So, my life has been eventful to say the least. I was born to parents who were emotionally unequipped for the challenges of parenthood; I spent a lot of time alone, depressed, and confused; and now as a wife and mother I’m trying to figure out who I am and what my purpose is in this world. And you know what? I am absolutely not unique. I am exactly the same as billions who have come before me and the billions who will come after me. There’s nothing special about my individual story except that it is mine and no will ever live one exactly like it ever again.
The point is, I DID live it, and through all of the trauma, tears, violence, and fear, I learned things. I promised myself at 14 in a deep, depressive state that I wouldn’t forget what it felt like to be a scared, lonely teenager. If I can use my pain to help guide other who have faced similar struggles, than maybe in some fucked-up, twisted way, it was all worth it.
So, with that in mind, here are some questions that I ponder when I find myself stressing out and just generally not feeling very zen:
1) DOES THIS MAKE ME HAPPY?
Not “is it ‘supposed’ to make me happy” either. Some people need a perfectly trimmed lawn and a house that looks like it came out of a home decor magazine to be happy, but that’s just not me. My house is usually messy and the furniture doesn’t match. I painted my living room bright green because I wanted to, and the lawn gets mowed when my husband has time, dammit, but we have LIVES that are more important than some damned societal norms that, frankly, are bad for the grass. What makes me happy is spending time with my wild hooligans, listening to my loud ass gangster rap, and just being the weird, outspoken person that I am. I’m openly geek. I love things. Like, LOVE them. And a lot of things. Too many nerdy things to try to list. If it’s nerdy, I love it, and I don’t try to hide it. My whole house is decked out in geek swag. It’s just who I am, and I don’t worry about what other people think about it. I have no energy for that. I just don’t. It is when the outside world is pressuring me to be “normal” and do things their way that I struggle, so I just don’t worry about it. I do things my way. If I had extra fucks to waste, I promise none of them would ever go towards worrying what the neighbor thinks about my grass or the volume of my music.
Societal norms exist for a reason. Sometimes they are to protect people from themselves, or each other, or to keep the peace, whatever. But most traditions, a lot of rules, and even some laws are fucking stupid. They just are. Now, I’m not an anarchist, I do acknowledge that some system of government is necessary in a civilized society. I just feel like our current society has its priorities all sorts of fucked up in so many different directions that I couldn’t even begin to succinctly un-fuck them by myself.
Suffice it to say, I still vote and am actually very politically active but I keep to myself and do my own thing. I’d love to be the PTA soccer mom who shows up with cookies and pleases everyone, but I’m not her. If I showed up, it would be with blunts and I would diagnose everyone. I appeal to a very niche audience, basically, so I stay home, where no one judges me but me and I know I like me!!
2)WHAT AM I FEELING?
Not “am I hungry?” or cold or tired, either. What am I feeling emotionally? The only person who can get in my head and read my feelings is me. If my husband said something that upset me, it’s on me to let him know how it made me feel because, even though theoretically he SHOULD know how it would make me feel, the only person responsible for my emotions is me.
More important than short-term upsets, it’s up to me to do the long-term work of unpacking the baggage that clutters the dark, metaphorical hallways of my brain. I have plenty of it, and I never know when I might trip over a stray bit so it’s important that I make sure to keep it all picked up and put away to protect me from myself. There’s monsters in there, I can’t be leaving obstacles laying around in my way.
Everyone should spend some time in their life doing that. Tidying up, mentally processing all of the bullshit that you’ve been through in life. Making the conscious choice to not let your mind stay so fucking messy. Which brings me to the final question:
3) WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?
My purpose is now what it has always been: to help people with THEIR baggage. To help them see that their problems aren’t quite as impossible as they may appear, that they’re actually quite common, that you aren’t “bad” or “evil” for having a problem or a troubled past, and that you’re absolutely still a human worthy of love, no matter what you’ve been through. Life is hard enough as it is, I just want to be someone who brings people together, who helps them to understand themselves so they can reach their full potential…..
It’s just really hard to do that when you’re no one and have no resources or actual credibility…….