I tend to be an overgrown child. I stay, mentally, very much in my teenage self. I don’t feel ashamed of that, as it is the time I understood myself most. Even when I struggled, even when everything felt awful, I knew who I was. An outsider, for sure. I have always had a handful of very close friends. People called me a social butterfly, because I never stayed to any clique. In Catholic school, I was not like most of the girls in my class. I had pictures of Marilyn Manson and James Hetfield in my locker. I have always been a tomboy, whatever that actually even means. My boyfriend at the time wore a trenchcoat and had long hair. After Columbine, he became the target of a lot of bullshit from our classmates.
These things never bothered me, except to wish that people would just accept me as me. People’s treatment of my boyfriend made me love him more. It made me want to protect him more. When we started dating, he was covered in acne and teased mercilessly. I saw none of that. I saw a drummer with more talent than I could fathom. I saw a huge, beautiful heart. He made me laugh, and he treated me like a Goddess. I remember he bought me a claddagh, because I was heartbroken that I had lost the one my grandmother had given me. We did fight a lot, because fighting is my second nature. I am bossy and, admittedly, I am controlling. It’s something I am trying to get away from, as I’ve realized how silly the concept of control actually is.
When he got expelled, we grew apart. I found myself lost without him, in many ways. Together, we had made sense. He helped me deepen my love for music, and I seemed to give him a compass. His talent in drumming had grown exponentially, but we were both struggling with how to be in a relationship. This is to be expected; it’s high school. However, thinking about it, all relationships were tumultuous. My best friend – my very heart – and I were fighting a lot. All of us were dabbling in drugs to varying degrees.
All of this was happening, as I attempted to create my sense of self. I wore the huge JNCO jeans, band shirts, black lipstick, and a dog collar. My favorite movies were Austin Powers and Interview with the Vampire. I was constantly talking about music and carrying around massive novels – Stephen King, Anne Rice, and John Grisham have always been my favorites. Sitting here now, I have to laugh at myself to see how little, internally has changed. I am in Pillsbury Doughboy pajama pants and a Pink Floyd tshirt. The words “arrested development” come to mind, except that is not entirely true.
Acceptance feels more appropriate. There is something I have always loved about myself – I always strive to see the good in people. I focus on the good in people, no matter what. The problem is, more often than not, I refuse to see or acknowledge that in myself. I also refuse to acknowledge the bad. Alternatively, I will focus on only one or the other, creating an illusion.
Lately, I’ve been feeling lost and confused. Broken compass, man down, ship out to sea. At the same time, I’ve felt progress. It’s embarrassing to admit the simple things I currently have to remind myself to do – be mindful, be grateful, be humble, be honest. In that, I am stuck in webs of self doubt, confusion, and negativity. This maelstrom I’ve created in my mind makes chaos. How could I possibly be happiness in this chaos? How could I request anything of anyone, when I am unsure of who, what, where, when, or why?
This also creates a very ambivalent, apathetic state of being. Apathy/indifference are the exact opposites of love. When I think of the Yin Yang, I see the darkness in light and light in darkness. It is perfect balance and understanding. It is what I am lacking right now, because I am too busy fixing everything at once. No focus, no purpose. Why do I do the things I do?
Love is the only truth I understand, even if I do not understand it well. I cannot be, give, or request love when apathy consumes me. When I see my children, I see love. I give them love, and I know that I am a loving mother. I also know that I struggle with consistency in everything. When I look at past boyfriends/husband/etc. I see love, even if it changed. I have always loved the idea of applying science to metaphysics. To me, love is energy, which means it cannot be destroyed. If I love someone, that love will never go away. It can change form, it can diminish, but the very energy of love will never dissipate. I find it difficult, though, to truly be a loving person when my focus remains on yesterday and every day before.
This locus of control causes me to struggle with self care and self love. Why do I struggle with loving others genuinely, openly and honestly?
Fear is another universal understanding to me, because it is how I operate. I am afraid of this, that, and the other thing. I am afraid of mistakes. I am afraid of hurting myself. I am afraid of hurting others. I am afraid of being myself. Every time I feel that I speak from my heart, doubt and worry consume me. “Should I have said that? Should I have done that?” “What If…?”
I hate if. If drives me insane. Except, if opens a lot of possibilities, too. If is the foundation of hypothesis, and hypotheses change the world. If Louis Pasteur hadn’t wondered what would happen with a vaccine, if Martin Luther King hadn’t fought for equal rights, if Galileo hadn’t searched the stars…
Duality is the world I allow myself to suffer under. Two sides to every coin. My thoughts march ceaselessly around this or that. I read that to focus on good or evil is to embrace madness. That nothing is completely good nor evil, it just is. That to embrace one side is to leave you unfulfilled, confused, lost, insane. The Yin Yang was the image I always drew, and it is how I understand everything. I want to come back to where I began – admittedly, I am a child in the world of my spirituality, much like I am a child in my own mind. I am the very essence of my teenage self – shaved hair and all. I am tattooed the way I had always wanted to be. I am hugely imperfect, I am hugely flawed, and to me, that is the most beautiful thing about me. My cracks, my imperfections, my flaws are the very things that make me human, and the very things that teach me how to live. The days I’ve spent sobbing, lost, confused make the days I can smile genuinely that much more radiant and beautiful.
To me, this is so immature and not profound at all, yet in every way, it feels so good to embrace this peace. To me, doing my best, is just that. I say the things that are my best at that time. I am working to actually try to speak less and hear more. I am working to try to give love in my thoughts and words. I attempt to be fair and balanced in my interactions, and I try to always think outside the box and in the other person’s shoes. It’s one benefit, I think, of lacking good boundaries, even if it makes it harder for me to fully maintain my sense of self.