I submitted an essay for a contest last week. I received a sorry-but-no email today. It would have been nice to move into the next round, but I'm not heart-broken over it. C'est la vie.
I don't know if you can fully appreciate how monumental that meh, should-shrugging, no-big-whoop reaction is for me. Apparently, I truly have become a perfectionist-in-remission. YIPEE!? Yahoo. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ow-ow. Woohoo!
Because we have just cleared the one-year mark since Demystify came into being, I thought publishing the essay would be a nice trip down memory lane with some new personal revelations as well as hopes + dreams for the future. Note: 1/15/2011 is Demystify's official b-day, I realize the first post wasn't published here until 2/17. Thanks in advance, fact-checkers:P
I metaphorically give Demystify's cheekies a good pinch + one more to grow on today. So glad to have been able to share this journey with all you precious-to-me readers. Many thanks for all the good times! Here's to many, many more. Cheers.
Without further ado... enjoy the following selection from my crazy, wild life:)
How do you live life on your own terms?
For the first 28+ years of my life, I desperately tried to:
color within the lines… play by the rules… be nice… be quiet… be a good girl… sit still… do what I was told… go to school… do my homework… don't ask dumb questions… stay out of trouble… don't fight… don’t do drugs… don’t drink… don’t be promiscuous… get a job… go to college… work PT/FT through college… be proactive… get good grades… get an internship… get a good job… stay late… work my ass off… just be thankful I have a job… chase the American Dream… don't complain… don't ask dumb questions… don’t get sick… don’t let anyone down…In short, I tried to live life on someone else’s terms… on everyone else’s terms, actually.
Attempting to tame the untamed
As a means of survival, I tried to conform to any + every system outside of me. What I did not realize: conforming was in direct conflict with my inner-self. Naively unaware, I was defiantly walking the path to much bigger trouble by conforming.
Unfortunately or fortunately, sadly or thankfully (it all depends on how you look at it… I view both as the latter), I discovered the stark reality over the years: I have a free spirit deep within that’s calling the shots.
That wild child can only be contained, caged, squelched or force-fitted into being something-it-is-not for very short spans of time.
Viva la revolución
My spirit’s rebellion to the life I was trying to live on everybody else's terms manifested itself in depression. It was the last ditch attempt of my inner-self to get me to let go of the old ways + the old things to which I had become so accustomed.
Through my depressions, those harmful-to-me things + ways were torn from my tiny, death-gripped hands while I kicked + screamed in protest the whole way down into the abyss, over + over again.
Those depressions were:
- hell to descend into…
- hell to walk through…
- hell to live in for four months at a time every four months like clockwork for the last six years since graduating college…
- hell to claw back out of when I painfully rejoined society after four months of being off the grid, holed away in my apartment on the couch for hours/days/weeks…
- hell to pick up the charred pieces of what once was…
- hell to rebuild my life from the meager fiery ashes that remained after each implosion.
Sweet revelation, sweet surrender
In spite of the hell, I view my depressions with bittersweet appreciation. Through all of those episodes, I’ve broken free of every mold that has ever tried to contain me.
I’ve never been lighter, happier or freer.
Though, I’m a little stubborn by nature…
The downside of such thick-headed determination: it took 13 episodes of depression in the last 13 years since age 16 for me to get the you-cannot-live-by-someone-else’s-terms message loud + clear. It took a little longer for me to fully embrace it + to begin running with it.
I now live in a way that is true to my nature…
Challenging assumptions + living life uninhibited
For the last year, I’ve picked apart a lot of the limiting messages that bind, all the harmful assumptions I simply assumed to be true, through this blog.
First + foremost, I write to understand myself better + to document my revelations so that I can revisit + relearn their truths when I stumble into the abyss again, trying again to conform. Old habits die hard.
In the process of learning about me + learning to embrace me, I’ve learned to let go of many seemingly important, I-can’t-live-without things:
- an unhealthy-for-me career,
- unhealthy-for-me friends,
- an unhealthy-for-me lifestyle,
- unhealthy-for-me habits and
- unhealthy-for-me thought processes.
Accepting the unacceptable
Many of those unhealthy things were not innately evil, but for me they were poison.
And, that’s okay.
And, everybody else is going to have to be okay with it, too, or get used to it… I’m not budging or sacrificing me anymore. *Stamps foot, shakes fist, nods head* :}
Over the last year, I’ve become more assertive, more confident + more steadfast in my interactions with others, but I’ve also become more compassionate, more forgiving + more accepting of myself. Win!
Purpose to the madness
Secondly, I write to help others challenge their own assumptions + the assumptions bestowed upon them by family, community + society that are simply untrue, unhealthy + undervaluing.
I believe another purpose of having suffered through such hell + making such personal revelations is to help others make similar self-discoveries. Perhaps that is the point or purpose of life: to pass on what you have learned to help another fighting the same fight.
We’re all humans after all. We’re all trying to figure out how to live life on our own terms.
It’s been a tumultuous journey thus far as I turn 30 to discover, accept + embrace who I am, what I’m all about + what I have to offer to the world. If I can be some sort of guide for someone else to do the same, then it has all been worthwhile.
Who knows where this ship will take me, but I’m now better equipped + more ready to enjoy the ride… on my own terms.