The Final Stretch (i.e. goals, revised)

I’ve been pretty happy with 2015. I think life is meant to get better and happier as time goes on, and it’s a good sign when this happens. It means that you’ve learned from the past and incorporated it into the present. Of course, it’s impossible to be perfect, to be perfectly happy as things are… but in a way, that just makes the future more exciting. So I’ve set a few goals for myself to focus on as I enter senior year, not for the purpose of achieving them fully, but to give me something to strive toward. They center around a quote by one of the most random people on earth, the North Pond Hermit, who lived in solitude for 27 years. When asked about his reflections on the human condition (following arrest for burglary), he stated:

I did examine myself […] Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing – when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.

My goal is certainly not to become a hermit, but to live for myself, independent of performing for others, independent of the need for affirmation. As I’ve gotten distance from my internship, I’ve realized that these past few months have helped me to take a big step in this direction, but I’m still not quite where I want to be. So here is me solidifying my goals:

  1. Be happy, truly happy with what you have. With who you are. No matter what your physical conditions are.
  2. Take care of yourself wholeheartedly. Focus on doing things that you want to do, not things that you feel pressure to do.
  3. Be accepting of the happiness of others. Practice some metta.
  4. Feel as intensely as you can feel. Love as intensely as you can love. Don’t hold back and don’t be afraid to get hurt.
  5. Remember that you are dealing with something that does make your life a little more difficult than the lives of others. Understand what that means, and accept it. Know your limits and respect them. Be grateful.
  6. Don’t be deterred from your ultimate goal. It’s okay if it changes or evolves. Just remember to stride toward it as wholeheartedly as you can.
  7. Take ten minutes for yourself every single day, whatever that means.
  8. Don’t limit yourself or be afraid to take risks. That’s what life is about.
  9. Love love love yourself. Don’t apologize for being you. Work everyday to be the best version of yourself. And don’t look back at those who didn’t care enough to cast you a second glance.
  10. Celebrate failure.

I guess with that, I head into the first day of my senior year of college.

Making Peace

I’m a person who likes to do what I want to do. And I’m a person who will fight to do what I want to do… because I don’t like to be told no. A lot of times its a good thing, but sometimes it means that I don’t know my limits. And I do have limits.

I’m lying in bed right now. Where I’ve been for the past two days. I’m supposed to be exploring Tokyo right now. Taking advantage of my $465 rail pass, but I literally can’t move. Over the past month, my eczema has deteriorated so much that after a ten minute walk, I can barely stand up straight. Somehow I got it in my head that if I could just push through the pain, everything would be okay. But bodies don’t work like that, and that’s a lesson that I’m learning.

After a very expensive trip to the hospital yesterday and almost not making it to Tokyo, I realized that I needed to stop and listen to what my body is telling me. Partly because taking two steps feels like I’m setting my legs on fire. Well actually its completely because of that. I don’t think I would have stopped otherwise. So as I’m writing this, I haven’t completely made peace with myself, but I’m working on it. Because not being able to walk sucks. It really fucking sucks. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it makes life in Japan incredibly difficult and frustrating. And it’s really hard not to hate my own body for rebelling against me.

But seeing as I have no choice but to lie here and spend time with myself, its all the more important to make peace with what I have. So yup, that’s what’s happening right now.

Maybe its time to do some metta practice. That and ironically writing my research paper on healing in Buddhism.

Would you ever talk to other people the way you talk to yourself?

Hate is a strong word.

Love is different. People use it in every other sentence without a second thought, describing friends, enemies, and foods alike. But hate. There’s a heaviness to the sound of the word. A bitterness that is revealed as soon as its said out loud. It’s something that’s nearly impossible to take back because when you use it, you’ve got to really mean it.

It’s sad that the way it comes up most commonly is in reference to self-hate. To be perfectly honest, I hear it most when I say it to myself. And its just so not okay. Because I hear other people say it to themselves all the time as they describe all their faults. And I look at them and I wish that they could see all the beauty that I see. And I tell them how beautiful they are, but each and every time, I am met with a sense of disbelief. It’s happened to me more times than I can count. It makes me wonder if anyone is truly satisfied with themselves. It makes me think that self-hate is so much more common than self-love when it really should be the other way around.

The title of my blog is discoveringmetta. Lovingkindness. In metta practice, one often starts the meditation with metta toward themselves, and then shifts gradually toward friends, neutral companions, and finally enemies. But sometimes, the hardest person to work with is the self. I feel like working with myself is something I’ve been avoiding this year. And that maybe its time I started facing up to it.

Because I really respect people who love themselves. I don’t see it as arrogance, just a really great attitude. These are the people that are willing to take the fullest advantage of the life that they were given and that’s the kind of person that I want to be. To be quite honest, I’m not really sure where to start.

I do know that I would never talk to other people the way I talk to myself. And that’s just not okay at all. Maybe I’ll start with that.

Something Different

I got home today and something had changed. I couldn’t figure out what it was and I still can’t figure it out, but something was different.

I went on a date today. I haven’t done that for a long ass time. I think I was scared. My heart had been broken before and I was scared that if I even opened the door a crack, I wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure. I felt like there was a reason I was alone. There was obviously something wrong with me, something that made me inherently unlovable. Once someone actually got to know me, they would obviously discover how awful I was and leave.

So how did it go? Not great. Not awful, but I knew there wouldn’t be a second date. And it wasn’t me. Or him. It just wasn’t right.

I’m still scared. But for the first time today, There was this moment when I didn’t hate who I was. When I didn’t feel worthless. It was different. Kinda nice actually.

Hopelessness

So today I spent 12 hours at orientation for my new internship that starts Monday. By 3:00, my anxiety started to creep, by the time I got off the metro, my head was about to explode. I took a shower and passed out and when I woke up, the thoughts started to creep.

Last week I was trying on my pants from last summer to see if they still fit. They didn’t. Today, after I woke up, I saw myself in the mirror and I burst out crying. I saw the fat and the eczema and the ugly. Just so much ugly. I was physically repulsed by myself.

And then the thoughts came back. Thoughts that I thought I had pushed away… because I was stronger than that. Thoughts that maybe just one cut would make me feel better. That no one could ever want to be with someone as ugly as me. That maybe the world would be better off without me. That no one would be miss me anyway.

And then guilt. Because I didn’t value my life the way I should. And because of how much my family needs me right now. Really really needs me. And here I couldn’t even get over myself. My thoughts spiraled and I honestly didn’t know how to get out.

I’m on Netflix now. Nothing like a little Orange is the New Black to distract me from my thoughts. But I’m scared. I’m scared about making it through the summer alone. Because lately I have not been kind to myself and my thoughts have only gotten scarier.

My goal:
1. Find a way to stop my thoughts from spiraling when they seem out of control.
2. Stop caring what other people think. They’re only one of billions.
3. Learn to affirm myself.

It’s okay to wander off the path once in a while, as long as you eventually find your way back.