I write a lot of posts that have advice in them, and a lot of the time I think that the tone that this blog takes is one of someone who has faced an issue, learned from it, and wants to share what she has learned. I like to have the takeaway feeling from my more serious blog posts to be, “This may suck, but it’s going to be okay.” I genuinely believe that in most instances, things are going to be okay.
But I just want to make it clear and explicit: I am as flawed, as fallible, and as uncertain as any other person.
I’ve been reading practically every day of my life since I was six. I’ve gotten inside the heads of thousands and thousands of characters in thousands and thousands of situations. I have a pretty good mental filing cabinet of how best to behave in almost any given situation. I’ve followed the lives of role models both real and fictional and I’ve actively modeled my life, my communication, and my choices on them.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s not that hard for me to identify what I should do when an issue comes up in my life. I just want to be very open that it is not at all always easy for me to actually do that thing.
I know my weight is not a problem, that I am in good physical shape and look fine and can continue to prioritize eating well and exercising and my health will be good. I still look at the size of my stomach every time I look in the mirror.
I know I should keep track of the number of drinks I have or the amount of food I eat, that I shouldn’t put things into my body when I’m not hungry or when I’ve had enough. I still overeat, stress-eat, accept “one last beer,” and end up feeling terrible.
I know one person’s opinion isn’t the end of the world, but I still let insults throw me off-kilter.
I know I’m surrounded by friends and family who love me, but I still sometimes feel sad and lonely and unlovable.
I know that there’s every chance that I will end up madly in love with someone who is madly in love with me and start a family, but I get scared of ending up alone.
I know that the above should not define my life, I stay mindful to keep myself from fixating on it, I know that I can have a completely wonderful life without it, but I still think about it way, way too much for my own liking.
I know that I deserve to be treated in a certain way, that I would demand a certain treatment for my friends, and I still hold on too long, especially emotionally, to people who do not treat me that way.
I know that time makes almost anything better, but I still wonder on some hard days if I will ever feel normal again.
I know that I have all the ingredients to be successful and to lead a stimulating, creative life, but I still fear that I will end up average, boring, bored, and unfulfilled.
I know that I’m allowed to feel whatever I’m feeling, but I still feel guilty for getting sad or angry or jealous.
I know that I’d be happy to be there for my friends when they’re having a hard time, but I fear that I’m imposing on them when I start to need help.
I know that having an anxiety disorder and thinking a lot is nothing to be ashamed of, but sometimes I’m ashamed of it.
I know that it isn’t my fault when I’m not the right person for something, but I still feel like it’s due to some failing on my part.
I know that I should believe my friends and family and internalize what they say when they praise me, but I find myself shrugging off their compliments.
I can be rude, condescending, patronizing, snobby, arrogant, neurotic, gross, obsessive, insecure, messy, jealous, fatalistic, irresponsible, procrastinating, ungracious, and annoying.
This is not to say that I’m all of these negative things at once, or even that I am these things more often than I exhibit positive qualities. I just want to admit, here and to the world: I am not a saint. I’m a screwed-up human being like you.
The nice thing is, I also know that that’s okay.
I wouldn’t want to actually be the always-wise Dear Abby type, effortlessly following her own advice and floating through life untouched and untouchable.
I am, an overwhelming percent of my time, happy or content or maybe a little bit stressed but generally and genuinely okay. I lucked out. I won the lottery when it comes to people around me, certain adaptive personality traits, and of course a love of stories that have taught me which mistakes I really don’t want to make for myself. My family has always had enough to provide for me, I have had every opportunity I could want, and because I’ve never had to deal with horrible circumstances I am in a place to help other people out sometimes, which makes me very happy.
What I’m trying to say is this: Life is hard. Life is hard for the people who have it pretty dang good. No one is perfect, and no one never gets hurt. And while in a way this is really depressing, because it means your life will never be completely safe from ups and downs, it’s also comforting, because you’ve got a world full of people in the same boat, even the ones who seem like they’ve got it all.
That’s what I focus on when I’m sad and all the intellectual knowledge in the world isn’t helping me.
And really, one of the reasons I tend to keep a positive end tone in my blog is as much for me as it is for all of you. It’s like channeling a slightly older, slightly wiser version of myself, one who already knows that everything turned out all right and who can reach back to give my hand a squeeze. I’m still working to become her–the person who might still sometimes be self-conscious, but who gets over it more quickly than I do now. The one who can feel the truth of her own advice not too long after she gets into a tough situation. It’s a process. Not always an easy one.
Thanks for joining me along the way.