Ughhhh, what is life? My first year of marriage has been one of the toughest of my life. And no, I’m not regretting getting married, and the year’s struggles actually have very little to do with my husband and more with my control issues and various neurosis. People such as coworkers and even close friends may think of me as relatively laid back and more than one has expressed a sort of disbelief at the thought of me ever being really angry. But I do get angry, really angry. When I was younger I thought that by 31 I’d have most of my shit together and that that crippling self doubt would be ancient history. Bahahahahahaha….hahahah……bahahahaha. Good one! Older folks are probably laughing even harder.
The thing is, my concern is not the fact that I get angry. We live in a messed up world and you would have to live in a bubble, under a rock, in a forest that’s located in the farthest reaches of the universe to not come across things that piss you off sometimes. My concern is the stuff I’m angry about, some of it concrete, some of it stemming from an ever- present pressure.
I feel the need to keep everything tightly wound for fear that if things are not just so then everything will fall apart. This, I have learned, is no way to live a healthy life for myself and those around me. While trying to gain clarity into how to cope with my struggles can sometimes feels impossible, I’ve managed to recognize some of the things dragging me down and I’m sure I’m not the only one. These struggles are nothing new but still we all live in our own self-involved worlds and its nice to reach out and know that it’s okay.
While perusing my local bookstore I picked up a copy of Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck. At first I scoffed at the blatant attention-grabbing title but the book has actually given me some insight and has helped me to focus more on the big picture while reminding me to not sweat the small stuff. This isn’t a review of Mark’s book but rather how his message of accepting imperfection and taking responsibility for one’s own feelings and reactions aided me to actively change the way I think.
One of the things I am determined to do is stop seeking validation of my life and myself. A good example is my work. I am currently a medical aesthetician. This means that I know a lot about skin care and skin health. I perform facial treatments on people. Now, when I first started I pictured me being a sort of the Mother Theresa of skin care; bringing my knowledge of skin health to the masses and changing lives everywhere. The thing is, beauty-related things, especially if it’s the way one makes one’s livelihood, are often viewed as frivolous-beauty school drop-out anyone? (Grease movie reference, anyone?) So there I was with my passion for skincare that brought me to the job in the first place and worrying what people thought. I started feeling so out of sorts about my work and even embarrassed and it started to show. I just didn’t approach my job with the same gusto because I was too preoccupied with the idea that it would never lead me to any kind of “respectable” position. I was preoccupied with what I could be doing instead of making the most of the present. The problem is me and the way I’m projecting and seeking validation, at least I have that much insight into myself, right?
Self Imposed Pressure
No one makes my life harder than I do. I find I’ve become rigid under the weight of both the minutia of everyday life and impending big important life decisions. The thing is no one is expecting me to have all my everything together all the time so why do I expect myself to? Probably because I’m worried what it’ll mean if I’m not making a big salary after getting a degree, or that I’m in my 30’s and haven’t had a kid and don’t know when I will, or that I will probably never own a house.
So I’m choosing to be responsible for my emotions and to not let an entitled client or society or even myself get the best of me. After many years of all the fretting and neurosis, some of which I bring on myself and some of which is hereditary, I’ve come to a sound but not super-easy-to-live-by conclusion, which is to STOP FREAKING CARING SO MUCH! Just lift the weight off and hurl it into a lake. I can either do my best in the now and live my life or constantly self impose this pressure and stupid standard on myself and end up angry and resentful.
We live in a world where we’re constantly on the search for bigger and better and this mentality sometimes spills over into how we view ourselves and therefore our self worth. Enough! We all live once and I am going to try with all my might to stop the self-deprecation, the judgement, the anxiety, the jealousy, the comparing, the feelings of inadequacy, the worrying about having this and that at a certain point in my life, and how it all looks to others. I’m going to just be. Because huge piles of crap will inevitably fall at our feet so why oh why make the piles any bigger than they have to be?!
Ugh. The chaos of this post is reflective of the chaos in my mind. But I am going to leave this jumble of words as is and accept it in all its messy, incoherent, tragically imperfect glory. Now, if I can only do the same for myself.