I don’t know when it happened

I don’t know when in my life I somehow convinced myself that I wasn’t worth it. That I would never amount to anything. That I didn’t deserve anything. So I stopped trying, doing the things I loved, striving, being who I was. I guess it was fear of inevitable failure. I’m not exactly sure what led to this. I mean I have a vague idea, but it wasn’t one thing in particular. And anyway, it doesn’t really matter.

I’ve turned a corner recently. Actually it was a really long corner. Razor sharp edges. But somehow I made it. I began to realize that this life was mine to live and striving for failure is inevitable. It is a rarity in life to be the best at something or to be perfect or to be the person that you want to be. But being able to experience and grow and change, that is living.

Life is shaped by those tiny glimmering moments, when a smile creeps up your lips unexpectedly. When you feel that little flutter in your gut and that warm glow in your chest. It’s the anticipation in your beating heart before you do something exciting or nerve-wracking. Life is sitting down with a cup of tea after a long day’s work and being proud that you went out and did it. Or spending the day in bed curled up in a blanket because its your life and fuck it.

I think I spent a lot of my life changing myself to be someone I thought I wanted to be. Trying to find a sense of belonging and self-worth. Maybe it was there all along. Because I’ve never been happier. I’m working hard, doing the things I love, and soaking up the moments.

I guess I’m writing now because I’m heading into a semester full of unknowns. Things that could go fantastically or horribly wrong. I’m taking a risk and doing something that tore me apart physically and mentally years ago. I’m afraid, but I hope that this time, I’ll be able to face everything gracefully, with my head held high, just there to enjoy the moments. But who knows…

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We’re All Human

“I think one of the most universal human experiences is feeling alone. You’d never know it, but there’s most likely tons of people feeling the exact same way.”

-JD from Scrubs

This has been a rough month for me healthwise, physically and mentally. When I get stuck in one of these states, the hardest thing for me to do is be around other people because you can only fake a smile for so long. Its so hard when you feel like no one could possibly understand what you’re going through, but the truth is, as humans, we are more similar than we think. We yearn for the same elemental things: unconditional love, companionship, a sense of true self-worth. And when these things can’t be found we start looking for someone to blame, usually beginning with ourselves. In a way, I think the root of these problems is learning to forgive, no matter who you blame, and honestly, there is nothing harder than forgiveness. I’ve been winding down this path for a long time now and I’ve discovered some things about myself I never realized. It’s been very difficult to face these facts, but I try to take it day by day. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Here’s hoping we can all find our way.
Metta.

It’s Okay.

It’s okay to feel
To cry when it hurts too much
To scream when your heart feels ready to burst
Or to just sit.
Quietly.

It’s okay to take that wall down
That wall with all those holes
Even though you’re the only one that can see them
And you wish that if only you ignored them long enough
They would just magically disappear.

It’s okay if sometimes the world feels like too much
And you just can’t hold it back anymore
And you have to let go.

It’s okay.

Take your time.
Everything will still be waiting for you when you’re ready to come back
Even if it takes a day.

A week.

A month.

A year.

Your life belongs to you.
You alone define your happiness.
So don’t be afraid to love yourself.

And it’s always okay to not be okay.

Learning to Love Myself (All of Myself)

I’ve always been told that everyone has their own insecurities and that everyone thinks of themselves as imperfect in some sort of way.  But growing up, I felt for the longest time that everyone was so much more beautiful than me and I longed to have someone else’s body, any body but mine.

I was diagnosed with eczema at birth, atopic dermatitis in scientific terms, but to me, it meant itchy nights with no sleep, waking up bleeding with raw skin and oozing rashes covering my entire body. It meant that as a baby, my parents sometimes had to cover my hands when I slept so that I wouldn’t scratch. It meant that it hurt to shower and even sometimes just to move. It meant that when I finally started going to school, I tried to cover up as much of my skin as possible so that nobody else would see how ugly I was. It hurt that I had cuts in my skin that were constantly infected, but what hurt even more were the stares that I got whenever someone saw my rashes and asked questions like why I was risking infecting others with poison ivy by not covering up my skin (that’s not even how poison ivy works).

Through the years, I discovered that my true friends didn’t care what I looked like because they liked me for being me. But I still longed to be beautiful, to have perfect skin, to be able to show off my body at the beach. When the eczema finally spread to my face, as it often does, I had had it. I holed myself up in my room refusing to go out unless absolutely necessary and my anxiety reached an entirely new level (which obviously did not help my skin). Eventually, I got better with the help of a very controversial medication and believe it or not, some blessed water from a monk, along with some prayer and meditation.

Image

My lovely face eczema in recovery.

 

This was only last year, and to this day, I still check the mirror when I wake up just to make sure my rash hasn’t returned. It seems no matter how hard I try, I still have trouble overcoming the materiality of my physical appearance (no matter how shallow that sounds). I have made a few revelations following my experience at IMS. My winter break was filled with an extremely ugly period for my skin where I would wake up every two hours at night with bloody sheets and cuts in my skin. I’ll be honest, I stayed in the house mostly out of comfort because it hurt for me to move. But I had time to think that I could be so much worse off. While we were at IMS, the teachers commented that we were lucky just to be able to be there because so many people have not had the opportunity. And as I lay in bed moaning in misery, I remembered that I had a home, I had parents and friends who loved me, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a college like Williams, and I was young with a life of so many possibilities. Its true that often times I still end up feeling sorry for myself and conveying this misery on other people, but I have realized how important it is to gain some perspective, to look at the positivities in my life, since after all, brooding in misery was doing absolutely nothing for me. I can’t say that I no longer care how I look or what other people think of me. But I am starting to learn that the first step is finding the beauty in myself and learning to love who I am.