I haven’t been feeling as ambitious as I know I could be. At one point in my life that’s all I was, ambitious to become someone better, smarter, healthier, and organized. I’ve slowly let all of this go because when I was ambitious, it was to the point of being overly worked and stressed out 24/7. Maybe I fear that feeling and that’s why I’ve let go. I miss it though, the thirst and drive. Now I’m parched, but I fail to reach for a glass of water.
Feelings tend to get in the way of actions. I know this. I knew this when I was going through depression and refused to get out of bed some mornings. My list of chores and goals for the day completely ignored. But, I’m recovered now. At least enough to where I can get out of bed every morning, even if it’s reluctantly. I want to be ambitious again. I want to feel my feelings of laziness, of being unmotivated or tired and still continue on the path that I need to take to become the person I want to be.
That’s the thing with the connection between feelings and actions. We tend to think that one will always cause another. In my case, it has been my feelings taking control of the actions I take, but I know this can change. I’ve forced myself to write when I was unwilling and once I started seeing words appear before my eyes, my motivation had changed. It’s beautiful to watch. It’s like rain disappearing and turning to a bright sunny sky, with a rainbow appearing overhead. I can do this, I know. I just need a reminder that my feelings don’t have to have control all the time.
When I feel like smoking a cigarette, I really don’t have to. When I feel like staying in bed, I have the choice to jump out of my covers and plaster a smile on my face. When I feel like calling out of work, I can put in earbuds blasting some dubstep to get me in the mood. It’s the actions I take that can completely transform the feelings that may develop due to biological tendencies.
So, even though I’m scared, I need to keep trying. I don’t want to look back at my life only to realize I could’ve done more. I want to write a book. I want to get my degree. I want to be healthy. I want to convince others to do what they need to do to achieve their own goals and I know the only way I can do that is by doing it myself.
You start by getting up in the morning. Even if you really don’t feel like it. Even if your covers seem like a good way to hide, realize putting them over you head when the sun shines through your blinds only makes the darkness more cultivating. It makes your mood more low, your aspirations for the day less likely. I think that’s the hardest part. Getting up even though every inch of you refuses to. Your ears refusing to hear your alarm. Your arms refusing to stretch. Your legs refusing to get up. Your mind refusing to think. Your soul refusing to hope. Even after you get up, your eyes will lay low and you wonder where to even start.
I always start by eating. It can be both a problem and solution. Although eating has always caused problems for me in the past, I know it’s one of the only ways to convince myself that getting up from my bed is somehow worth it. The first bite into a fresh juicy peach can somehow produce a small ray of light within my darkened perspective. Then a cigarette, because I need to get outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes so I can look up at the sun and feel the rays hit my face. That small hint of vitamin D extracted from the light causing a flutter of joy to thoughts of my day.
Realizing that I’ve been here before, that the darkness has overcome me and I’ve let it take over completely to the point of no return. To a point of hiding out for 24 hours only to regret it when I finally escape. I can’t let it do that. Not this time. Even as I type this, my bed is in the other room, my covers mangled and ready to confine me. I can’t even sit down on them, because I know what will happen. The little rays of sunshine I get from outside may not be enough. I have to go on a walk or something.
Yesterday I felt almost manic. I’m starting to wonder if I really am bi-polar or if it’s just another excuse for me to fall back onto my emotions when they’re repeatedly going up and down like this. A high high and a low low. That is my life. When things feel good, they’re extremely good. And when things get bad, fuck they get so bad. But, it’s not as bad as before and that’s what I have to remember.
Fuck. I just want to go back to bed.
Life is really great right now. I can’t get over how happy I’ve been. I never thought I would be able to get to this point again. Just last year, I was hysterically crying in bed, drowning myself in covers and tears until I could hardly breath. Reaching out to people was never an option, because I felt so misunderstood, so helpless and hopeless. Now I have so many beautiful people who surround me that I can tell the most complicated parts of my life to and they somehow manage to get it.
Before my problems were so minuscule and I never even recognized that. I let them become more as they flourished inside my head, growing bigger and bigger as I fed them with negative thoughts and discouragement. Now I talk. I talk to every friend or person I believe to be caring enough. I tell them every concern I have and I listen to theirs. I sound like a broken record player, going on and on about the same thing but to different people. They all manage to understand though. None of them think I’m broken. They look at me like I’m a fucking human being, not a out dated piece of technology that’s no longer in good use.
So, despite my desire to be alone, I know there needs to be a balance. A balance of spending time with people and spending time alone. A balance of talking to someone and of listening to them. A balance of sacrificing yourself and of extracting the life from them. And I want to be around the people who know this– that there is balance in every relationship you have. That, despite the inevitability of losing each other in the end, there is so much we can learn and grow from with one another in the moments that we have.
I’m afraid. I’m afraid of facing my fears. I run away from research papers as if they’re chasing me through a dark hallway in the midst of a bad horror movie. I’m that white girl who runs away and hides, thinking the monster will just go into another room– thinking I’ll be safe until the credits start rolling, only to turn around and find the monster to be right behind me.
I don’t know if it’s the failure that really terrifies me or if it’s simply my imperfection. My inability to focus, to work hard. I have created this wall within my mind that prevents me from actually learning- from actually trying. Even as I type this out I’m afraid. I don’t want to confront my shortcomings. I gave up this quarter. I reached the end and I threw down my fucking cards before I even had the chance to see what the other players had been dealt. I folded. Like the way I fold myself underneath the covers in my bed to hide from my next assignment.
It’s hard to determine when it started being this way. I remember the English paper I had to write for 1B in community college. I waited last minute, as I do with everything else in my life. It was 11:50 pm and I had ten minutes to finish up my last body paragraph and conclusion. I was crying hysterically. I was reading through my paper, swearing at myself for the mess I had created on the screen in front of me, a bunch of jumbled words forced out of my head and down through my fingers so that I can finally just get it over with. I finally wrote the last word and turned it in, right at 12. I put my head down in shame. I knew it wasn’t my best work. I knew I could’ve done better. I also knew I wasn’t enjoying college anymore. I started to fucking hate it, just as I do now.
Then I see a person’s eyes light up when I tell them I go to UCLA. Like it’s a fucking badge of honor and maybe it should be, but I don’t wear it. I throw it in the corner of my closet with the clothes I don’t take the time to fold after wearing them. I don’t feel deserving. It’s my mindset. I know it is. I know I need to work harder, try harder, do better, be stronger. But, as I tell myself to do this and that, I still find that I fall back into that same pattern. Giving into my fears and folding.
I don’t know what I need to do. I really don’t. I tell myself I’ll do better next time. I promise the people who are counting on me that I will eventually do better, but I fail to do so. It’s funny because when I fail, it’s almost a relief. What I have failed at is over and done with, so I can be happy once again. Too bad, failing means that you have not achieved. It means that this goal that has been destined for you to accomplish, is still sitting there waiting for you. It’s lurking in the shadows. It’s coming up behind you, despite the belief that you are safe. It comes back again. What I have to do is learn how to face it. Take it head on. Turn around and look that monster straight in its eyes and attack it until it’s on the floor, dead in front of me. I need to face it. I can’t keep turning my back anymore. I’m tired of hiding.