Destined for “Almost”

My quiet, slightly messy apartment on a Saturday afternoon looks like a picture of mild chaos. Nothing is really disorderly, but there are way too many empty bottles in the kitchen from nights and nights of drinking, the carpet is coated in debris and cat hair, and my bathroom counter is scattered with the careless rushing of half-assed morning preparations.

I’m “this close” to getting the things I want: returning all of the bottles and having a clean place to cook; dismantling the computer desk–but first, to find places for all of the things on the desk…

I’m “this close” to going back to the gym. What’s my excuse now? I’m done with my writing apprenticeship; I have the time. I’m “this close” to writing a new song on guitar. I just need my muse.

Do we all tend to live in a place between chaos and order? Is that what makes us thrive, ultimately?

When things are too good, it’s boring. When life is a mess, we break down. But when the sine-wave of ups and downs form to create a rolling pattern of predictability, we find reprieve.

We need just enough chaos to keep us moving.

If that’s the case, then why do I feel like I can never catch up? Why is my mind pummeled by inhibiting thoughts of “never enough”?

I took on a writing apprenticeship to hone my skills in editing and writing. This is the first time I have felt inspired to write since it ended a week ago. I applied to continue with the program as a teaching assistant and was not chosen; I contacted them about being a volunteer editor and heard nothing. I need to keep trying–but my initial reaction is: Why am I not being heard?

This is my calling…or so I thought.

Everything in life that I have ever wanted I have wanted so ferociously.

A thousand pages of script written manically with sweat dripping off my brow; My soul being pulled through my mouth thread by thread until a pile of invisible karma lay in my palms, as I present it to my lover; The pounding of musical notes and harmonies reverberating into the cosmos… Everything I do is with utmost passion.

And yet it never quite seems to do. Everything just sort of slips through my hands at one point or another.

I have learned to let go so well that I’ve reached Zen Buddhist Monk status by now.

All of these things haunt me to a degree, still, as I am only human. Is it possible to be both a respected writer and musician? Do I have what it takes? Am I lovable enough to be worth committing to?

The most painful aspect of all of this wondering is that I am really scared that I am just not destined to have the things I want. I don’t want much, really. I want my words to be heard, I want to be a good friend and thought of respectfully, and most of all, I really want to be loved. I want to be loved so much that they cannot imagine a life without my presence. I want to be that precious to somebody.

I always put others first and not myself. I negate the things for which I long in order to compromise or give happiness to others. And it seems, in life, that others are totally fine with this.

Totally.

I am told I am so special. I am told so many other things than that, too, and yet I feel I’m not enough. And I know, truthfully, that I am not enough.

I am almost enough.

Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way

[some adult language]

I was speaking to a friend the other day, and she said something to the effect of, “Change sucks!” It made sense that her sentiment was as such, since she had recently broken up with her boyfriend.

Normally, I am not a big fan of change. Having a lot of anxiety naturally, I become very uncomfortable in new situations or when something suddenly shifts and is not what I was mentally prepared for or expected. Life lesson, Mandy: Things never stay the same.

But lately! Oh, lately, I have been lavishing in change. It is all around me like swift zephyrs of refreshing air. I love the way it tousles my hair and forces me to inhale deeply and think: This is new. I can handle this.

What changed my attitude? What’s that line from the movie, Idiocracy? (One of my favorite movies.) I think it goes something like, “Either lead, follow, or get out of the way.” I was definitely tired of following, and I had been getting out of the way for so long I was surrounded by suffocating vines of depression, stagnancy, lost motivation, and self-loathing. My only choice was to finally lead my own life.

Although I’ve hated change whenever it meant I was losing something I loved or was comfortable with, I also knew in the back of my mind that something good would come out of all the pain, inevitably. You have to prune the tree to get new growth. It’s just the way of life. However, recently, the changes have been so positive! I can get on board with these kind of changes. Heck yeah!

I have made decisions in the past month or so that will change things for me drastically:

  1. New roommate moving in, in July
  2. Writing apprenticeship, which is taking up ALL my free time
  3. Purging, purging, purging

Number three… This one is mainly because of number one. Why am I getting a new roommate? I have been living alone for three years, and I love it. I really do. It’s pretty amazing, and I suggest that everyone do this for a period of time at least once in their life. However, I want to save money. I miss companionship. It helps out my friend. So, this will be a massive adjustment, but I will make it through.

I need to get rid of things, to pare down my material existence, so there’s room for my friend! I have been putting this off for three years; what better time than now? I truly believe that emotional baggage is directly correlated to physical baggage. I have been donating, throwing out, and giving things away, and already, I feel mentally lighter. Some of these things were related to my old existence with my ex fiancé, and it just really was time to let go.

The biggest change of all is my attitude. I was tired of being a prisoner of my own negative thoughts. I am determined to take the dying plant and prune the shit out of it until it has no choice but to soak up the radiant sun and luscious water and GROW.

Being in a romantic entanglement with someone from another state forces me to be busy. To be positive. To be focused. I cannot dive in head-first and get lost in him, because he has his own life, too! This is a good thing for me. Really good. I like this change from the last relationship I entered, where all I wanted was to see him. I had the ability to see him whenever I so chose, but guess what? He chose to back-burner me a lot; I was lost in a neglectful relationship, which harvested a very negative self-image and worth. Ugh! How did I let myself get there?

This is the season for change. It is now. My mom always reminds me that I am in my Saturn years (it’s an astrology thing), where the choices I make now will impact the next thirty years of my life. I was drowning myself in alcohol, being lazy and unmotivated, and fearing I would never be loved. Is that what I want for my future? Fuck no.

So, I changed.

Flipping the Switch

I have been lost in an endless sea; treading water in an unknown ocean. Three years ago, my soul mate walked out our apartment door–our home. It was the most selfless thing he’s ever done.

In his absence, I have learned to love myself and to embrace the things with which I feel impassioned. I started going outside more. I made new friends and reconnected with old. I played the guitar every day and improved my singing. I wrote incessantly like a madwoman, exorcising all of the years of latent agony which had caked up inside the walls of my heart and mind.

Simply, I began to live again.

In my beautiful rediscovery of self, I couldn’t help but get lost in a new lover’s strikingly breath-taking eyes. The intensity of passion I felt when staring at him was something I had not experienced in so long that I had completely forgotten what it felt like to burn with vivacity at that level. I became addicted.

Then, I lost myself.

For over two years, on and off, I talked about him. Breathed him. Dreamed him. My biggest concern was his happiness. I wanted nothing more than to look into those eyes forever. I fell in love.

Falling in love and losing yourself is like swimming out to the middle of a vast, open body of water. It’s overwhelmingly astonishing until you realize that you have no idea how to get home. You can’t even tell in which direction you should start swimming.

Eventually, you get tired and sink.

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I have been really unhappy for a long time. You can be an unhappy person but still have moments of happiness. That’s how I would describe myself for the last two and a half years: As someone who was devastatingly incomplete but found happiness where she could.

Six months ago, a kindred spirit began to help me mend. He allowed me to express my deepest fears and the whole of my pain without trying to win my romantic love. This was a first for me. During this time, I began to examine myself in a new light. Instead of burying my pain or accepting my fate, I implored and urged my issues, anxieties, and fears to bravely surface and reveal themselves.

Finally, I began to heal.

It was probably two months after I started to recover that I reconnected with a friend I had met in late 2013. Now, when people use the term “drop-dead gorgeous” to describe a person, this is him. Sure, I was always attracted to him; I was very aware of the instant connection we formed the night we met, which grew over time. I was just so deeply submersed in cloudy, murky water I couldn’t see beyond that which was immediately present.

Very shortly after we reconnected, a dear friend of mine suddenly passed away. He, to me, was the embodiment of what it means to accept others and love unconditionally. I don’t think I ever heard him speak a negative word. About anyone. About anything. I am inspired with increasing intensity since his passing to spread love’s message with my actions and words. My handsome and compassionate friend proved himself to be much more than that during this stressful, painful time with his supporting words and the way he carefully handled my heart and my emotions.

I didn’t want to have feelings for someone new, nor was I totally ready for it. However, I had realized something in the time that passed since we reconnected: I had faith. I felt healthier. Maybe everything happens for a reason, and I was meant to form this bond now, because, now, I am finally able to see and appreciate the beauty of someone who doesn’t want to take advantage of me and actually cares about my happiness.

Little by little, I felt the pain of the past disengage like rotting driftwood and leave me.

However, this is not a love story. At least, not the kind you might be thinking.

I no longer believe it is healthy or okay to put all of yourself into someone else’s life, love, and happiness. In doing so for years, I completely forgot self-love and care. What about my goals and aspirations? I had none to speak of for a long time.

My kindred spirit friend asked me awhile back to write a list of goals, both personal and what I wanted in a partner. I did this exercise and began to see that this amazing man with whom I had reconnected fulfilled my “partner” list. Great. But what about my personal goals? One of my major goals is creating a plan. A life plan. I have always loved writing and want nothing more than to make somewhat of a career out of it.

As the days went by, I felt depressed. Stagnant.

Then, one day in late May I came across an article that was written for an online journal, which I have been reading for years. Their focus is on mindful living, whether it be through spirituality, loving the environment, pursuing wellness and healthy relationships, or practicing yoga. They believe in and promote anything that encourages and brings forth a better you and a better community. At the bottom of the article, there it was: a link to an online journaling/editing/writing apprenticeship. The deadline was the next day.

Without a second thought, I filled out the application.

Within the week, I received an email response congratulating me on my acceptance into the three-month-long program. I am a week and a half in, and I feel like a switch has been flipped.

In accordance with the Universe, I feel aligned. I feel happy.

Finally having a purpose again, especially one that is my biggest passion, I am excited every day to wake up. I don’t miss the man I don’t get to see often with quite the intensity and desperation as I have in the past months, because I am loving the time I am spending with myself.

This is the first step in my plan. I am doing it. I made it happen.

I single-handedly created my own destiny and my own happiness. No one else did it for me. No one else ever could.

All it took was the nudging from a kindred spirit, the inspiration of a passionate, tender man, and my own desire to be happy again.

I have not felt this way in years. I never want to swim in the ocean again. Burying my toes in the grainy shores of gratitude, rootedness, and self-fulfilling pleasure, I am writing my own story in the sand.