seeing that option in front me is comforting. It’s a visible step forward.

Things are still hard, but in a different way. Over the past couple of months, I’ve gradually cut more and more people out of my life. I could barely manage the everyday interactions I was having, so I canceled plans, I stopped responding to messages, I spent as much time by myself as I could. Now that I’m finally ready to stop moping around, I’m finding myself unusually alone.

Its not the worst problem in the world to have though. Part of where I am now is little by little understanding the things that take me to a dark place, working not to overreact, and striving to be happy regardless of circumstance. Because I can’t guarantee that my life won’t sink to shit ever again and I want to be ready.

I’m not quite there yet, but having the option in front of me means that I’m moving forward. Here’s hoping I continue in that direction.

Sundays

I wake up on Sundays with my heart racing, a pit in my stomach.

It’s a habit now.

Another week is coming, but what have I accomplished this week? What have I accomplished this weekend? The obsessions never stop.

Things have settled down now. I know I’m on the upswing, but cycles of anxiety grasp at every thought. The meaningless worries, which used to sit in the back of my mind, seem to have nestled in and made their home. No amount of mental power will make them budge.

I’m trying to take things one step at a time. To appreciate the glimpses of light in every day, but I can’t help but dwell on the negatives. My brain seems to wander in search of the tiniest anxieties I’ve been running around to avoid. Last week, I couldn’t breathe. I thought my asthma had finally heard about LA smog. But it was just anxiety. I guess my subconscious knows, because the nightmares haven’t stopped in weeks. Swarming me every night and with every nap. Ironic since sleeping is how I used to avoid the world.

I’ll be patient.

I’ve gotten to the point where the me I’m trying to hide doesn’t slip out as often. I walk around with smiles, suspiciously positive retorts to the day old “how are you?” Things are seemingly back to normal. And I haven’t cut in a month. But every second of every day still feels like a war. To not get sucked in again, and to forgive myself when I do.

Sundays though. Sundays I aim for survival. Sundays I don’t make plans because I don’t know if I can live up to them, but when the day comes, the loneliness settles in. I walk around with a tightness in my chest, an urge to throw everything up. Sundays I despise, but secretly wish would continue forever.

Today, I’m remembering to breathe, be patient, and practice a little bit of metta.

that sinking feeling

Every second of every day, I feel like I’m drowning. Like my heart’s about to burst and nothing I can do is gonna stop it. And all I can do is cry when I’m alone and put on a smile, patch myself up, and hope that as little as possible of me seeps out.

I wish that I were stronger. That I could handle life like an adult. That I could feel that warm glow from deep inside knowing that everything’s gonna be alright. I can’t i can’t i can’t. I can’t breathe anymore. And I think that just one more little nudge would send me tumbling.

To Be Alone

Over the past year, I’ve gotten to a place where I am comfortable with myself. I wouldn’t say that I’ve grown to love myself, because honestly, I still hate the way I look, and I’m not a huge fan of my personality either. I think its more of a feeling of acceptance.

I used to be really afraid of being alone. I’d spend nights crying because I was so alone. Of course I had family and I had friends, but this was different. It was a fear that I would never find anyone who would understand exactly what it was like to be me. To feel these things that I could never explain in words. Someone who could make my decisions for me. I guess, just someone to be me, to live my life and to just let me watch.

But I’ve learned that to be alone is something to be cherished. To know that you are the only one in the entire world who is ever going to feel this way, to have these experiences, to look at the world from this perspective. That is a beautiful thing. I’ve learned that this what life is. To contribute to the world a life that you shape, a life that is limitless. Sure, there are laws, societal conventions, restrictions. But still, it’s crazy to think that as a human being, you have the ability to do anything, to decide to feel whatever you want to feel. To me, that is the gift of being alone. And it’s something that I’ve accepted.

Here’s the part that’s not so great though. I’ve spent a lot of time this past year being on my own, learning to trust myself and appreciate that I have the power to shape my life and decide whether or not I’m going to be happy. But now I’m scared to not be alone.

I guess its because when I’m the only person involved in my life, I’m in complete control. But, when I let other people in, I lose control, and that’s when things get tough. The problem is, the closer people get, the more I care about them. And the more I care about people, the more they have the power to hurt me. And this is the kind of hurt that I can’t control, I can’t turn off.

It’s been three months since I’ve gotten back. I haven’t gotten particularly close to anybody this semester. I’ve met people, made new friends, but I haven’t made any close connections. Part of it is circumstance. But a huge part is excuses, reasons not to commit, not to care, not to ever let anybody have the power to hurt me. It’s not that I love being alone. I’m okay with it, and I don’t mind it. But I’m terrified to not be alone.

People Change

People don’t wait for you. That’s sorta how it works. I came back to campus hoping that things would be the same, but deep down, I knew that they wouldn’t be. The friends that I had considered family before, I don’t think I know them anymore, and I don’t think they know me. It’s okay. I think I would be sad if I had time to think about it. But then again, I have thought about it, and it’s okay.

In the eight months that I was away from campus, my friends grew and changed. And I did too. It’s hard to be close to people you don’t even know anymore. A few weeks ago, I got some really good news, and I didn’t have any friends on campus that I really wanted to tell. I didn’t feel like anybody would really care. And the one thing that really sucks is I feel like I’m starting college over again this semester, the spring of my junior year. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if I stayed on campus though, and I think things would have been worse. Because in the time that I spent away, I discovered that I didn’t really like who I was and where I was going. So maybe a fresh start isn’t so bad.

That place that I was trying to get to before, where I can just be happy being me? I’m closer now than I’ve ever been before. I’ve been working hard to get my academics back on track, and I think its paying off. I’ve been paying close attention to the needs of my body, and for the first time since I got to college, I’ve never slept through a single class. I’ve even found a few strands of white hair that are turning black at the roots again. Being gluten free sucks, but its made some really good things happen. And I’m starting to realize the people are who truly care about me and who I’m happy spending time with. I still have sad moments each day. But who doesn’t really.

What’s easy? What’s good?

So I’m back at college now. Back in the purple bubble where everything is familiar and safe and comfortable. And at the same time, scary and unknown. It’s hard settling in again, when everyone else has had half a year to adjust and you are dumped into the middle of it all and expected to join in as if nothing has changed.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is reconciling this conflict between what’s easy for you and what’s good for you. There are simple things, staying in bed all day going out vs. and engaging with the day, getting drunk to forget about your problems or dealing with them head on. (Then again, maybe these aren’t so simple). Other things are a little more complicated, you could apply for that easy job or pursue that dream job, you can avoid the problems in a relationship or have the tough conversations. I think that life is full of tough choices like these. After all, kids are taught to literally study themselves to death so they can go to that top tier college and get that “successful” job.

Maybe I’m being negative, but it seems like its rarely the case that the easy things are the good things and these days, I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle that may or may not be worth it. When I arrived on campus, it first hit me that I’m going to be graduating next year and this sense of unaccomplishment has been following me like a lost puppy. This past week I’ve been dragging myself out of bed and throwing myself at clubs and professors and long-lost friends and I’m actually doing all my readings (which has never happened before)

It’s really hard. Sometimes it feels good, I get some short spurts of happiness. But mostly, its just really fucking hard. And I’m happiest (or at least most comfortable) when I’m lying in bed not doing these things. I don’t know. Maybe it’ll be worth it in the future. I guess I’m a little tired of waiting for this so called reward.

But it’ll come. It has to. Otherwise what are we doing?

The introvert in me

I’m an introvert. I love spending time with other people. I really do. I love hearing people’s life stories, understanding where they came from, where they are now, why they do the things they do. I love having long conversations, digging through that crunchy outer shell and finding the real shit. Because people are really fucking cool. I believe that despite all the differences between people, everyone has intrinsic human qualities that allow them to connect and understand each other. And I love that.

But I’m an introvert. I also love spending time with myself. All that stuff that I love exploring about other people, I also love doing for myself. And if I go too long without me time, I always feel a little lost, a little confused about who I am, how I’m doing. It’s not as if I sit alone in the dark analyzing my entire life, but I give my brain a little time off from focusing so much on other people and naturally, it starts to relax and take a little more of me into account. And if I don’t get enough me time? I essentially start acting like a non-functioning human being, and half of the sounds that come out of my mouth end up just being incomprehensible gibberish.

So what is this trip like for the introvert in me? I’m not really sure. On the one hand, I’ve almost never been alone. Its kind of hard when nine people are living in two rooms in the middle of a city. But this trip is meant to get me out of my comfort zone. While its been difficult, I’ve gotten to know people really well in the week and a half that I’ve been here, I haven’t imploded yet, and I’m generally happier than I have been in the past year.

In a way, I am completely alone. Coming here, I left behind everything that has ever been a consistent part of my life and had the opportunity to have a fresh start. Being in a completely new country for a limited period of time has allowed me to stop thinking about the past and the future so much and just concentrate on the today, the now. It’s weird because if I had had this mindset in the U.S., things would’ve been much easier. But for some reason, I just have trouble focusing on the present when I’m surrounded by so much stuff.

I keep thinking that when I return to school in February, its back to real life, back to stress and worries and everyday anxiety, but I know it doesn’t have to be that way. I can choose to just let go. We’ll see how that works out.