Spoiler: Life is actually the exact opposite of Forrest Gump. Screw that feather on a breeze. Life is more like Google Maps. You have to know your destination to get directions. If you want to know what to do, you have to know what you want and, just as important, what you don’t. Then you have to scream it at yourself until you just believe that shit.
Have you ever done that thing where you imagine yourself in five, ten or fifteen years? It’s weird, but it really helps. I know I used to do it all the time when I was a kid. All this awesome stuff I was going to be and do. And I had the right idea, too. Just keep doing the thing I was/wanted to be good at. That strategy has never failed me.
But you know how stuff happens. I lost my biggest fan. The playing field broadened. And then I found I’d go any short space without everyone telling me how awesome I am, and I lost all confidence. How could I not win that contest? How could I not be the fucking best? I must suck and be awful and i’m a loser and oh god i wanna die…
Oh yeah, and then there’s the folks who go out of their way to remind you “you’re not the center of the Universe.” Yeah, I kind of figured that out, now shut up. I had to really shut those voices out. But the voice I needed to shut up so hard was the one in my brain that started to say that too.
Yeah so, I got to a point where when I imagined myself years on, aside from my own funeral, I could not see anything good. So that’s when I started labeling the “me” and “not me.” And please, all you older white dudes who’ve benefited from nothing but privilege your entire life do not pull the Alan Watts Buddhist routine on me . My ego’s done been broke down, bitch. I need to build it back up on some better foundations, thanks. Besides, why ya gotta try and hold a gal down, boyzzz?
Oh that’s another thing. Being a girl/woman/female. I guess I was raised like a boy. I learned to throw like one and tie my own fishing knots and all . But it was always about what I could achieve and not really about pleasing others. My Mom was just as likely to be organizing a strike as taking me shopping. And of course Dad because, ya know, he never got his Sammie (the boy my mom was supposed to have). And he really dug the fact that I wanted to know everything, and learn how to do everything. He wanted to help me with that. And he did.
It was really weird going out into a world that expected something else from me beyond brains and talent. I taught myself some female stuff, but I internalized some of the bad in that as well. Mainly the worrying about others and what they think more than yourself. That’s a bunch of bull and mainly the reason why those old male baby-boomers need the Buddhism more than I. To be fair, guys my own age know more about tough times. We’re closer to our Great Depression, WWII grandparents than Boomers. You guys had it all then blew it for the rest of us. Thanks.
But I digress, so I started to find “me” and “not me.” What then? Well frankly, I started to get pissed…at me. Which was a start. But recently I realized I had to take it further. It’s not about repeating “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And gosh darnnit, people like me.” in the mirror. No. I have to scream it at me.
Every day all the time. I’M NOT GIVING UP ON YOU JESS! I can’t expect anyone else to do it. I’m not even asking. I got this.
And, yeah, I’m still a big geek. . . like YUUUUUUGE. Well actually a five foot one geek with myopia and allergies. In my mind, I slay!
Take care of yourselves brothers and sisters, you’re ultimately all you can count on.
So, cue the Rocky music. And remember: Never give up. Never surrender.