“Deep patterned thoughts, hereditary traits
I’d rather not stay up too late again
But its in my blood to overcommit or to stop before I even begin
So you can take this with you – an admission of my faults
As a poem or a prologue, a rhetorical remark. “
-Two Ships, Prawn
I am getting the jist of it, this thing they call “self-love”. Sometime around Grade 11, I found myself disgruntled with just about everything. At the time I thought it was just suburbia and its boring old antics proving unsatisfactory due to constant recycling but looking back, I find that it was a lack of grounding that only self-love can give you.
What fucked me up the most was thinking I didn’t deserve the label of depressed. I grudgingly rejected the existence of the crummy feelings until they spilled over and I had an ugly meltdown. After all, I was a privileged little shit with a roof over her head and a warm dinner every night. What did I have to be sad about?
For me, depression waned away on its own when I stopped glaring at it for living in my chest without permission. When I let myself be sad instead of refusing to acknowledge its existence. Having housed the pest for months on end, I had become oblivious to it. I realized it had packed its bags and left on an odd summer day when I noticed I was laughing at cat videos again. It was that simple.
But in retrospect, I wouldn’t be where I am right now without going through depression.
“When you become indifferent, resilience happens, growth happens. You find purpose, you become wiser. Dig deep into pain and you will find understanding and you will find insight.”
Things began changing around September 2015. Though I was no longer depressed, I had an array of bad habits that were deterring me- procrastination, self-loathing, and avoidance of communication. I let them get the best of me quickly and if it wasn’t for a special someone I met, I probably would still be feeling quite hopeless and empty.
Don’t get me wrong; It’s not that this special someone’s love filled all my empty voids but rather it made me realize a few things. You have to work on yourself in order for your relationships, whether romantic or platonic, to thrive. People cannot complete each other. In those quiet moments at 3a.m. when you’re staring at the ceiling and listening to post rock through your headphones, contemplating the universe, you have to be content with who you are. You have to be okay being alone.
Being in a healthy, blossoming relationship doesn’t entail you sacrificing yourself. The minute you stop focusing on you and being the best person you can be in favor to please others, you lose who you are. You are most compatible with your fellow human beings when you cultivate your own happiness and compassion, when you stop looking for such integral things in other people. The moral of the story is that you are yours before you are anyone else’s and with this truism in mind, the responsible thing to do is take care of yourself.
These last couple of months, I let people down and lost close friends. I used my depression to excuse my shitty behavior. In order to not conclude that I was the problem, I pointed fingers. I allowed my wounds to turn me into a person I was not. Thankfully, my friends have been understanding and I managed to win some gems back before the friendship entirely disintegrated. Using my struggles as ammo was a double-edged sword. While it gave me some temporary relief, it didn’t do much for my self-image and my opinion of myself soon became my reality.
So here’s me doing something which is a larger step in the doing of everything. I was about to call it a “beginning” but I’ve made that mistake one too many times. As long as I am breathing, I don’t get the pleasure of just wiping the slate clean. I’ve already tried ignoring my story and wishing it never happened. But this just ended up in my story owning me instead of me owning it.
Stories are meant to be understood. You take what has happened to you and use it as an agent for growth.
“Don’t ignore your past. Embrace it. Learn from it and run head onto what’s next. Your wiser self will always be able to love harder”
But no pain is entirely a waste. I built closer connections with a few remarkable mentors and I know I will continue to seek out their advice in the future. I haven’t blogged in a good year and I’ve forgotten how much it rejuvenates me. Slowly, I’m getting back to doing the things that I love and value. I am shedding routinely behavior that provides nothing but artificial stimulation, such as the hours I kill on social media. Being more mindful and growing both academically and spiritually is my game plan for age 19.
Instead of looking outwards as I tend to do, I’m going to try and stay inspired by my own life and the way I live it. By the things I actually do and not just say I will do. Criticizing myself for years never got me very far and it’s time that I start approving myself and see where it takes me.
This is me freeing myself from my self-destructive nonsense. This is me wanting to inspire the world but realizing that in order to do that, I must first be kind to myself.This is me gaining strength and humility from understanding and sharing my story. This is me acknowledging that I am always deserving of self-love no matter how much schoolwork I am behind on, no matter how many sins I have committed because my self-worth does not lie in what once made me incapable. Like my man, Bukowski, puts it- “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first”. If you can manage to do that, everything else will slowly fall into place.