Self Reliance

I don’t know when I started realizing that I had to depend primarily on myself. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of people whom I love and trust. They have their own lives though, and I can’t expect then to be my will power through the hard times. 

I used to have a friend who I thought was my friend-soulmate. We had so many shared interests, the same sarcastic humor, and hated ‘the man’ (a.k.a. the school staff who favored the partying and athletic kids). We were the outcasts of our high school and clung to each other through the worst times. Or what we thought were the worst times. We both had depression issues, mine were worse, and I had anxiety on top of it. This was due to serious medical issues from our pasts and bullying in my case. We healed each other and used each other as life rafts. For her help I will always be thankful. 

Eventually in my junior and senior years, I went through some…things. Sexual assault from someone I considered my best guy friend, a boyfriend who cheated on me when I didn’t give into his advances, and a very sick grandfather were only a few of the occurrences I dealt with. 

Through all of this I just needed support from my friend. At this point she didn’t want anything but fun and pushed me aside when I wasn’t ‘fun’ anymore. 

I had to pick myself up from the ground again. Of course my mother was there, but for the first time it was ultimately myself that had to push through it all. My mother couldn’t hold my hand through the anger, my friend wasn’t there for a shoulder to cry on, and I had to keep a rational mind in order to begin college. I had me, myself, and I. 

And I did it. I realized my love for writing and editing, and I made the decision to switch from a psychology major to English. I powered through the grief and focused on my classes. My security in my own strength and mind increased. Eventually I began to love myself like I had never before. 

I felt more accepting of myself and others because I know now that you never know what a person is going through. I remet myself and gained so much willpower and knowledge from what I went through. 

You have yourself through it all. Be kind to yourself. 

Coffee Isn’t Just For Mornings

I love coffee. It’s not the taste or even the warmth of it as I clutch it my hands. It’s the memories that accompany each taste and sip.

Pumpkin spice lattes remind me of the fall shopping trips I took with my best friend in high school. Rap, country, electronica, and indie songs filled one of our cars as we fought over playlists on our phones.

Black coffee reminds me of my late grandfather. He’d trail his finger back and forth along the handle of his mug as he related to my sister and I stories of his childhood. Now it is my sister’s hands that continue this habit.

Caramel lattes bring forth the shifts I worked at a fast food restaurant with my friends. The giggles that erupted from spraying each other with the dish hose and were quickly shushed when customers approached late at night.

Iced coffee reminds me of the relaxed days I watched Jane Austen adaptations when life became too much. Constant repeats of Pride and Prejudice calmed my rancid and racing fears as I fell into step with Lizzy’s quirky attitude.

I don’t know why the smell of Arabica beans makes me smile. It is a strong and strange smell. I do know coffee triggers memories that are forever linked to my identity and will take me back to any time in my past.

Taking

My energy is spent like the money I have been counting for six hours. Smiles have creased my red lips trying to make someone smile. Hoping that someone will laugh with me. Many people do. Many people don’t.

I give others energy hoping and pleading for them to give some back. Anything. A smile, wink, wave, nod, or even a twitch. Usually I get a grimace, a stare, or a leer.

It is as if we have been raised to take something, say thank you, but never regard whether any energy should be given back to the person.¬† A bunch of social vampires sucking from the energy of those who haven’t realized what the game is. That caring is losing because we all want to be cared about but most will never be the one to care in the first place. And not just caring that is an ‘of course I love’ or ‘you’re my bitch’. Deep bonding of souls. Acknowledgement of others as unique beings worthy of attention. Something and not nothing.

These victims go home wondering why am I different? What can I do to keep these people around? Why do these thoughts keep racing through my head? I’m not good enough. Will never be enough. Can never be enough. Maybe eventually someone will appreciate the care I take for others. They harden their hearts to prepare for more pain and many eventually become vampires themselves.

Never giving, always taking.

Self-construction

If there is one thing I’ve learned from studying English literature, it’s that we should not construct our own identity through other people. We run the risk of hurtfully putting down others. This is, of course, cruel and dehumanizing for them, buy also unfair to ourselves. It makes our own opinions of ourselves fragile and weak. We run the risk of losing track of who we even are because all of our constructs are based on societal norms and what we and the rest of society think of others and their actions.

We should define ourselves by what we accomplish, what we believe, and what we enjoy. This helps us love ourselves and appreciate the struggles and situations of others.

The Unique Experience in Everyday Life

I’m not sure when at first I started noticing my complete love and happiness in the simplest experiences in life. To be honest I’ve always been an anxious person. It is because of this that I have learned to focus on my breathing or counting colors to calm down in the worst of situations. Maybe this caused my love of basic life or maybe not. It’s just a theory I have.

I remember spinning around the living room of our newly built house when I was only two years old. Every chance I had I was spinning until I was dizzy and had to fly to the floor. I wore my sister’s old purple dress our mother had sewn. I really loved that bright violet ray that seemed to seep into my very soul.

I remember staring at my hand as I moved my wrist around in circles. This practice was a daily activity when I was around five years old. I would stare in amazement at the way my fingers could move, while my wrist did something completely opposite. This incredible limb was mine. My mind was controlling this extension on its own ideas. How completely absurd this seemed to me then. Even now I will move my hand in what I hope is a very sensual movement but may possibly just look like a flailing root in the lake water disturbed by a boat. Something so ordinary is the most beautiful to me.

It’s important to love the ordinary. We live in this world where nothing but the extraordinary is wanted. No one wants okay, somewhat, or maybe. We want amazing, yes, lovely, something more than ourselves. We never have enough and we probably never will. Of course even I fall into this trap. Maybe if we just watch the willow sway in the wind, we might just be happier. If that’s what brought us peace, we would not work ourselves to death to milk more and more from our sweat and tears.

Take a breath, sip some tea or coffee, and love what you have. Better yet, love yourself as you are.

Old Soul New Generation

There are so many names for it: introvert, empath, old soul, down-to-earth, etc. All of these words have slight variations of meaning. They all have a large common notion: deep-thinking, moral-focused, and different.

It’s easy to feel lost in this world where so many people are focused on the surface meaning of this globe. You feel as if there is no one like you. Like you are alone. I’m not so sure we aren’t.

I go to work. It nearly kills my soul. So many fake smiles, cavity inducing sweetness, and fake understandings for the rudeness from customers. I feel like I’m wearing a mask that covers who I really am. There are so few people who I can be myself in front of. It’s like water covering your face, knowing you are drowning, but knowing that you can’t swim. You have to pay for your college tuition, your car, or your mortgage. So you suffer through this life that doesn’t seem to help you grow spiritually.

None of this makes you feel at peace. None of this helps you evolve as a person and you know it. You are happiest listening to all that music no one else knows about, stepping into that record store downtown, meditating, writing, reading, and communing with nature. God made you this way, but you don’t know why. You spend hours trying to decipher the meaning of life.

You feel what everyone around you is feeling to the point it is almost suffocating. You can read any situation as if it was a book that you had read till the binding fell apart. You feel lonely when there is no one around you. So you congregate with those few people who understand you. Yet, other times you need nothing but your own space. So you can breathe and think.

Life is simultaneously beautiful and tragic. Just the way you understand it.

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