Lately, I’ve been too scared to write. Too scared of what will form from the tapping of my fingertips on a keyboard. Too scared that I’ll say exactly what I’m thinking. Or even worse–too scared to see what that is.
I always write for other people, adding a positive spin or some beautiful life lesson to be learned. It’s manipulated my way of thinking to the point where it’s impossible for me to just write for myself. No spin. No plot twist that makes it all seem worth it. No lesson to be learned.
I guess I’ve thought, for too long now, that if I can somehow turn my life into something other people can relate to or benefit from, then I’ve accomplished something. Then I’ve turned the traumas, the pain, the diagnoses and the failures into something worth living for. If at the end of the day I can look myself in the eye and believe I’ve helped someone, then it was all worth it. ALL of it. Even the shit I haven’t said or written or made a video about.
But that’s not what’s happened. Now, when I look myself in the eye and tell myself that I’ve actually helped people through being so open and honest about my life—I just stare back.
So fucking what.
A blank stare looking back into a blank shell of a person.
In an attempt to make my life worth something, I’ve inadvertently turned my life into this meaningless culmination of stories and anecdotes that are supposed to help others. But here’s the thing: it’s still my life. It’s not something I can write or say or record and then be done with.
Yes, I was sexually assaulted. Yes, my father committed suicide. Yes, I had passive suicidal thoughts last year. Yes, I had to medically withdrawal from school because I was failing 5/5 of my classes. Yes, yes, yes. But I have to wake up the next day, get up out of bed (probably too late and drenched in sweat from having another nightmare), and I have to keep living. These paths in my life go far beyond their 15 minute-long stories.
I was driving the other day, something I do a lot, when I had a bone-chilling realization: I don’t know how to live my life for myself. And before you think this is some twenty-something Millennial who’s hoping to become a #relatable young adult novel main character, let me explain.
This isn’t me saying “Gosh! I’m just so darn thoughtful and selfless that I can’t seem to find it in my heart to do something just for myself!” *smug but adorable shrug*. No, this is me saying that I literally don’t know how to find fulfillment in doing anything I deem even remotely selfish.
I can’t go into a profession that won’t make me feel like I’m improving the lives of others, leading me to rarely ever feel content at a job. I can’t date someone that I don’t feel like I’m making better, which often leads to very pitiful, one-sided relationships that are far beneath me. I can’t let someone worry about me, hence why I always tell my heart-wrenching stories once I’ve worked through the hardest part of them. I can’t pursue any projects that don’t have at least some kind of heartfelt meaning behind it.
I just fucking CAN’T.
And you know what that leads to? Pure emptiness. Pure emptiness because I’ve never done enough. I’ve never helped enough people. I’ve never produced enough content to advocate for what I believe in. I’ve never fought hard enough. I’ve never loved enough. I’ve never *insert any verb you can think of here* enough.
If I lay my head down at night and don’t feel like I’ve drained every ounce of myself into this world–I’ve failed.
But we all know that this doesn’t make sense. We can all take a step back and objectively say it isn’t healthy to drain your veins and spend your last waking breath on things or people without in some way being refilled. It isn’t healthy to not replenish your soul, your heart and your mind. It isn’t healthy to not know how to simply live, unapologetically and unconditionally, for yourself. This is obvious to you because hindsight is 20/20.
Unfortunately, I’ve been wearing glasses since the first grade and went legally blind (without them) years ago, so maybe I just need a little more time until I can actually see this.