It’s weird to think that January is already here and 2013 has already passed. Seemed like 2012 was just yesterday and now, it’s already 2014! In six years, it will be 2020…odd, right? And like many other people, I must proclaim my resolutions from the rooftops, as you do when the new year’s tide rolls around. But I am going to do it a bit differently. I have one resolution for this year, which will cover a multitude of goals that I have personally, that I would really like to accomplish. And I will list that resolution at the end of the post. But first, for my own sake, I am going to list out 14 self-realizations that I learned about, well, me (obviously). Whether if it was from the past year, to something I’ve known forever, or something I realized while simply writing this post, I’m going to list out some things just so I have record of them in writing (because writing always helps me). In doing so, I hope to achieve my resolution before 2015 sneaks up on us. I know this weird now, but bear with me! I hope it’ll make sense by the end of this post.
1. Mirrors are my worst enemy. They have been ever since I was in high school and foolishly mistook actions to mean that I “was not good enough”, I have believed this about myself. That idea has transcended and transformed to mean that I am not good enough in any aspect of my life, but my appearance is where I struggle in it the most. I have “the doughnut,” as I like to call it, which consists of my love handles, lower back and stomach that I think make me absolutely ugly. And I want to work out so badly so I can rid myself of this obstacle that makes me “not good enough” in the standards of society. And I hate that I feel this way, and I am struggling, and working very hard, to change this mentality.
2. I would call myself a lot of things: a dreamer, a writer, a lover, a nerd, etc. But when someone asks me to describe myself, saying that I’m a Christian or saying that I am a person of faith never pops up in my top epithets. And that bothers me. I believe in God, I pray to Him every night and I love Him so much. But I feel like I disappoint Him way too often, I need His grace too much and it is hard for me to talk about my relationship with Him to others. And I think I fail at showing this love to God with the negative connotation that the term “religion” has, because my own views don’t fit in with an idea like religion, but rather a relationship of faith. And I dunno how to show that.
3. I am very much a rule follower. I don’t like getting in trouble. I don’t like disappointing people. And I am truly okay with being the “goody goody” and never breaking the rules or whatnot. I like that part of myself. But it bothers me that other people thinks that makes me less of a person. I am also very traditional: no sex before marriage, I want my fiancee to ask my father for my hand in marriage, I don’t believe in one-night stands or casual relationships, no drinking before it’s legal, that sort of thing. And being traditional in this society is very different and not widely accepted. And one thing I strive beyond anything else is to be unique.
4. It really, really irks me when people are negative. Like, to the point that I want to physically remove myself from being around them. In high school, I truly believe I had undiagnosed depression. And it took a LOT of work for me to have the positive outlook, rainbows-and-unicorns-are-my-best-friends type of mentality I do today. So when people around me are negative all the time, or in a bad mood, or are always criticizing or always complaining, etc., I almost can’t deal with it. I am terrified of how I will react, of slipping back in the state I once was in. So, to defend myself, I either shut down and keep to myself or remove myself completely, if I can. And this may be unfair to some people, but I accept that this is who I am.
5. I’ve also realized that it bothers me when people ask me to change, not because they are asking me to change, but because of my own insecurities, I read it as they can’t accept me for who I am now. I can’t think of a lot of examples, but over the years, people have told me to wear makeup; that I should wear my hair curly, it is a lot prettier; that my desire to wait until marriage to have sex will never last; that not drinking makes me lame; that the fact that I like to ” follow the rules” (quotations here because I dunno what else to call it) makes me boring, not fun and lame; that partying would make me cooler, etc. I get that I’m stubborn. I know that. And maybe some of these suggestions have some merit. But I struggle a lot with who I am (the main reason for this post and this resolution), so it doesn’t help with everyone around me always offering suggestions on how I can change, how I can be better (especially in aspects that I actually like about myself). Just let me be who I am.
6. I truly believe that if I go too long without reading for pleasure, I become a worse person overall. I realized this my sophomore year of college, when I went through a minor depressive slump and was just not digging life. Then, I pushed homework aside and took a book and read it for fun for the first time in a good year, and I swear I felt loads better. I think it is just a hobby that truly helps me emotionally and I think that is pretty cool.
7. I also believe that if God chose to bless me with anything, it is at least a passion for writing, if not the talent (is there talent, really?) for it. Or not the talent, then the determination to keep going. I don’t want to say that I am talented or specially gifted in writing, because I don’t think that is necessarily the case. But I do think that the creativity, the imaginative way that I view the world, is unique — or at least, not common in your average human. And that I am so driven to write — it is so ingrained in me — that I am allowed to call myself a writer, even if I am never read by the masses or published by the big wigs. Because I will never stop writing.
8. Being an author is my plan in life. I have no back up. And that scares the hell out of me. I just feel like that is what I am meant to do. And a huge part of me rationalizes that because that is what I am meant to do, then how can I fail? Yet reality lets me know that I can very much fail, and that is a scary thing, because I absolutely have no idea what else I would want to do besides write fantasy novels. I am also stubborn, so I refuse to do a job that doesn’t make me happy, yet I also have to support myself (and pay off the ridiculous amount of student loans I have) somehow.
9. I am a very descriptive, drawn out person (as I’m sure you can see in these bullets). My stories are long, whether written or spoken, because of my love and unconscious obsession with detail.
10. I am a dreamer in every sense of the word and it is sometimes hard to face/accept reality. I don’t like to be realistic and I hate being told that I cannot do something. And it is sometimes hard for me to deal with people who are only realistic, because I am so hopeful.
11. When I look at my always-changing life plan, one part that I’ve never really confronted is the fact that I don’t truly desire to live in the United States permanently, because I am not sure how to read that. On one hand, it is terribly exciting. I would love to move somewhere, find a small flat and a quaint job, and just explore, see what happens somewhere else in the world. Yet I know that it would be hard being away from my family and friends. So I’m torn between doing what I want and doing what will make everyone else happy.
12. I believe that love is the greatest thing, the greatest force, on this good earth. Yet I am also coming to terms with the idea of being alone. I will never not believe in this great power of love. I think there are many different kinds of love: familial, best friends, with your pet, with things, romantically…and all of them, I think have the power to overcome anything. Yet while I believe this and have experienced much of it, I have never experienced the romantic side of it. 21 and still never had that boyfriend. And in my future, when I plan, I always assume that there will be a man in a picture; that I will get married, start a family. And it will be breathtaking. Yet that isn’t guaranteed. And I struggle with dealing with that, because of how much I believe in love. But I don’t think it is a failure to live alone and I am starting to think about my future without someone beside me to share it with and I refuse to look at slow change in mentality as giving up on love…more just, looking at another possibility of life.
13. I have made some really great friends in my life (especially some amazing girls back in high school), But a lot of them have really slipped through my fingers, and it truly kills me that I let that happen. As times have gotten busier, it has been harder to keep in touch with the friends that I made in my past. And a lot of times, I feel like it is because I have been a horrid friend, both to past and present friends. And I am not sure how to deal with that realization.
14. I have a hard time standing up for myself because I am constantly putting everyone’s feelings ahead of my own, i.e., I am a people pleaser. I have a hard time saying no to favors or when someone asks to do something, even if I don’t want to do it. I have a hard time standing up for myself or telling people what I really want, because I can’t handle it when people get angry at me or disappointing others. I have this intense anxiety of always trying to please everyone and often times, it just gets me stressed out and hurt. And sometimes, putting other people first in this manner is not a bad thing. But sometimes, it is hard for me to look out for me, and I feel like that is unfair.
Bonus: I love tattoos. And while some may not approve or think them foolish, if I am to be honest with myself, I will have at least a half sleeve on my arm by the time I am thirty and I hope people will accept me as a person with ink.
Woo. 14 brash and honest realizations right there. I didn’t have a plan when writing these out, just wanted to see what realizations came up when I sat down to write this post. Because before thinking about these realizations, I already had my resolution set in mind. I have always failed at keeping my resolutions, because I can never keep up with all the changes I want to make in myself, in the world around me, no matter how long I keep it up. And I’ve realized that I have failed because I am looking at it the wrong way. I shouldn’t be looking for all the ways to change myself, to better myself, to improve.
I should be looking to understand.
So, that’s my resolution this year: to better understand who I am today, right now. The good and the bad. The flaws and the goals. The hopes and the dreams. The plans and the aspirations. The obsessions and the ideas. The loves and the failures. I want to understand who I am, what foundation I built myself upon and in doing so, I hope that I can truly learn to love myself as I am and finally strive away from that “not good enough” mentality that I have let rule my life. And in some ways, I may change and in others, I may stay the same. But I will learn to love whatever it is that makes me, me.
So that is why I wrote out some realizations here. So I can have in writing some things that I have noticed about myself. So that other people can know and that I can come back and remind myself about some of the things I have learned, so I can continue to grow and develop. And I may post more realizations as time goes on. Or progress about how learning about myself is going. Or I may not. But I hope that by sharing these with anyone who reads this, you can hold me accountable to this new resolution of understanding. Because it is time for me to stop letting myself hold me back in this life that has blessed me so much and has so much to offer.
It’s a new year, but it’s not a new me: just a new understanding.
“…I’ve been afraid to lighten my heavy heart, ’cause maybe no one would understand. And maybe I’ll never understand, but I’m shedding my skin so everyone can step inside and see the love I’ve felt since I was a child; too often I forget to open up and let the light in…” — “Heavy Eyelids, Heavy Heart” by Jamie’s Elsewhere