I feel like I’m constantly sabotaging myself. In small ways. In big ways. In ways that I am not even aware of until it has eroded my confidence, psyche, energy.
I want so badly to fulfill my dreams that it sometimes seems easier if I’m the one who causes them ruin. It seems more likely that I would be the one to let myself down so I do.
In small ways. In big ways. In ways that I am now all too aware of.
This looks like so many things. Spending outside of my budget, not sending in my manuscript, staying in bed too late. Asking the world for days to make art just to find myself cleaning my apartment when I am gifted with them. Making up excuses for each and every one of these instances. Finding myself more lost than ever while on the outside my life looks like I’m getting everything I ask for, yet on the inside I feel more confused the more I achieve. I feel more far away the better things seem.
Is it me distancing myself from my accomplishments? Is my inner self so used to waiting for the shoe to drop that I can’t relax until I cut the laces? I have watched myself succeed; I have watched as I haul myself to the new heights that every venture has brought me too. I have watched myself try to bury myself under these successes.
You know that feeling when you know something is bad for you, and you do it anyway just to keep proving it is bad for you? Whether it be fiending for social media likes, smoking too much weed, eating gluten, not calling your friends back… I feel like that’s where I’m at.
Today was one of those days that after so many major successes I felt myself falling into the grips of old vices that I know make me feel terrible about myself. That make me doubt myself. That do not put good energy out into the world. Doing things that make me feel worthless and disrespected and only valued in certain ways.
I hurt my ankle a couple of days ago and took the day off to rest it so that I can go back to my life and activities sooner rather than later. I still got out of bed early. I made breakfast and coffee. I put in the final notes for the final edits on an EP I’m releasing with my next book. I put in a couple of hours of work on a digital piece for a friend. I hopped off this solid bandwagon around 1PM to go validate my existence in some dark hole of the internet.
I’m broke because I made the decision to pay 2 rents and a safety deposit this month so I could save my sanity. And although I’m physically in a healthier environment which makes a huge difference over all, I feel still like I regressed because having 8$ in my bank account doesn’t make me feel as if I’ve done all the work I have. It makes me feel irresponsible and a little bit crazy and kind of desperate. It makes me feel like I have no energy and that I have to rely on other people to take care of myself and that I can’t be the person or the friend that I want to be because I don’t have the funds available to live life or really even feel safe going out and doing things because there is always that “what if” in the back of my mind making its insidious way.
I checked out all the weird shit on craigslist and kijiji. I considered selling my soul and other parts of myself. I thought about all the people that owe me money and my frustration that my books are coming 2 weeks later than I had anticipated because of a shipping fuck up – a fuck up that actually leaves me with 100 more books than I originally ordered at no cost to me and in an ideal place. But they are not here where I want them to be, they are not here to make me money. I am not at work making money. I am at home feeling bad for myself and looping into places of anxiety and wondering how the fuck I am going to make it as an artist and how the hell do people do this and where am I fucking going with my life?
I knew as soon as I woke up that I wasn’t in a good head space. I knew I would feel this way last night when I had exactly 2 drinks with my best friends as we all cried tears of happiness over our own successes. I knew when I moved that it wasn’t going to be an easy transition of productivity and miraculous skill development. There is always a period of transformation and every time I forget how goddamn painful it is. I knew it was just a part of the process as I sobbed harder than I have in months in my shower. But the knowing, the recognizing doesn’t alleviate the challenges. It just sheds some light on what I have done, what I don’t do (some of it good, some of it not so good), and helps me get my shit together about putting my focus where it is really important.
Why Am I So Fucking Scared?
Great question! Maybe because the higher I climb the further I have to fall? Because I am still – always – in the process of helping myself think healthier thoughts and make better choices. Because when you are trying to parent yourself in life and teach yourself the things that you suddenly realize no-one else taught you that you become accountable for what exactly it is you choose to do.
Maybe because it is easier to be scared. It is easy to call my mom and make up some story about what hurt me. It is easy to tell my father that I need money for groceries and not be judged. It is easy to do things that validate my initial feelings even when I don’t want to be feeling them. It is easy to feel like I am a mooch or not responsible or like I do not deserve support. It is so fucking easy to create boundaries about what “deserve” means and to quantify my efforts in a way that downplays all the work I do, or that puts my ego on a pedestal.
I am so fucking scared because sometimes fear feels like a more familiar motivator than faith. Because believing in yourself means speaking up for yourself and having to own your words when someone challenges you. Because we are told that being scared and broke and unsuccessful are the easiest ways to get through life as we watch so many people around us believe that.
A Healthy Dose of Ego
It is hard to keep the ego in check. Is is getting too big? Is it too small and unable to support me? What does it need? Am I giving it real nourishment or just filling it up?
After my panic subsided I did what I do best – asked myself the (sometimes) tough (but always necessary) questions:
Who am I surrounded by? Do they reflect who I want to be? Am I inspired by them?
Have I taken care of myself? Have I eaten? Am I wearing comfortable clothes? Is my space in order?
Objectively and realistically, what have I done to be proud of? What have I accomplished this last year? Are my current feelings a true reflection of my circumstances?
Is what I am spending my time doing helping me learn or grow? Can I be kind and understanding of my feelings, circumstances, and recognize what I have done?
I find in these moments it is hard to gain sight on reality. I get stuck in the subjectivity of my own mind, expectations, and emotions. I have to reel myself down from my own pedestal and understand that a slow, steady build makes me feel safer than a shaky balance beam to gain a perspective I’m not even grateful for.
At the end of the day, I am working towards being grateful for what I do have – including the ability to question myself, be able to take a step back, be able to recognize that a year ago this was a day that would have sent me into a complete panic. That today I was able to find release as well as productivity, understanding, forgiveness. It is 5PM and I have been writing this over the course of 4 hours. When I started I was questioning if I was ever going to succeed. I am finishing knowing that I already have.