I've been not feeling myself lately. I can blame it on mercury retrograde. Or I can blame it on plain old stress, feeling small, and just feeling a bit stagnant. The inspiration and motivation well has been dry. I've been more interested in Netflix and taking long walks and (over)thinking about everything that is not 100% perfect at the moment, because if there is one thing I am good at it's obsessing over everything.
This weekend was a doozy. I was a roller-coaster of emotions. Jumbled feelings of inadequacy and disappointment mixed in with laughter and sleeping in, two of my favourite things. I woke up at 2am from a horrible dream, and then proceeded to pick and prod at myself like I was on a surgical table. Which is not like me, which then kept me up further with "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING! YOU LOVE YOURSELF! GO TO BED!" thoughts. Saturday I stayed up being stressed about something else. Sunday I cried it all out. So.. You can say that the last weekend of May wasn't my all-time favourite.
Which is fine. Not every weekend has to be perfect. Every not-so-nice weekend makes every other good one that much better. But I really hate not feeling like myself.
When I woke up on Monday, I checked my tumblr. (Side note: I love tumblr. I've had my account since I was in grade 11. That is 6 years of my life documented through photos and words and songs. I've also met some of the greatest people on that little site. Thanks for existing, tumblr.) I've been incredibly lucky to be able to help a few people here and there, and on Monday I had an anonymous message that read out like this:
What advice would you give to someone who doesn't know their worth/isn't sure if they want to be here anymore/is too stressed about their future to keep going?It took a bit of time for the bricks to hit me square in the face. This message from someone that is struggling and doubting myself sounded a lot like the echoes that were quietly running through my mind. I was starting to doubt my worth, my future, and myself. I was beginning to compare myself to others, I began to feel apathetic towards life. Over the past year I've been incredibly good at learning my worth, what I deserve, and what I want out of life. But what I have to learn how to be better at is being okay with the bad days and knowing that they are bound to happen; that the bad days teaches us things about ourselves, like how I really love to help people.
I thought about your question all day while I was at work.
I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to say what I need to say without sounding preachy or pretentious, but to put it simply, the advice I would give is that it always gets better. Easy to say, harder to believe. It’s hard to think things will get better until they do and you’re looking back in retrospect and you already know things got better. But when you’re struggling and dealing with horrible thoughts and feeling like you don’t want to exist anymore, the future is the last thing you want to be thinking about.
Whenever I’m up at 3am stressed out with everything going on in my life and doubting everything, I always try to remember that tough circumstances don’t last, tough people do. I repeat to myself that things will always get better. If rock bottom is where I need to restart/start, so be it. Rock bottom is where I’ll be fighting and working hard and getting dirt underneath my fingernails, getting to the future day by day.
"I’m here to tell you it’s okay to travel by foot. In fact, I recommend it. There is so much ahead that’s worth seeing; so much behind you can’t identify at top speed. Your teacher is correct: You’re going to be all right. And you’re going to be all right not because you majored in English or didn’t and not because you plan to apply to law school or don’t, but because all right is almost always where we eventually land, even if we fuck up entirely along the way."
The future has an ancient heart. Cheryl talks about traveling on foot, and I recommend it. It’s okay to get to the future at your own pace. Sometimes we can’t do things as society sees them. There isn’t a specific path that we all take. We get there when we get there, and that is good enough.
Your struggling does not make you weak, it makes you incredibly strong.
I can’t say that you’re going to wake up tomorrow or next week or next month and everything will be better. No one can guarantee that, but I can say one thing for sure though: The future wants you to be there. The future wants to welcome you with open arms, even if it takes you awhile to get there.
Everything to do with Caitlyn Jenner is a huge example of the future welcoming someone with open arms, even if it took her a little while to get there. But she’s here and she’s who she wants to be, at 65.
Not as important or as powerful as that but another example: this June will be the five year mark of me graduating from high school. On paper, I have done a lot and I haven’t done much. I’ve been to school for three years, I’ve had internships, I’ve worked, etc. In September, I’m going back to school at 22, and I’ll be finished when I’m 25/26. When I compare myself to other people at my age who have been to university and have accomplished more, I feel small. But in those five years I’ve grown so much as a person. 18 year old me would think about the future and want to cry. But 22 year old me has found her worth, found the path she wants to be on, and has found herself. Do I feel silly about going back to school? Sometimes. I worry about being an older student, I worry about being behind everyone at my age. But all that should matter is that I am trying to better myself and my future in any way that I can. You have to do what you have to do.
This is why it’s so important that you stay here with us, anon. The future is terrifying. I stand right beside you with that, but I also stand right beside you during your struggle. There are going to be battles you will fight in and you will win, but you may lose. Which is okay. The strongest of warriors are ones that have failed and failed but keep getting up to throw a few punches.
I sat at my kitchen table with my mother this afternoon and we spoke about everything going on with us right now. I said something about carrying the traumatic events we go through with us day by day, hoping that we figure it out and overcome them instead of letting them overtake us. My mother is a fighter. She’s been through hell and back. She’s hit rock bottom multiple times. There have been moments in her life when she didn’t want to go on, the future didn’t seem bright for her. When I spoke about dealing with these traumatic events, she turned and said “If I would’ve let what happened to me ruin my life, I would not know you or your siblings. Even though I didn’t know you were going to be there when these things were happening, I needed to believe that there was a brighter future even if it wasn’t very bright in the present.”
In regards to your worth, I promise you that you will always be worth it. Even if you can’t see it, I know that you’re worth it. You’re worthy of life, you’re worthy of the future, you’re worthy of every little thing you dream and crave. You’re always going to deserve the best, even when you don’t think so. You deserve beautiful days full of love and sunshine and iced coffee and sleeping in. You deserve to call the shots when it comes to your life. Fuck what anyone else says about you, you are worthy. I wrote about worth a few months ago because I only really just started really realizing my own worth. It’s something I struggle with every day.
I promise you that this period of struggle and tears and small successes will create you a beautiful future; one full of love and strength. This period of struggle will crack you open and make you the best version of yourself if you let it.
Your future is full of light. Good things are coming. I promise. I wish you the best. Lots of love.
PS: I’m always here.
To the kind person that reached out for my help, thank you. You made me simultaneously wake up and sleep soundly that night. You helped me reach out to someone else to talk to, instead of sitting alone with my thoughts at 2am. I hope I was able to help you, I hope you're feeling better, and I hope you're sleeping well, too. I'll be shaking it out for you.