Thinking about what I want in life keeps me going. I might not get everything I want. More specifically, I might not get it the way I want it but if I don’t keep working and believing what will I be left with?
Even if you don’t want to. Even if you don’t have the time. Force yourself, you will probably have to, but do it. You can, and will, come up with a million reasons not to, but ignore all of that and slow down. Sit with your breath. By doing this you have just taken back control of the downward spiral. It might feel small and weak and barely enough to keep you afloat but do it anyway. It’s a start.
I come from a family of readers. We’ve always had a lot of books at home and still do, though my mum did make us give away a big chuck of them a couple of years ago. Anyone who knows me, knows that I read a lot. I real a lot of nonfiction at the moment. I think last year I only read one fiction book the entire year which is kind of crazy, definitely want to read more this year!
Almost everyone who I’ve talked to about anxiety, therapists, counselors, my mum (my favorite person), have always told me, and keep telling me, to embrace the anxiety when it comes. Pretty much any book you read about anxiety will say this as well. For the longest time I didn’t understand what they were saying. Why did I need to let it in? I disliked my anxiety. I wanted it to go away. It made me feel sick, unsafe, scared.
My grandfather passed away in August last year. It shocked us all, was unexpected, and in many ways it was the perfect death. He died peacefully, at home, the way we had always prayed he would go. No one was really ready for him to be gone though. Truth be told, I don’t think we can ever be ready to lose the people we love.
I started making gratitude lists in November 2016. I was at a point in my life when I felt very unlucky. Any counselor or person I ever talked to always told me to start journaling. They said it was important to document how I was feeling so I could look back and remember it one day. But, I was never very good at journaling. I was that kid that would go out, buy a sparkly pink journal, write a couple of ‘dear diary’ entries and then forget about it. (I can’t be the only one guilty of this, right????)
One of my biggest fears when I dropped out of university was that I was stuck. I was stuck feeling anxious. I was stuck feeling depressed. I was physically stuck and emotionally stuck. It felt like I would never end this perpetual loop of unhappiness, panic, and fright. This fear ruled me. It ruled every painful breath I fought to take in. At the time it felt like that was the only way life was going to go. I was stuck!
A couple of weeks ago my mum asked me if I was happy. She asks me this regularly, I guess since for a while I was really unhappy. I replied in a typical teenage fashion (ignore the fact that I haven’t been a teenager for a couple of years now). In a very unenthusiastic voice I told her I was okay and I was getting by. Later that night I realised I hadn’t exactly answered her question. She asked me if I was happy, which is actually a simple yes or no question.
So I started writing this post about two weeks ago but my sister, my toughest critic and editor (more like I force her to read it because my grammar is atrocious when I’m typing), kept telling me it wasn’t personal enough. She kept saying that I needed to give more of myself. You know what? She was 300% correct! I dislike discussing how much of a recluse I used to be, and still am, if I am being honest. I’ve always been embarrassed by it.
Yes, you read that right. I’ve dropped out of university twice SO FAR in my life (Joking mum, I think I’ll finish this degree). I currently attend university in Toronto where I study visual art and am about to start my second year. This is my first blog post so I want to use it to share who I am, and I believe the best way to do that is explain how I got here.