One thing that became increasingly more apparent for me: everyone has a different level of demand from life. It’s not in everyone’s interest to fight a current, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I remember I was watching one of my favourite creators and I heard her say something about “having honey” for life. I remember thinking, “yes, that’s me.” I’m in love with the idea of having this burning desire to find creative ventures unique to me, have extremely fulfilling relationships, or pushing myself to reflect to find new corners of myself. I’m not gonna settle for what’s presented in front of me. That’s not the only option. I’m going to keep mixing and reshuffling and adding things and researching. I want to learn and cry.
What I’m trying to say is, it’s like if we were all sailing out in the sea. There are some people who are happy to float near the shore, taking from where it is safe and there is little resistance. Others are content to sail a bit further out. And then there are some, beyond the high waves and currents, they see the blue mist, where the shore melts with the sky, and head out to meet it. I really admire those people. I want to turn into a small speck in the horizon, disappear, and come back with a tan and souvenirs and stories and scars. I want to experience this life completely
“I am afraid. Not of life, or death, or nothingness, but of wasting it as if I had never been.”— Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon
But as I look around me, it’s hard to find people who have that same degree of interest to curate their own experiences beyond their environment (Which is completely normal!). I’m surrounded by a lot of love but many times when I try to express the life choices I’m interested in, it is met with little understanding. Which hurts a lot. For example, something small like when I say I’m going to live in Africa in the future inshallah, it’s like, “who does that? Is that realistic?”. But there are many people around the world who make moves like that. There are photographers, researchers, humanitarians, artists, or diasporas who do that all the time. Why not me? Just because it isn’t in our immediate circle, or the content you consume, doesn’t mean it isn’t a normal way people live. I face this same struggle when it comes to my art.
It’s something small, but it’s really been a source of anxiety for me. I start to question my own capabilities and my own heart. Do they think it isn’t possible, or it isn’t possible for me? And when I fail, I think, “maybe they are right”. “are they judging me right now? This is embarrassing.” But I’m committed to reinventing myself. And it’s hard when you are attempting and just starting out: failing, and experimenting and trying— when you are reminded of who you are today. I forget what is possible. It’s natural human instinct to want to be accepted. And so you eventually succumb to your environment even if it doesn’t excite you. I don’t want that to happen.
Don’t listen to people who aren’t trying
A solution to this I’ve been telling myself: don’t listen to people who aren’t trying. Whatever it is you are trying to do, whether it’s to start publishing your art, or mend a relationship with a family member, or learn a new language, or self-work, anything where you are attempting. Don’t listen to people who aren’t attempting with their own things in their own life. They won’t understand. From my experience, they’ll take any resistance you face as a sign it won’t work. But resistance is apart of the process. When you’re growing, there is a gap between the vision you have in your head and your ability to execute. Failure has been closing that gap for me. Things take time to work. A long time. You can only know that if you have tried to sail. From the shore, everything looks simple.
I’m a big believer on not isolating yourself. I know it’s cool to say “cut xyz out of your life that don’t serve you” but the reality is, what are the odds your family or friends or coworkers are going to have all the same visions as you? Does that mean the relationship is trash? The love they have for you can be authentic even if they don’t want to sail the same direction as you.
And honestly when I was younger, in my early 20s I tried this before. Many times. I would proclaim, “I need to reinvent myself” and would throw out my phone (quite literally get a flip phone). It’s so dumb and dramatic I laugh when I think about it. You can’t erase your insecurities by pretending it’s not there.
All in all,
I’m going to put in more work to fight for this version of my life, while simultaneously maintain the relationships that don’t always water it. I’ll put in more hours to reset my mindset, and retie the threads that sitting with them may have unthread, because that’s what creates a healthy balance.
My well comes from elsewhere. I have curated my own sources that fulfils me and keeps me focused and steadfast.
That’s all I had to say on that! What thoughts popped up when you read this? Do you feel or have felt this way before? Let me know it the comments
Also, I started sharing my poems on tumblr so check them out 🙂 @aslisjournal