Self care

I’ve been extremely unmotivated to study or create, as you will know if you’ve read my previous posts. People who know me all suggest it’s because of my break up and it’s possible because it is on my mind a lot and making it very hard for me to care about anything. I’m probably going to end up cramming for exams and not doing nearly as well as possible … but at this point I feel like I might be fine with that because I hardly care anymore. On top of that, I’ve been sick and riddled with infections and other fun stuff like that these past few days.

Even though I feel guilty for lying in bed pretty much all day and not doing any work, I feel like in some ways it’s justified because my body really needs to recover. 

Even if my studying takes a bit of a dive, I do have to remember to give attention to self care. It’s something I’ve neglected a little bit and am only just now taking better care of myself and it makes a huge difference. Hasn’t changed my lack of motivation, but at least I physically feel less shitty. 

That means, to begin with, GOING TO THE DOCTORS when you need to. Growing up, we pretty much never went to the doctor so it always makes me feel a bit strange and like it’s a waste of time to go but seriously it’s not! If you’re in pain or you don’t know what’s wrong with you, go to the frickin doctor. They will help you.

It also means taking time off work which I also am hesitant to do because I feel bad for not going into work. But sometimes your body just needs a rest. Could be your mental health, or could be physical. But I should stop being afraid to take time off.

Another sort of self care related thing is keeping my room tidy, doing laundry, washing and keeping the dishes, and things like that. This is because when everything is neat and in its proper place, I feel so much more relaxed. And it’s also nice to be able to grab a dish from the shelf when you’re hungry rather than find it in the sink under a pile of dirty dishes. Cleaning up as I cook is so much better even if I’m lazy to do it in the moment. 

Next, EATING HEALTHY. This is a huge one for me. I’ve been letting my diet go the past few weeks because I’ve not felt like eating home cooked food. I had no stomach for it, not to mention it takes time and effort. But it was mostly because I couldn’t stomach the idea. So I’ve been eating out a lot which is much more expensive. I tried to make some healthier choices, like going for pasta, salads, yoghurt, and sandwiches. But I also would typically get pies, polo buns, pastries, and basically either sugar filled stuff or something deep fried and filled with oil. It’s not that bad but when I had the day off and my cupboard was empty of anything but black tea and instant noodles, I decided I need to go buy some groceries. 

It’s so nice to be able to wake up and have food in my room. Previously, I would just reach for the instant noodles cuz it was nearby or I’d go out and buy something. But now I have fruits, yoghurt, bread, and eggs and the like in the house and it makes my body feel much better. For lunch and dinner I often slack because it’s easy to buy lunch since you’ll be out anyway and by the evening I’m tired to cook, but it’s worth it to make something simple when you have the energy. Doesn’t mean you can never eat out but remember your health because it’s so easy to forget! 

I’ve gotta to remember to drink water too and also remember that soft drinks and alcohol are not a good substitute.

Self care for me means the little things like putting on nail polish, makeup, oh also staying clean, like showering once you get home rather than collapsing straight into the bed. Sometimes you need to collapse onto the bed when you get back. Most of the time, you can get yourself ready and feel far more comfortable.

Shopping can be something of self care to me which I KNOW is terrible. I’m a psychology student and I have heard the arguments that say materialism stems from your psychological needs not being met. I know that they haven’t been met and I know I have mental health issues. I’ve been considering going to counseling but I always keep delaying it. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m too busy? Maybe I’m just scared it won’t work or I won’t know what to say … who am I kidding though? I have plenty to say. 

I can’t talk about self care without talking about mental health. I don’t know how to take care of it other than say just try to always put yourself in situations that are positive for your mental health and take yourself away from negative situations as much as you can. Be around people with good vibes. Take care of your physical health and make your life and environment filled with the things you love. And maybe don’t be like me and actually go therapy if you need it?

Also, breathe fresh air and go outside sometimes.

I feel like everything I’ve said in this post has been painfully obvious and you’ve probably read it all before but maybe it’ll serve as a reminder to myself if I ever slack on self care.

Seriously, though, having food in the house is AMAZING 

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soulmates

the moment when you’re in the thick of it, your mind tells you that you’ll never find anyone else …

that no one will ever love you as much …

that you will never love anyone as much …

but my logical brain has never believed in the idea of soulmates. i don’t believe that there’s only one person for you and that you both were made for each other or anything like that. maybe I’ll change my mind if I find someone who completes me like a soulmate would. but right now I believe that there are a lot of people who’ll be a good match for each other, and if they both love each other and choose to commit, then they’re set, even if they aren’t soulmates. and it means if you lose someone who was a great match for you … you can find someone else, who will be equally good or even better. I also believe that the choice to love and commit plays a huge role rather than some choice of fate. 

But while I believe there’s no such thing as a soulmate, I wonder if it is possible to love again 

Will I be able to love anyone else? 

I know that this is my brain being dramatic. I know that with time I will be able to.

But right now, it doesn’t feel that way

passion

ive been feeling such a lack of passion 

Maybe feeling is the wrong word because it’s more like the opposite of feeling

I have always felt and I still feel this enormous pressure to do something great with my life. To make something great. To BE something great. Or all three.

It’s not even other people putting this pressure on me, although that could be part of it. Since I was young, people would comment on how smart I was and all I could accomplish academically in my life. They’d comment on my writing ability, say I was talented and could make something of that. I feel like people expect more from me.

But most of all, I do expect so much more from myself. 

Or maybe not “expect”. Rather, I WANT so much more. I want to do great things. I need to do great things. I yearn for it. 

I don’t understand where this compulsion comes from or why the idea of being normal and living a completely normal, unremarkable life is so deeply set as an image of a failure in me. 

I wouldn’t look down on anyone else who led a completely normal life but for myself? Sometimes I actually envy people who can just be happy without feeling like they must be great, because that would be such a relief off my back if I could only do the same. But I can’t because I always feel like I’ve fallen short in that case. 

I was telling my friend about this tendency and she said that that doesn’t have to be a good thing and that I shouldn’t give up on having big dreams because not everyone has this urge to be great and I could make something of it. I like her spin on it.

But my problem is that I feel like I don’t have it in me to be great, even whilst I feel like I must be.

I don’t feel like I have a natural talent at anything. I know people will say talent is overrated … but you can’t deny that it’s still part of what makes you great and while I suppose you may not need to be extremely talented you first need at least a little talent in your field and it also makes it a whole lot easier to become great. 

The other aspect is hard work. They say it can make up for talent. I often feel disheartened because I will have to begin training almost from ground zero now, at 19, while there are people who have been practicing and putting in that hard work since very young. How do you compete with that?

I know full well that I don’t put enough work into whatever field it is I’m working at at the time. I simply don’t have the motivation to do it and that’s what this whole problem ultimately comes down to. I don’t want it enough … don’t want to be great enough … not enough to put in the work that’s actually needed to accomplish that. 

I want to be great but I don’t want to put in the work. 

Or maybe I want to want to be great.

Or I don’t want to want to be great because it kills me how much I fail at it and how it almost feels like I can’t make myself succeed … like trying is merely a constant war with myself.

I sometimes wish that I could just be a normal girl. Sometimes I think maybe that’s what I want above all. I want to have as much fun as I can … just fun, nothing else, and I’ll just do the bare minimum of work that I need to so I can have fun. That’s what so many people have done before me and will continue to do. I want to have a normal job and then go shopping, eat out with my friends, watch movies, binge TV, go on dates, sleep in … all those completely ordinary things that just bring immediate gratification to yourself. 

Yet, will I be able to say I will truly feel fulfilled within that lifestyle? 

I just know that I won’t. That I will feel like a failure, that I will feel like I’ve stopped short, that I will feel like I’m letting myself down, and that I will feel incomplete. 

I want to do something more but I lack passion. 

I think ultimately I don’t have to be great. That’s not what I’m looking for. But I am looking to leave a legacy. I want to make a mark. It doesn’t mean that everyone has to appreciate what I have to offer. But as long as I can leave something that someone can find beauty or meaning or worth in, then I can feel like I’ve done something more. 

But I suppose I do still get the kind of feeling that a legacy can’t just be little old me. My legacy has to be the best that I have to offer. I want it to be all of me and at its finest. 

But I sure don’t feel anywhere near my finest in terms of my skill and my mental capacity … not at this moment. And I just can’t be bothered to do it either.

searching

all my life, i feel like im searching

i feel a longing in my heart but i dont know what the longing is for

it’s like when you look up at the stars and it just hurts your heart

that’s the feeling i feel most nights

i guess

i know some things that i search for…

meaning

truth

purpose

love

feeling

peace

passion

identity

belonging

confidence

happiness …

There’s always always something.

Why can’t I ever be content with what I have? Will there ever come a point when I can stop searching … when ive found everything i seek?

Some people say that the continual longing within the human heart reflects the longing for God that will only ever be realised after death. But i dont know what I think about that. There are many people who stop longing and searching and who find peace in the here and now.

Others say that there are people who by personality are naturally “seekers”. The whole process of the search .. with the very feeling of longing and the anticipation of discovering a something more … is what sustains them. They do not reach a state of content attainment because it is in their nature to be always searching and when there is nothing more to search for (after having spent so much of life seeking), what do you do?

I can understand this mindset. It is an almost frightening prospect, I will admit, to have everything and to stop searching because … what if it is not enough? Yet, perhaps that is the wrong question because if it wasn’t enough I could always go on searching for something that is.

I feel like I would be content to fulfil these longing feelings and be done with them. And yet Ill never know for sure until they are fulfilled.

And perhaps they never will be. because all these abstract hopes and dreams are things that i dont know if i can ever feel fully content within. whether this is because of the fallibility of the human mind and the inability to comprehend everything in this world … whether this is because of a lack of a god that i will find after death … whether its because im seeking perfection in an imperfect world …

i think i seek understanding … most of all .. and fulfilment

i dont need perfection for that, but maybe its still beyond the bounds of this earth

maybe im just an incorrigible seeker

but i dont know

because

im tired of always longing

never just realising

i wonder if any of it matters

i put so much stock into making decisions …

into choosing the right one,

into choosing one i wont regret,

into choosing one that will make me happy,

into choosing the best option,

into doing it all right.

but does it even matter and do my decisions really have such an impact as i imagine they will?

i fret and worry so much about whether it’s the right one, how other people will react and be impacted, how it’ll change my future …

but i think of how ill die one day, and maybe ill even die soon

and i think of the millions of decisions that i’ve made before and will make in future and the millions of decisions that have been made in all of history

and i feel how insignificant it really all is

how life isnt long and maybe it doesnt really matter so much

because the choices i make arent going to be earth shattering or catastrophic or cataclysmic …

even if they seem to be at the time

yes, i know my life will be impacted and so will the lives of other people

but we’re humans and we’re resilient and we’re adaptable

and we’ll make something out of every choice

something survivable

maybe even something good

of course every choice is going to change what happens and of course if you choose one way there is some certain path and alternate future that you will never experience

but it doesnt mean that that alternate path is good and this one is bad, or vise versa

we can’t experience more than one life in this body (at least not in this lifetime) even though lord knows i wish we could

and the real difficulty

but necessity

is in accepting the choices we make and the one life that that gives us

Shame and embarrassment 

The human condition embarrasses me … disgusts me, I could even say. But I shouldn’t be, I really shouldn’t.

Human condition … by that, I mean the deep meaningful things in life. Love, sex, family, pain, death, suffering. its hard to describe exactly what irks me. But I will try … try to put into words the way I shrink from this.

I feel embarrassed. Uncomfortable.

Every time I’m hit with something that means something. Someone that means something. Something more than things that don’t matter.

It’s about being confronted with emotion perhaps. Or maybe it’s not emotion. No, it’s more like being confronted with

mess

ugliness

dirt

taboo

something i dont understand

but also something beautiful and amazing and frightening and

so very very very

human.

 

 

 

there’s nothing to be ashamed of

i don’t know who i am

i’ve never been an expert in identity and i have been in something of a crisis since … 2013?

that said i feel like i’ve completely lost touch with myself recently

so many people say things like, before you enter into a relationship, you have to know who you are, and before you can know what you want, you have to know yourself and other sayings like those

but how is one supposed to begin the process of self discovery?

how do i begin to know myself when the thought of it just leaves me with a blank piece of paper and jumbled thoughts?

is it perhaps a better starting point to ask …

who do i want to be?

what do i want?

or maybe, who do i not want to be?

what do i not want?

who am i not?

these still leave me lost. i’m still nineteen but i feel lost without an identity and i wish i could find one soon

for so long, i’ve defined my identity by my interests but this year i’ve been increasingly losing interest in the things that used to excite me or the interests comes and goes. i dont know if this is a symptom of depression and isn’t my real self or if im changing. in any case, is depression necessarily a false reflection of oneself if you have it all the time or most of the time? if im not myself half the time … then doesn’t that mean that other self is really me?

i define myself by what i study but im even at a lost as to what to major in and whether ive made the right choice. studying has come to take up much of my time and the rest of it is social media and little nothings that i dont understand what i can say and think about myself

for six months, i’ve defined myself by my relationship with my boyfriend. we’ve spent so much time (wonderful times) together. it’s been hours of watching movies, cuddling, sex, keeping warm on the hour and a half commute to uni, eating pizza, strolling in the city streets holding hands. it kept me from thinking too much and it was where i belonged. it was my identity.

now that it’s over, i feel the full extent of how lost i am on who i am.  i dont know what to do and what and how to think when im alone. it wasnt forever and if its not forever then it wont always define you and there has to be more

of course theres more

is there more?

and yet i feel this desperate desperate need to know who i am. and why? why does it matter to have a label and a neat tagline to describe myself? why do i need to be able to say, hi, this is who i am and this is where i stand in the world?

i want to know who i am. i want to understand. i want to feel. i want to know what to do. what i want to do. what there is beyond going through the motions. i want to know that im more than a brainless machine.

i want to know that i have a soul and i want to touch my soul and feel reassured

alone

It’s hard to be alone. I used to be an expert at it. All I wanted was quiet and peace and my own thoughts in my own head. I could sit in my room for hours, studying, writing, reading, and thinking. I was the kid who’d be glad to be sent to her room as punishment. 

But now it’s painful. Sometimes I do wish i won’t see anyone I know so I can just plug in my headphones and listen in blissful tranquility. Watch the roads go by on the bus or the train instead of making small talk. Being so in the moment as to just breathe in the cold air and eat the city streets with my eyes.

But I’m scared of being alone. Because it’s when it’s just me and my mind that the darkness comes creeping in. There’s nothing to come between it … nothing to distract me from an existential crisis, nothing to make me more physical and less mental. 

I feel so lonely. I miss having a friend to laugh with, talk about sweet nothings. I miss hugs. I miss feeling like a part of a group instead of an outsider. Other people laughing together stings. 

I wish I could be at peace with being alone. I wish I could be at peace with my own thoughts. I wish I could appreciate doing and being nothing but alive. 

writing and loneliness

I haven’t written any fiction for a long time … the last time was perhaps early this year, but even then, it was only a short bit of flash fiction. The last time I wrote extensively was February when I was finishing up my novel Eunice. 

There’s a big part of me that really wants to get back into writing.

At the same time, I’m nervous to do so.

I’ve come to realise part of why writing is such a struggle … oftentimes, such a draining, painful process.

It’s incredibly isolating.

On the surface, writing fiction is typically a solitary activity (unless you’re writing collaboratively which is a different story). You are alone in front of your computer or paper, and it’s just you and the words. Even if there are people around you while you write, it’s you and the words. You’re not communicating to the outside world … not yet, at least.

But deeper … below the surface … writing requires you to truly be inside your mind. This is why I find it difficult to write with other people around. Technically, writing doesn’t have to be a solitary activity, but for me it’s much easier when it is. And that’s because writing requires you to be isolated in your mind.

When I write an essay, it’s typically about the real world. Even if it’s not (let’s say it’s an English essay on a novel) it is still grounded in the real world and, more importantly, the essence of the piece is not fiction. Also, because it’s an essay and doesn’t need a huge amount of creativity, I can write it fairly mindlessly, without applying my full mental powers to it.

The very term fiction, however, indicates that it’s about something that isn’t real. It’s about ideas and characters and places in your head. And it’s creative writing (emphasis on creative), so I really can’t do it with only half a mind. That means I put my entire mind into creating and writing about a world that doesn’t exist … with characters who don’t exist … events that didn’t happen. I truly immerse my mind in this fiction, because I need to if it’s going to be any good.

And that’s a truly isolating experience.

I come out of writing feeling this disconnection when I talk to real people. I feel even a disconnection with the world. I feel an intense sense of my own loneliness – of being in a separate mind and body from everyone else and completely unable to bridge this distance. Even then, this description doesn’t quite describe what I feel after writing fiction. I can only approximate this feeling with words like “disconnection” “loneliness” and “alienation”.

Maybe I can liken coming out of the writing shell to living life in a daze or as if it’s a dream – and not a nice dream at that. It’s more like a nightmare.

It’s switching to a different reality and in this reality you are all alone. Your characters ignore your existence. The real people who would acknowledge you are in the other reality. And you’re not quite able to be fully in that reality either … not with one foot in another place.

The more I think about my stories, the more my mind becomes entrenched in the world of them and the farther I am from reality. When I do go back to the real world, I can feel something is different.

And I feel tired. The whole process is so so tiring.

I don’t know if other writers feel this and, if they do, to what extent. I don’t know if it’s just me, or if it’s something inherent in writing about worlds and places that don’t exist. (I know writing is often based on the real world, but it is still at its core not quite the same). I do think that I like to write. Having written makes me feel incredibly fulfilled and I love my characters and the stories in my head. I want to get them out and make them into something concrete. And the act of writing itself is a beautiful incredible thing. I will never stop being in awe of it and or feeling the compulsion to write.

But I often wonder if writing stories really is good for me (or my mental health). I wonder if it’s worth it. I wonder if it will really make me happy.

And all too often, the answer in my head is “no”.

Life is never going to be perfect

Life is never going to be perfect.

We all know that. We’ve always known that.

Haven’t we?

But still I always struggle to come to terms with the idea. At the back of my mind, there’s always the unconscious wish for a world – a vision – a fantasy – of how my life would be. Of how would be.

But I’ll say it again.

Life is never going to be perfect.

But still I’ll love it for what it is.

I’ll take the imperfect beauty and wonder and fun and love and laughter and intoxication ….

and get high

high

high

I’m

embracing everything and everyone for what they are.

And it’s enough.

It’s so so so enough.