Being mindful and brave is great and all, but of course everything has its drawbacks. Sometimes I wonder whether I am over thinking things, or whether all of this thinking is causing negative emotions that are leading me to stray from the path I’m trying to put myself on. This is something we talked about in group therapy this morning – the cycle of how behaviors can make us have thoughts that change our emotions and our thoughts lead to emotions that cause us to change our behavior, and how the three are connected all the time. There are ways to break bad cycles of negative thinking, there are ways to break bad habits, there are ways to slip out of bad emotions and into better ones, I know that this is true – but knowing that it is true and possible doesn’t make it easy.
Today it was suggested that focusing on happy times in the past is a great way to lift up our emotions and remind ourselves that happiness is out there waiting for us to find. For me though, it seems to work the opposite way. Thinking about good times in the pasts just reminds me, painfully, that those times are over and done with and won’t be coming back; that the fun I had was fleeting and won’t be found elsewhere.
People ask themselves occasionally: Is this as good as it gets? I ask myself: Is it ever going to be as good as it used to be?
But this is wrong. This is negative thinking. I have to look forward and be hopeful. I have to be mindful and brave.
Really, what I was thinking about last night was the way I present myself online – the way everyone presents themselves. I know that the people who look like they have perfect, beautiful, fulfilling and happy lives are also hiding darkness on the other side of the computer screen. I’m not dumb enough to think that some people actually CAN be as perfect as they appear, and it’s a frustrating and annoying thing to be faced with over and over again on the blogosphere – knowing that even as people are insisting that this is them being authentic and real, they are really hiding skeletons and negativity – we all are, it’s just the way of things.
Every day I am doing things with the intention of lifting my mood and alleviating my depression and anxiety. Every day I am making choices to change my life and benefit myself, and to put myself and my own beliefs and emotions before other people’s. I have felt like a fake person for such a long time – reacting to the people around me and letting my life revolve around and be shaped by their lives. It’s so sad and ridiculous, but I know that it’s true. I’ve thought for so long that it is easier to give in and do and be the things people want me to be than it is to just be who I am and give my self what it wants.
So you know what? Yeah, I am changing and growing and being mindful and brave. I am making my blog-self look pretty with these quotes and graphics and songs and poems and stories and lists of gratitude. All of these things that I do, all of these things that I am showing you – all of it is true. All of it is authentic. All of it is who I am.
But I am also the girl who shamefully eats an entire bag of puffy Cheetos over the course of two days and wonders whether orange powdered foods will be the literal death of me. I am the girl who avoids her problems – and even her best friends – because it’s easier to avoid them than it is to just be honest with them about how I feel. I am the girl who still, after weeks of intense therapy, still panics at least once a week over whether I AM ever going to be better, and whether I am ever going to have what I consider a successful life. I am the girl who will write a novel, and then another novel and then another, and not edit any of them because I don’t believe in myself enough to do it. I am the girl who no one likes to talk about – unemployed and now squarely and legit under the poverty line, struggling with guilt and shame because who knows? I might not be able to pay my bills this month. I may really need to ask for help.
I’m trying to be positive, every single day. I am trying to banish negative thoughts and emotions and invite happiness into my life. I am trying. But I know I can’t keep it up day after day, either. I know that there will be days like this where I spend my early afternoon weeping alone before I get myself together and face the rest of the world.
Those people on the interwebs who make you feel inferior with their perfect babies and marriages and houses and DIY everything and their tight bodies and frequent flier miles? Screw ’em, I say. I’m done with that. It’s been eight days since I quit Facebook and it’s like I’ve been given a new lease on the ability to be myself. So I’m quitting perfect people, too. I want to invite in the imperfect along with the happy. So bring on your fat asses and cheap dinners and used clothes and yea, your sadness about things. Because we all have them, I think. Right?