I was brimming with envy of a version of myself that was no more.
Before the anti-depressants
Before life "hardened me"
Before this, before that
I clung to the vision of parts of myself from who I was in the past as if it's who I should want to be like again in the future.
There was a time I struggled between the desire to live and the desire to not exist. Anti-depressants gave me a sense of balance that numbed me. I no longer wanted to leave this world but I wasn't exactly overflowing with joy either.
I was just...here...breathing...operating as a human being should.
But at least I didn't want to die so that's...good?
Is this what feeling good is like?
Now, this post isn't about medication or my entire journey with depression. It's about the creativity I thought was stolen from me by pharmaceuticals, self-victimization, social media douchebag inspo-porn, and my inability to treat my experience of life with compassion.
I know. It sounds insane...perhaps stupid? But all I know is what I personally experienced. But I felt like the moment my pills kicked in my creative brain shut down.
Ideas would flow from me like an overflowing second or third glass of wine poured by a clumsily tipsy person at a party. But then my cup was dry.
So I waited
And I waited.
I waited some more.
I screamed on the inside
I forced myself to go from nothing to overflowing with ideas.
Seeds of judgment were planted by me, myself, and I.
The impatience I had for myself showed a lack of empathy for myself that only years later I can truly comprehend.
I'm human. I have shit I have to deal with. We all have problems but our shiny screens show us the upside, the highlights, the things we missed out on—but no...this is motivation right?
I must strive to do better.
push, push, PUSH!
There was no pause button.
Only forward or fast forward.
I had an experience (and believe me I feel sooo cheesy saying this). I'm not the spiritual or religious type.
But there I was seeing fractals on my couch's fabric, my venus fly trap plant wiggled it's "hips" with the vibration of my voice, and suddenly..I'm overcome with an unbearable emotional heaviness.
It was entirely...irrational?
What was the heaviness?
Wasn't this supposed to be a fun trip?
Why'd shit get real?
In my mind, I saw myself as a child on my couch. Hurt, broken, afraid...of myself and the judgments I cast on myself and the problems I've left unresolved.
Three-year-old me wept, 29-year-old me wept.
Yet still, I held back the tears because push, push, PUSH! Be stronger, better, don't let your emotions get in the way...right?
Social media douchebags with inspo-porn where u at?
It was just me and little me. Why was she so wounded?
Honestly, there's still so much to unpack but I caught on to two key themes in my little me's pain:
- Pain is weakness: I wasn't allowing myself to feel the full spectrum of my emotions because I'm scared of them making me be viewed as weak, especially by men in positions of power and by myself.
To be clear, most of this was all in my head and nobody ever shamed me for my emotions. It was all me against me.
- Forced Artificial Progression: I was not allowing myself to fully process where I'm at and what I need now and instead forcing myself to be in a place I may not be yet (I struggled to put this into words). In short, I had no patience for the ebb and flow of my being in different chapters of my life and just wanted to move on with things.
I'm not sure how to be perfect but that's not my goal.
Our world is so fast-paced, superficial, and capitalistic that we forget to enjoy things for the sake of pleasure, giving back with zero desire to receive in return, and to see ourselves with the level of understanding we often grant to others yet never our own inner child.
Poisonous inner dialogue
It all conditions us to be less of a human and more like a robot who's always moving forward with a clear purpose.
But life isn't always clear and that's not a bad thing.
Have you heard of wabi-sabi? In short, it's a view where we accept transition and imperfection and its beauty.
I learned about it from my high school art teacher but had somehow forgotten it and then remembered it all over again.
We're so obsessed with a chart showing a line that trends upwards indicating progression. The progression is measured by hours put in, how ROI positive you are, status, blah blah blah fucking blah....
I forgot who I am at my core...myself.
I stopped meeting myself where I was at and pressured myself to be like someone I'm not. In an effort to appear strong I weakened myself by repressing my emotions and making no time for pleasure and vulnerable moments of introspection.
And when I did play and explore I judged myself against how my creativity measured up against someone else or younger me.
Maybe it's cliche but it really is you VS you.
But I see now that can also at times be toxic because you can cling to a chapter that's old and needs the page turned.
I think oftentimes the world...or maybe the entire American education system...conditions us to not be self-aware, be afraid of mistakes, be afraid, stay in line.
And so we lose ourselves and who we could've been.
And somewhere down the line, I forgot it's okay if I make mistakes, get confused, and don't know where to turn. Because even when I can't find all my pieces I somehow always come back to myself...different...
yet still me.