Writing isn’t creative for me anymore. I used to be able to sit down and conceptualize and research a topic and write about it passionately for hours. I could delve into politics and public affairs, or online shopping, or mental health struggles and go on and on and on. But now I’ve got nothing. I don’t even have things to talk about in my daily life. I don’t do things on the regular, I don’t go places, there’s a pandemic so we aren’t supposed to but still. And there are a million things happening globally that I stand behind so strongly. Black Lives Matter and police brutality across the world and standing with victims of assault and boycotting problematic corporations and the upcoming elections and I just feel like anything I could say on any topic is tired. I feel drained of all creativity and there’s a million places I could blame but I know it’s on me. I know that I’m the source of my happiness (thanks, Yoga With Adriene) and I know that I’m making the people around me miserable.
I just feel like I’ve lost touch with my authentic self. In so many ways I’m exactly where I always expected to be but now I realize that so many of my expectations were superficial and I planned nothing for my character, my career path, my mark on society. Like sure I’m skinny and my hair is long and my boyfriend is hot but what does any of that matter when I don’t even have the energy to hold a conversation? I don’t have the drive to even search for a job and I’m so afraid of being burnt out before I even start the next chapter of my life. I’m supposed to be vivacious, in my prime, ready to take on all life has for me. But all I can focus on are the negatives. Who I hate and why and the reasons every place on Earth is gross and bad and I wouldn’t want to live there. And I can’t tell if the problem is I’m feeling too many negative emotions or that I’m feeling nothing. But I know I’m feeling something. I’m feeling anxious.
About my life, my job, my relationship, my house, my future, my present, my past, this world, this country, this city, my home. I’m anxious that I have too many obligations and not enough. I’m anxious that I don’t have a job and I’m anxious about getting a job. I’m anxious that I’m in quarantine and about leaving. And maybe it’s the transition period after graduating college or maybe it’s the pandemic or maybe it’s that this world is a really terrible awful place to live for so many people or maybe it’s the realization that we could fix so much with money if we weren’t so self-consumed.
I’m tired and disappointed and over- and underwhelmed with myself and this world. I simultaneously feel nothing and everything at once. And hopefully I’m just being disgustingly dramatic and hopefully I can actively be part of changing the ugliness in this world but how am I supposed to change the ugliness in myself?
The lethargy, depression, anger, bitterness, negativity.
How am I simultaneously driven by helping others and disgusted by everyone’s presence? So hopeful and hopeless for humanity? Energized and exhausted by the amount of work to be done?
“An amalgamation of contradictions.”
Seeking to be vulnerable and indestructible. Welcoming and standoffish. Independent and yours.
This world was never black and white. We’re all just shades of grey. Isolation makes us forget that sometimes, I think. When we don’t spend time with people it becomes easier to generalize them. But very few people truly fall into one categorical person-type.
Yet here I am trying to cram myself into one box or another, trying to define myself by words and characteristics and experiences that I haven’t even had the chance to have. I’m so hard on myself and also not hard enough on myself.
Maybe I need a change of pace. This world needs a change of pace. Life is hard but we were never meant to be here to worry about our bodies and the amount of money in our bank accounts. That’s just what it’s become, unfortunately. Do I need to be a millionaire to change the world? Isn’t it enough to be an underpaid, depressed artist?
I remember writing this draft in June, frustrated and equally over- and underwhelmed with myself, my life, and my prospects. I remember feeling trapped within myself, like I genuinely could never move or change or grow.
It felt like realizing I peaked in high school, except I definitely didn’t peak in high school so it was almost even worse.
And this, kids, is the emotional representation of a transition period.
I swear one day I’ll stop telling you about how I never expected to be as happy as I am today, or as grateful, or as forgiving. But today is not that day.
Today I am so proud of my growth, and I’m so proud that I allowed myself to feel all of these shitty feelings while I did because these shitty feelings helped me realize I never want to feel this shitty about my life again, if I can help it.
Then, one month after this draft, I got a job. I moved across the country. I started therapy. Once I learned to invest energy in myself, my creativity started coming back.
A lot of my concerns and questions from this post/draft/journal are still very valid. But now that I have an understanding of who I am and who I’m striving to be, I can start sorting everything else out knowing that I’m standing on solid ground.
Before, I was worried about having a plan for who I wanted to become, but I never realized my character wasn’t a part of me that I needed to build; it was a part of me that I needed to find.
Now I feel confident that I can plan a career path and work toward improving society (in one way or another), not because I found a more motivated version of myself but because I reconnected with who I am at my core.
And “the lethargy, depression, anger, bitterness, negativity” that I felt before has slowly started slipping away as I make more space in my mind and life for energy, gratitude, patience, forgiveness, positivity.
I say all of this to say, if your life sucks right now –– for whatever reason and to whichever degree –– I am sorry and I feel you.
Whether Covid has left you struggling to find work or put food on the table, or brutal weather conditions are keeping you trapped in your home (or, as is the case for many Texans right now, pushed you out of your home). Whether you’re struggling financially, educationally, or just energetically I hope you know you aren’t alone. There are individuals and organizations you can lean on for financial and emotional support (I would absolutely love to provide the latter, although I haven’t quite gotten a hold of the former myself but I’m here to help in any way I can).
You can’t focus on your own growth, and fixing your home, and keeping your family safe from Covid, and working during a pandemic, and trying to finish your degree all at once. If you’re feeling stuck or exhausted or just not like yourself, just try not to be too hard on yourself. The world is hard enough already.
And at the end of the day (if you aren’t facing life or death scenarios) this period is bound to be temporary.
Trust yourself, trust that your struggle isn’t for nothing, trust that you add value to this world even if you haven’t figured everything out.
Life isn’t a race and growth is never linear. Things might not be perfect now, but you’ll get there when you get there.
And when you get there, you won’t look back on this moment and resent yourself for getting stuck, you’ll look back and be proud of how far you’ve come.
With love and more trust in myself than ever before,
Featured image by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash