You know it is funny how life works. We are raised being told to obey. Then when we mature we are told to understand things on our own and to take care of ourselves. Then we get in trouble for doing just that. Now independence is a loose term, because freedom is not all it is cracked up to be. You are free to do as you choose, but there will ALWAYS be consequences.
Even for girls who never speak out of turn, for boys who hold open doors, for women who remain humble and maternal, and even the men who remain faithful and morally sound. Everyone will redeem their stream of consequences. Some call it karma, I call it the cycle of life.
See we never really stop going through obstacles because the only way to grow and improve is to keep pushing toward something and never settle. Life is a balance of insanity with prosperity and while that sounds like an odd mixture, we all take part in this vicious whirlwind of emotions.
I grew up doing what I was told, obeying the rules to a T, helping others, and letting others get their way to avoid confrontation. How did that work out for me? I got taken advantage of. Again, and again and again. To this day I still continue to allow those around me to consume MY life, but it is because that while I saw myself as an independent young woman, I would remain in the back hiding my voice and following the rules so that I would stay out of trouble.
It is a choice I made willingly because I figured the outcome would turn to me being able to expand my horizons trying new things. I do things for the experience, not for the compensation. That is where I was wrong.
Now I do not think I am the prettiest or the smartest girl around town. I won’t say I am ugly or dumb either. But I will bring into the light that I, like any other 19-year-old girl, take on self-conscious qualities and take the brunt of others misery. Meaning at times I allow myself to basically get used as a pass-through punching bag. Got problems? I got answers. Need help? I’ll be there. Need someone to take the work load off you? I can take it. It became such an overwhelming feeling for me that I realized I was no longer doing anything for myself. I was doing everything to please others and while I was receiving the credit and awards, I wasn’t receiving the satisfaction I deserved.
My routine to others seems so simple. “You’re a regular teenager” or “You’re a soccer mom in training” are the two most common responses I receive. That’s not the case. I am overworked, overachieving, and overly stressed by my own doing and I didn’t realize it until after I saw myself in the mirror one morning while washing my face and I did not recognize who was staring back at me. Physically, I knew my appearance had not changed. But I had allowed myself to go through 6 months of this work sleep repeat routine that I was no longer happy or doing what I loved. I was forcing myself out of bed to meet the requirements of those around me. I was skipping meals unintentionally because of how busy I would get throughout the day. There are more occasions than I can count where my boyfriend would make me food and he would ask whether I had eaten earlier and a null look of I cannot remember would appear on my face.
With loss of appetite came mood swings, mood swings led to attitude changes, which led to aggravation and before I knew it I went from the little girl who was so excited to grow up into the adult that absolutely hated the world she has surrounded herself in.
I would write my problems away. Literally. My destressing outlet had always been writing and photography and suddenly I found myself hating that too.
It was not by the fault of my career or personal life. I always dreamed of doing exactly what I am doing today, but I didn’t imagine losing my grasp of life during the process. I have always had my outlets for stress relief and while they seem like normal activities to others they completely change my attitude towards, well, everything.
I run to breathe.
I read to breathe.
I sing at the top of my lungs with all the windows down to breathe.
I do yoga to breathe.
I just get away to breathe.
I write to breathe.
Everyone’s life is consumed with a whirlwind of emotions and nine times out of ten you will find them ignoring their problems and finding their outlets to destress and ignore their world.
Let me tell you from experience. That will NEVER work.
I grew up in a high school where basically 90% of my grade has smoked something in the past or uses marijuana as their outlet because it is an easy “medication” to a much deeper-rooted problem. Vapes, E-Cigs, Cigarettes, weed, toxins which rot away your lungs and brain. I am a rare breed and while I have been offered and told time and time again to “just take a hit” I say no. I know it sounds like such a small instance and has absolutely no substance when looking at bigger pictures but I stand my ground and get the rolling eyes or the “don’t be a prude” and the stares like I am some crazy alien… but I say no. And I say this because as far as I can remember, it is the one thing that I have never settled to avoid conflict. I have never lowered my standards to allow others to dictate MY life. I have taken charge of my life, not because my parents told me to or because of all the insanity caused from “getting that one high”. I am sure that one time probably won’t hurt me, and I see everyone else doing it. But if I allow myself to bow down before a drug to forget the world, I will forget who I am. I will forget my goals and settle for average.
I took red ribbon week and made it a 365-day event. “Drug free is the way for me” and “Say no to drugs” might as well be imprinted on my forehead.
You see I say all this because everyone goes through their stages of doubt where they wonder what if I just let myself go and see what it’s like to be wild and free. I personally am too hard-headed and stubborn to allow myself to break the promise I made to that girl in the mirror when I was young. I promised myself to never allow something or someone to control my life and my happiness, and that if I ever didn’t recognize myself, to just breathe.
I know I am not perfect. I know that there will be days where I wake up and wonder why I am not happy. I also know that the only way a caterpillar call become a butterfly is by completely metamorphosing its life. Surrounding itself in chaos within a tiny cocoon. Being under the ruble mess that life throws at you and rising above to not ignore the situation but fix it is the only way that you can transform into the beautiful being that you are. I am not saying all smokers are bad or that they are giving up on life. I am saying that If you want to achieve the impossible, you have to limit your distractions, keep your promises, and do everything in your power to be happy WITHOUT self-medicating and WITHOUT a substance which just causes you to forget.
We cannot grow when we hold ourselves back. Love yourself and know that no matter how bad it may be at this moment, no matter how much you want to curl up in a ball and never spiral out, no matter what insanity is taking over your existence. It just gets that much better as long as you stand your ground and know your purpose. Stop taking in these toxins mentally and physically. Stop making a mountain out of a mole hill. Stop settling for comfort. Stop pressuring yourself to be perfect when you don’t even know who you are yet.