Inertia vs. Happiness
I wrote in my last entry about my recent holiday: a week of disconnecting from the world, the way I felt free and safe and okay for the first time in as long as I can remember. But also about finding the place of “home” within myself. And honestly, that seems so cliché. So obvious. Self-confidence, not caring what other people think, being totally comfortable in your own skin, being unshakable regardless of the twists and turns of life. Not being reliant on the people or situations around you to feel grounded. Totes obvs, right? Yeah, but it’s so much harder, bigger than that. It’s not just not giving a fuck and being your own person. I do that pretty well. As it turns out, it’s not quite that simple. It’s far bigger, and scarier, and wilder, and more beautiful than that.
I also talked in my last post about the advice my therapist has been giving me about boundaries, and making sure I am taking care of myself. And I pondered this a lot, really deeply. I mean, I thought I was getting better at self care. Massage, cupping, and chiropractic regularly. Taking a day off from seeing clients now and again. Saying “yes” to fewer things. Drinking plenty of water. I'm doing all those things! I’m actually getting a lot better at doing those things. I even journal and meditate and stuff! You know, self care. But it turns out what she meant was actually giving myself space to breathe. To exist. To feel (which I am notoriously not good at). To be happy.
She meant spending my days off actually resting and relaxing, not passively working, answering client emails while sitting in bed with the cat and 3 text books around me, also working on an article for a magazine, BUT WHILE WATCHING NETFLIX WITHOUT PANTS ON SO IT’S RELAXATION OKAY! I thought a lot about this, and consulted with her, and I realized that, to be honest, I haven’t been happy, in a lot of ways, for a long time. I’ve been going through a lot over the past few years, struggling with things no one will ever understand, and just allowing inertia to propel me forward endlessly and calling that “life.” And if that’s life, I’m not interested, to be quite honest with you. But when I was on holiday, walking the cobbled streets of Belgium, I was happy. Truly, honestly. And a lot of the things I struggle with on a daily basis were still present, still issues. Health stuff, mental stuff, etc. But I was happy. Not happier. Not just a holiday-high. Actually happy. And I’ve been thinking about why.
Some of it is, obviously, the holiday-high. Few responsibilities, no work schedule, doing and eating and exploring whatever I want every single day. And I was staying with someone who lights up my life, which was rad. But it was more than just being on holiday with my best friend. It was more than just a vacation. The more I’ve thought about it, talked to my therapist about it, journaled about it, the more I’ve realize I’ve just been neglecting myself. Like… I’ve been taking better care of my physical body and my mental health (holla, insurance!), but allowing myself to just keep my head down in that inertia-current without touching base with myself to make sure I’m happy, comfortable, healthy. And here I am, swept along, 31 years old, and thinking “Where on earth even am I and what am I doing? And why?”
Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of the things I’m doing. And I’m really proud of how far I’ve come, and how many hurdles I’ve overcome in the process. And I love the variety of people in my life. But that doesn’t change the whole "wait… does this make me happy?” question. Because that’s not a one-time question. That’s apparently something you have to keep checking in on. Regularly. And making small course corrections as you go instead of surfacing one day after going under years back and being tumbled by the rapids, suddenly and for the first time in ages gasping for air, realizing “FUCK I’M DROWNING!”
So I am re-evaluating everything. Doing more things that bring me actual joy and fewer things that I do out of obligation. And while some of that is brunches and farmers market outings with my girlfriend, a huge majority of that is spending time alone. Getting to know myself again. Learning about Farrah. What she wants. What her hopes and dreams are. What makes her feel alive, and what makes her soul feel like it’s dying slowly and agonizingly. I’ve kind of been dating myself while also Marie Kondo-ing myself. “Oh hey girl, tell me about your favourite food, your best travel story, your wildest aspirations, what you’re about in your heart of hearts, the part you hide away from the rest of the world because life has been hard and cruel and has taught you to lock away the most precious and tender of things. Also, does this person, place, thing, job, hobby, food, activity, life-path spark joy? Or… I mean… what are we doing here, dollface?”
It has been very weird. And I have found myself pulling back from a lot - even things and people I love - to make a little extra space for myself to breathe. It has felt weird to say no to activities, trips, gigs, friends so I can have my newly-sanctioned “me day.” And it’s been strange to say “actually I don’t feel well/up to socializing today, can we rain check?” when I’m falling apart or feel overwhelmed with life, because I have the ingrained auto-reaction of just pushing through it, against everything my body and brain are telling me, because I don’t want to disappoint people. Because you keep commitments. Because you don’t want to be thought of as flaky (so many people have walked out of my life since I became symptomatic for this very reason). But not only can you not pour from an empty cup, but also I am realizing that just being there when you are dying inside isn’t only not great for you, you’re not giving your best to the person you’re with, either. So I’m trying to do less of that. I am re-evaluating a lot of things, nay, EVERYTHING in my life, and as I do so I’ve been gaining a lot of clarity. Like… so much! And I think my life is about to take a really dramatic turn. And I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I’m excited and terrified. I’m tired of being unhappy, or even just not not happy, but also I don’t like uncertainty. I like stability. Adventure, but stability. I need it in my life! But I also need to follow my own path, not just the one I set out on almost a decade and several realtionships, diagnoses, and other life changes ago. Time to lift my head up and see where this road is going, not just where one foot is going right in front of the other. Time to get to know me, find out what and who I love, what and who I want, and learning to not be afraid of how often that who and what I love and want is me.
“We all change, when you think about it. We're all different people all through our lives. And that's OK, that's good. You gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.” - 11th Doctor, Doctor Who, Steven Moffat