What would I say I’ve learned thus far? Well I can’t say that I’ve learned anything particularly helpful when I take an actual look at my current standing in life. If you’re looking for a fruit bearing tree, I’d suggest you leave this orchard; for these trees seem to be pretty fucking ornamental at the moment. I’m in this netherworld where I feel that my only cause for carrying on is to serve as a big fucking no-no for up and coming generations. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t see this in those fantasies I used to have about the future.
I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time carrying around a little extra pudge because I can’t seem to convince myself of a good enough reason to stop. How lousy is that! I wish there were a reason, but I really don’t have one. I’ve experimented with enough information on the subject to know what genuinely works for me. I’ve fucked around in my mind enough to identify the barriers; I’ve even broken through the barriers before! Yet, I’m holding on to a reason to preach self acceptance to myself. I’m all for self love, but I’ve thus far used it as a cop out.
All of that aside, I’ll give a quick look into what my life has been so far. I made my way into the world by way of tied tubes. While I’d like to take some credit for this, I have to chalk it up to… well, not me. There were already four kids with stakes in this pre-established family, so I feel like I was an “Oh shit, what’s that? I don’t know, but put a Velcro strip on it and attach it to the back.” addition. I guess I would liken my arrival to that unnecessary part your diy IKEA bookshelf. I wasn’t necessarily made to feel that way by the lovely woman who gave birth to me, but there were more than enough things to internalize as just that message. My parents divorced when I was three years old and too young to care. After a while, I began receiving certain types of abuse from a couple of people who were close to me (the particulars are between my therapist and I). Having your nonexistent self esteem shattered is always great when trying to figure out the world around you, right? Hopefully you learn something from it. I had big dreams but drowned them in fear, anxiety, depression, and no structure or discipline. Do you know what that made me? Fucking amazing at sleep. I, much like many of my peer age group, could’ve been an Olympian of sleep. I’ll tell you later how far that will take you in life. I did cultivate a love of reading, but I’d later develop an inability to concentrate long enough to finish most books. I CAN sit through hours of TV in order to avoid life. I’ve mastered that! Over the course of my life (just like most every being on the planet) I’ve been introduced to new friends and family, and I’ve watched them leave, fall apart, or both. I’ve essentially watched my own family crumble, and I’ve broken down completely. I’ve lived out of a car that wasn’t my own, while holding down a full time job. I’ve obviously been shitty with money, horrible at time utilization, dealing with depression, suspicious that I may be bipolar (mostly depressive), learned to place suicide above other viable means of coping, and I’ve managed to acquire a professional life and love life that I don’t want. Okay I don’t have a love life, but the men who’ve come my way are not what I’d have put myself through if I’d been a healthy and well rounded individual. I’ve managed to keep all of my dreams in my head as things I’m “working toward”, and all I have to show for it is passionate conversation about what I’ll do when I get there. Twenty-eight years, and would I say that I’m happy? Absolutely not. I love the wonderful people in my life, but I can’t say that I’m terribly pleased with what I’ve made out of my existence. I’m quite the failure; that’s more factual than anything.
I used to dream of being a dancer, actor, writer, counselor, nutritionist, neuroscientist, fitness trainer, fitness model, singer, philanthropist, genius, super bad ass, and all around amazing woman. I was going to be brilliant by this age (that I’d honestly never considered turning). Let us look at what I’ve done so far to achieve any of that:
-I’ve taken a baby’s handful of acting classes.
-I’ve taken/quit numerous dance classes.
-I’ve stationed myself in close proximity to the fitness nutrition industry, by way of the two paying jobs that I’ve had.
-I’ve taken a psych class or two; and I dropped out of a psych program.
-I’ve had ONE photo shoot, and that was by accident. I looked like shit.
-I still read and watch educational shit, and that makes me a fraction of a fraction of a genius… right?
-I’ve had a fiction writing class. I still couldn’t get the grammar thing pinned down.
-I’ve taken a couple of film courses.
-I recently gave a woman some money, and then offered her my sun visor.
-I’m pretty sure that my certifiable ownership of an expired Groupon for a Krav Maga lesson (or two), makes me super bad ass adjacent.
As you can see, I’ve spent most of my precious time developing my ability to play in proverbial revolving doors. I’m also great at this one thing I do where I am a twenty-eight year old/nine year old. I don’t have my own home, I don’t have my own car, my credit is shit, I don’t have a real grocery budget, nor a place to put those groceries. I am nowhere in life. I’ve cultivated such a habit of getting nowhere, that when I am too close to somewhere, my physical body will conspire to get itself back to what it knows. I’ve had panic attacks and depression take me off of work. All of those classes that I didn’t finish? Anxiety and its very real and physical effects! My mental health issues paired with my penchant for doing nothing were a recipe for self sabotage.
I still know how I felt through all those years, but as the woman who has taken ownership of this life, I’m disappointed at all of the ornamental trees in my fucking fruit orchard. What I’ve taught myself by being frivolous with the first twenty-seven years of my life is: Plant fruit bearing trees if you want them to bear fruit! Everything that you do right NOW will have an immense impact on who you are even a month from today. If there is something you want to do, do it. Take it out of your head. There will be a life that you live outside of your head, so you’d better take that one that you like to visit so much and make it as real as possible. Shit will get rough! When it does you can tell those rough patches to go fuck themselves with an umbrella, by immediately gleaning invaluable lessons from them. If you’re anything like me you will want reasons for everything. You’ll want to know why this person doesn’t like you, or why anything is anything. You won’t always know those reasons and half of them don’t even matter. The important thing is that you don’t spin your wheels trying to find a reason, when you could be moving on with your life. Use intuition, facts, and common sense to determine whether or not you’re willing to wait for a reason for anything. Will a reason give you positive movement? That’s what you need to know in order to determine what matters to you.
Not every thought is worth entertaining. Some thoughts are absolute shit words just floating on through. If the truly useful thoughts are accompanied by the useless ones, grab hold of the ones that will make the healthy difference in your life. Abandon stress! You can use the onset of stress as a sort of alert that lets you know that some changes need to be made. Once you’ve figured that out, flip stress the bird. Stress will only turn into a chronic problem on top of the thing that caused it in the first place. Dwelling in such a place can cripple your ability to come to any resolve at all. Deal with the problem and do away with the stress through meditation, introspection, exercise, Netflix, or whatever your preferred non-life destroying poison.
Feel! Pursue a life worth feeling about. What if some of us become numb to emotion because we’ve an intrinsic knowing that we’re not living lives worth the spectrum of human emotion? I’m absolutely addicted to these magnificent things called emotions! I want to spend this wonderfully broad spectrum of feels on things that are as awe-inspiring as the little buggers themselves.
Be free, be spirited, but don’t be wasteful. Every resource that you’re born with is precious to you. You’re born with as much time as you will have and no idea how much that is. Use it in a way that you will love. Make your time here relevant to you.
I suppose that if I were to sum all of this shit up, I’d say: Life has existed since long before you, and will likely continue long after you are gone. Life is not a thing that exists for you. Since you have shown up, you do have a place. Your place doesn’t entitle you to anything other than the choice of what you want out of your existence. Whatever those choices are will require effort, because you never arrive at a place without using the necessary means to get there. You wouldn’t expect a parked car to get you from Texas to Mexico. We’re all born without much say on our existence, but we all reach an age of individual responsibility. With that responsibility comes the pivotal moment of choosing what it is that you want to do with your own existence. We can use the old “…easier said than done.”, but it’s much more difficult to face yourself and realize that the easiest things to do made you into a person that you don’t want to be. You may as well do those things that are easy to say and hard to do. One of the best things that you can do for yourself and everyone else is to consciously exist. Individual responsibility strips away excuses and comfort zones, but it allows you to take the active role in making your life a better one. Give a nod to those old ornamental trees for all that they did do, but plant some damned fruit bearing trees in your orchard, for crying out loud. Exist consciously and get on with it.
It is my hope that some kindred soul might find something useful in all of this. I wish that my fourteen through twenty-six year old self would’ve known the life that she was setting us up for. If I know her at all, I believe that she would have done things a little differently given the information that I now have. I think that I can still pull this whole “life” thing off, so all of my dreams are very much intact. I’ll have to make some adjustments, but I choose to believe that it’s all worthwhile. I want you to believe the same for yourself no matter your age. It isn’t over until you cease to exist. Good luck to us all!