This morning, the air turned ever so slightly cooler.
I was on my way to work. Picked up a coffee while waiting for my uber. The ride felt shorter than when I first started; I’d stopped looking up.
The days felt fuller and harder; and I was more sure.
This year, 2018, I believe, has been one of the greatest years of my life.
Had the best last year of college living with my two best friends. Supported by my core group of friends in every occasion. Graduated college and proudly put a smile on my parents. A company flew me back to San Francisco for an interview and offered me a full time position right after. I got to move back home, work in the field I love, and on something along the line of what I want to achieve eventually.
And in 2018, I learned this, I didn’t become a happier person (new year same me bish) when my accomplishments are realized. Some of the happiest moments of 2018 were surrounded my accomplishments: hugging my parents after graduation, seeing the faces of the friends I love at my house party, killing shots at happy hour after a long day of work.
But so many of the best moments I had this year are the ones that always make me happy: spend time with family, grow closer to my friends, wander around new places, and write when I can.
Even so, this year, I’ve coped with a large amount of negativity – a big ego, self-depreciation, the lack of mindfulness, the list can go on and go on. Basically, despite all the accomplishments, I hated myself.
We behave, interpret, and make decision through the lens of our childhood, our upbringing.
While many of us are aware of this, we often neglect how long this process can span.
Moving to the states at a late teen age, I spent so much time adapting to a new language, to an extent where it shaped my self-perception, and I didn’t even notice.
For a very long time, I struggled through multiple identities. I hated myself for not being articulate enough to express my words, for having an accent people would notice the second I opened my mouth. I hated myself for not being good enough. Especially when I was always among the tops as a kid.
I went through days suffocating my emotions, my words.
My vocal would shake before I made any movement. I couldn’t talk for more than 5 minutes without feeling afraid that I was being annoying. I couldn’t look into somebody’s eyes for more than 5 second without feeling embarrassed – a confession would be the end of me.
“Who was it that made you hate yourself so much?”
It was me. Not anyone else. It was my own ego.
Here’s the thing. Historically, I have not been a person easily discouraged by life. The sheer tenacity, competitiveness, and persistence were ingrained in me ever since I was a kid – even more evident when I was a kid.
When multiple options are present, I’m naturally drawn to the one I most want (despite how unsuitable that may be to me). But what sounds like a desirable quality in academia does not actually work in real life.
“That’s my only option.”
“He’s too good to me.”
“It’s not supposed to feel this way.”
My tunnel vision only allowed me to see what was deeply rooted in my head. Every red flag I was blinded to. All the toxic behaviors I allowed others to hurt me. The envy and jealousy arisen when feeling lacking. All rooted in my big ego.
No matter how well aware I was of this tragic flaw. I wanted to keep being wrong.
I was digging in people/things for what I didn’t have, out of fears and insecurities from when I was little. I didn’t get the love/affirmation I grew accustomed to and developed this inability to trust that it was going to be okay because I’d never felt this way before.
Identify the feelings. Here’s what I’m learning. Whenever I felt myself spinning, I’d try to go beyond the surface level and ask what I was afraid of and why, just “why, why, why” … until the point I couldn’t anymore.
Usually the interrogation ended with “because if this doesn’t happen, I won’t be good enough.”
But there’s no “enough” or “not enough.”
Blessings come in many different forms.
On the first day I moved back home, I totaled my car.
I can’t describe how terrifying I was. How destroyed I was at my inability to control the situation in the face of an accident. I couldn’t sleep that night. I was so scared of the consequence until later I figured out, I ditched a huge financial burden by crashing my car.
It was a blessing in disguise, I guess.
You never know what or how many times God would make you go through, but mostly because you have to. Some people would come back to test if you’d grasped the lesson the first time, and it’s okay if you didn’t.
Despite my desire to see you again, a tiny voice told me I shouldn’t knowing how toxic we can be to or for each other. While we aren’t as young as we once met, I think we are still too young to prioritize love over self establishment.
I’ve made a lot of personal progress this year and I know how easily I could regress. I’m a slower learner in life. I learn by getting lost. I am the person who much fall down the rabbit-hole and rabbit-hole and poke around.
This is the thing about growing up – the brain recognizes patterns faster, since ultimately that is what the brain is meant to do.
With more life behind you, there is more context. And perspective is one hell of a gift.
Today, after work, I cleaned my room, vacuumed the floor, hung up clothes that were lying around, did the laundry. Lit up my fig tree scented candle because I read somewhere about how it helped with mood. Talked to my mom while she was meal prepping.
Today was a good day, and I know it only gets better from here.