I have led a toothless life, he thought. A toothless life. I have never bitten into anything. I was waiting. I was reserving myself for later on – and I have just noticed that my teeth have gone.Jean-Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason
One week into the new year and I feel great about it
big laughs it has only been seven days. There weren’t exactly thoughts of setting a resolution or certain goals for 2021, but I decided on being more mindful of everything about and around myself. Have I taken time-off from things that stress me out? Is the pressure I am feeling becoming unhealthy? Am I being insensitive or nosy? Things like that but in moderation. Yet stumbling this Sartre quote above made me rethink of the past years. I have always wanted to do and try out new things, improve on what I can already do, at times I just thought of completely devoting myself to the best on one thing. All that said, I never did and I never tried.
For one big reason: what I desired to explore were not as big to put so much effort on. These matters which I was interested in were mere hobbies after all – painting, sunrise hikes, creating a video – all of which I did not believe worth the time I could be spending on grander and bigger matters much more valuable. Year after year, the list of things I want to try have been piling up and sees no end because I was reserving myself, my time and effort and passion, for later, for bigger things.
And what happens in the waiting? None, I tell you. Waiting and waiting while thinking of doing these “smaller” hobbies but never doing it for the fear of wasting my motivation or whatnot. Sounds stupid, I know, yet I caged myself in this stupid thought for the longest time. Instead of allowing myself these tiny hobbies I so badly wanted, I pressured myself with building habits which I considered more helpful to my personal growth. I forced myself to read some of the most boring books, intensify my already blown-up anxiety about the future by planning my further studies and post-graduation plans. This has been my responsive behaviour whenever my mind slips and escapes to investing my time on so-called hobbies.
My perfectionist ass would not even give me break. The struggle to get myself think of even starting is an absolute mental catastrophe as it is, add on to that the act of actually starting but could not get started because this is not good enough. For the sake of damn beginning, despite managing to attempt starting then follows ceasing to do so. Best example? Journaling. My braincells were agonising, faced with a new, empty, cat Japanese notebook, they were screaming how can you write here! think of a good story to write! it has to be a concise but details how you ended up writing here! and.. yeah, actual peak devastation which ended in a scream that sounded like a dying whale (not that I have heard of one before).
couple gazillion more attempts and a few more mental meltdowns lies, for the love of my life, I did this on my journal.
The horrible scribble did more damage to me initially. I genuinely felt so sad for not properly writing on the page, so much that I attempted to rip the page off and pretend nothing happened and return to how I would normally write – hours of thinking what the first sentence ought to be and how would I structure the sentences. Glad that there were some rebellious braincells left and did this after entering another state of insanity from trying to think of what to write.
After this second wapakels angsty, mindless writing of all words I could possibly conjure at the emotional state I was in, I have come to a realisation how I stupid I was – for thinking that I should not get started with the simplest matters. That is not to say I regret being a perfectionist nor I wished I abandoned my old habits of only devoting my effort to certain things, no. It was the I can still do this, and not lose anything by doing so. That even if I am writing casually, it will not remove my ability to write academic papers nor lessen my capability to improve my writing skills. That even if I spend hours painting with terrible results, it could not possibly a waste of time and effort because even with my dissatisfaction with how it would turn out, I have seen the end of the tunnel and not merely forever wondering what could have been. That hiking treacherous trails would probably leave me incapacitated for days and not get things done, but it will not revoke anything.
This might sound utterly preposterous because it is, even to myself, but this is what goes on in my mind. This crazy argument of why, what, how cycle plus the terrifying criticism I give myself. I mean, I get hurt from what I think of myself and the years of living with these harsh opinions made me only recognise bitter comments. I do not trust fluffy, beautiful compliments.
I’ve put the biggest effort that I could in breaking out of this cycle. Through this blog and couple other projects I cannot wait to get started on and share with you all, slowly and though unsurely, I have been putting the greatest effort in the simplest things which just gives me so much joy and gratitude in my life. It was not an easy journey to reach this point, and I will probably go downward spiral once in a while, but at the very least I am finding myself mindfully, seeing myself getting better, not tomorrow or in the future but right here, in my still clumsy words and narration. I am properly seeing myself fail and succeed, floating in the middle, bouncing back and forth. I am seeing myself here, without the too heavy burden of the unknown self I can only see in my imagination.