The Itching, The Cringing, and The Fear
It's so fascinating to me how much we fight being ourselves.
I don't mean the parts we aren't too fond of, like being messy or lazy or having the wrong hair. I mean the real parts of us, the true energy inside that thirsts for adventure and passion, and wants desperately to have their story heard.
We ignore this enchanted creature, the ambitious side of our being. We spend so much of our time trying to live up to expectations of who we are supposed to be, but when we actually discover our true greatness, we cower from it.
We are taught that loving ourselves is selfish, and that being selfish is a terrible thing to be.
We are afraid of our own blinding white lights, afraid of our own pure selves.
We are terrified of taking up too much space.
We all want to feel worthy, but what stops us isn't the opinions of others, or obstacles we can't possibly overcome. I think what keeps us from accomplishing our boldest dreams is our neglect of grand opportunities.
Maybe the reason here is different for everyone. As I begin to expose this component of my own negative thought patterns, a slew of colossal questions have come to the surface...
If I can really be anything, who do I want to be?
Who could I become if I never let fear stop me?
Why am I so petrified of succeeding?
That last one always grinds my gears. Who the hell wouldn't want to be successful at the goals they reach for?! Who wouldn't want to live up to their absolute fullest potential until they are bursting with triumph and happiness?
It makes me sick to think I keep wasting so much of my time playing this back-and-forth game. Do I stay comfortable in this cozy life where I have everything everyone ever wanted? Or do I throw my hands in the air, admit that I am different, and accept that I need the rush of more audacious experiences in my life?
My skin is crawling just thinking about all I could have accomplished by now if I would just make up my mind, if I would just learn to hear what my heart is surely screaming to me.
I try to stay positive, remembering that I am at least working on figuring myself out so young. But the more disgusting news I hear about the world, and the more awe-inspiring aspects I discover about myself, the more time I feel I've wasted not living up to all the ideas I dream about.
I realize I sound hard on myself. I honestly don't know how anyone sorts themselves out at all without writing or communicating in some way, because hearing these things out loud, watching myself actually berate my learning process for being "too slow" or "too late," shows me where my love could grow.
Taking it a step further, I can recognize that despite hearing the harshness of these words, and despite feeling myself reacting single-mindedly, I still stubbornly believe it all, and this shows me how far I've let myself drown in strict expectations. If I am not trying to achieve something, then I have no clue what the hell I am supposed to be doing.
But slowly I am learning to let this catch up with me. I am trying to let myself sleep more when I need to, and trying to remind myself that it's okay to spend a night at home relaxing my brain instead of taking on more work. I am still lousy at all of this, but I'm relieved that I can recognize where I want to gain more space.
It's a constant battle reminding myself that rest is something I need just as much as forward motion. Drawing the line between lazy and resting is tricky though. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that sometimes I've gotten too careless about my responsibilities and curled up with Netflix and my cat for much longer than intended. Add in the weeks or months where I am unable to find a good enough reason to leave my bed, and I become reluctant to let myself ease up at all, worried that I might fall back into darkness and pity.
Somewhere in this search to balance productivity and stillness, the big dreams are hiding among the river of smaller feats I don't know how to live up to. Impostor syndrome, as wiki calls this inability to internalize accomplishments. Attempting to believe that I am worthy of traveling the most culturally diverse corners of the world, and that I will somehow survive it solo, seems almost laughable to me.
So I figure, the only solution is to do it anyway. All of those inspirational phrases that push you to leap for the destinations that scare you grasp at my heart with full, strong fists. I want to be the one that overcomes an impossible heap of shit. I want to prove everyone wrong that tells me that that life is too big for me. Most of all, I want to prove myself wrong.
When my ego steps in to convince me that I'm not intelligent enough to travel alone, or not quick enough to fight off danger, or not brave enough to take on experiences so new and HUGE, I want to be able to tell it to fuck the fuck off. Without at least trying, I will continue to thoroughly suffocate.
Every week, especially the past few, it's been tougher and tougher to sit with myself at this laptop and prepare to spill my unprocessed guts. But I don't fear exposing myself to you much anymore, because now I know where terror truly comes from. Now I know where to turn when the truth seems too hard to write and the world feels too huge to face.