“Somewhere there’s a score being kept, so you have an obligation to live life as well as you can, be as engaged as you can… The secret is to have a sense of yourself, you real self, you unique self. And not just once in a while, or once a day, but all through the day, the week and life.” –Bill Murray
One of the hardest things about realizing my recent downturn in mental health was nothing more than a symptom of an ongoing problem which in fact doesn’t involve anyone other than my self (that was quite a preface), is that I can’t really blame my emotions on anyone else. I guess I had slowly been working toward this conclusion for a while. Some time in college I realized it wasn’t my ex boyfriend “making me” feel a certain way; I was “letting him” influence my emotions. Since then, I’ve tried to accept more responsibility for how I feel, but I think I was mostly coasting along in the higher waters of my emotional life. It felt like the deep stuff sometimes, but January 2013 has been a reminder that there’s a deep place inside me, and some nasty little water creatures mucking about in there.
Nice metaphor, eh? But wait, I don’t mean to blame water creatures either.
Building on the foundation that my emotions are my own responsibility, I’m coming to realize that this runs true to the core. My emotions are my choice, in every situation. The way I interpret things is all on me. And the fact that I’ve been deeply deprived of a sense of self is really starting to glare in the spotlights I’m shining.
The quote from Bill Murray struck a chord with me today, because I think that I am actually quite in tune with the fact that I have a unique self, but have a pretty hard time expressing it, in either words or actions. So few people know about the funny weird things that I only do on my own here, the private jokes I have with myself, the alarming amount of dedication I have to my work and my friends and my self. I think I even forget to acknowledge these things sometimes, caught up in the drama of interacting with other people.
I call it drama because I think I’ve been making it that way—I’ve been asking for friends, rather than giving permission for people to spend time with me. I guess that sounds narcissistic, and I don’t mean it that way. I just mean that I think being myself, and living wherever I am in my life and this little-big world, shouldn’t require that I constantly try and convince people to be a part of my life. The good friends I have, from high school, from Grinnell, from Indy and here in London, I never have to ask for. They’re just in my life, in the ways they can be, and we enjoy each others’ company as we can, and the joy of that mutual caring and dedication to each unique relationship is fulfilling for me. I sometimes find people though, that don’t seem to want that, but I push it anyway. I’m tired of trying to push myself into anyone’s life.
I’m tired of pushing in general, I’d rather start going with the flow.
I’d rather tune in more to me, and what’s going on around me, and simply be me—good, bad, stubborn, creative, anxious, laughing—in this life.