“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.” ~Yogi Bhajan
A few days ago I had a very emotional discussion with A about life, growing up and leaving the confines of childhood, or at least immaturity. It was tough.
I am now 26 and I feel like I am 16. Biology says you are a functional adult only at 25, very different to the cultural expectations that you are an adult at 18. I say that because at 26, my brain has stopped growing the necessary parts of it needed for me to succeed in life: childbirth, illnesses, “adult” life and old age. Now, alone and apart from my loved ones in a strange land, I continually ask myself: Is this adulthood?
The answer I get is “Yes” and then followed by a rhetoric, “Isn’t it sad?” This question is a back and forth movement in my mind, especially when I feel down and insignificant, or in lay terms, “When life doesn’t go my way”.
My discussion with A proved to be one of the most memorable conversations I have ever had with him mainly because it reassured me that I am normal, and that it is okay to feel anxious about life, about adulthood, about growing up because life is a bitch and all we do is fuck up. The key to being happy, or content now is to understand that and grow from the fuck ups we have. That’s the only way to live anyway, to fuck up and learn from your mistakes.
But I don’t want to fuck up anymore. I don’t want to disappoint people, especially my loved ones. I feel emotionally weak when I don’t get what I want. I throw tantrums, I get stressed and in turn, because I don’t want to disappoint people, I mask it with several faces of smiles and humor because I don’t want to drag them in and let them see my own misery. They have their own problems to take care of. Doing so makes me feel alone in the end.
But aren’t you alone in life? Yes.
Why do I feel so powerless in this world when everything that’s supposed to be happening is happening? You ask yourself.
I don’t want to be rejected. And lately, rejections always find me in one way or another. From visa issues, to illnesses, to being a burden; feelings of being unwanted, being different, being uncertain creep in from work, family and personal life – and it’s not a very pleasant experience. It makes me want to sucker punch stuff, especially people.
I understand that the behaviors people have towards me, or other people for that matter, are projections of their stresses, frustrations, and pains. I also understand that my behavior, usually the fuck ups, are also projections of my fears. So I’m good in that department. It’s all right. It’s all good in the hood. I undertstand that bit. It’s temporary.
But what do I do when I feel it in the moment. When I feel being alone and being powerless to change the unpleasantness of it all?
So many articles populate the internet about being mindful, being you, being zen and a lot of self-love crap. I read them, in fact I read a lot of them. Thing is, I don’t really understand. Sometimes I go tell myself, “Mama can solve all my problems” but the problem is Mama isn’t there anymore. I need to be self-sufficient. How?
I know it when I am anxious or scared. I can’t think straight. My brain goes all fuzzy, I get stressed, and feel out of control. I want to cry and let it all out, but when that happens I know my body takes over my mind and that’s not good. It all gets to become me being a fuck up and that’s all I try to avoid! Then I get disappointed at myself and the cycle starts all over again. All these rejections, frustrations, and disappointments trigger that mood.
What to do when you feel powerless? What I do is this:
Cry, but only if you must. When emotions are all bottled up, go ahead. But we can skip that step.
I go to a place where I can be alone and breathe. I don’t believe in breathing through your nose kind of crap because most of the time I have a stuffy nose. It still works the same: my heart slows down and I feel calmer. When I am calm, I know I can think straight.
I put myself in the other person’s shoes. Sometimes, it’s too late for me to do that because the moment that they needed me to put myself in their shoes had gone. I feel sorry but I am resolved to understand what they are going through so that I know why they acted that like that. The moment my be gone but the understanding will be forever. It is an exercise of giving and empathy. Now it is difficult to do that when you feel the need to be loved but do so anyway, because you will give love in the end and that’s what matters.
I talk to myself and say, “It’s not personal”. Now who am I kidding here? Of course it is! It is about me! Well, no. Everything that happens in the moment is not reflective of who you are. It is a reflection of the moment: the weather, the sleeping conditions you had last night taking a toll, the stress being put on to you by colleagues 15 minutes ago, etc. The real you manifests when you are happy, when you are calm, loved and secure. And I know you are not a horrible person, same as me being an okay person. Maybe we all need holidays?
That’s the last part: Take a holiday. I don’t mean a plane ride or snazzy hotels. Take a holiday from the pressures daily life is giving you. Sleep more. Do nothing. Exercise until you feel the endorphins rush. Eat chocolate. Eat anything you want, for that matter. DO NOT CARE, at least for a moment until you start to feel whole again, and ready to spread yourself to the people who matter.
When all falls apart, repeat this to yourself until you believe it: You are badass.
Then go back and tell each and every loved one how much you love them. I get a kick from that because saying it makes me feel rich, and that I have a lot more for me, because I have them in my life.
In a way, this is for you: Ash, and my family, my friends my co-workers – special mention to my annoying brother who discovered the world of smart phones (at 36 – it’s never too late to send your baby sister narcissistic selfies every hour!)
Thank you for inspiring me to be a better person. I know I won’t be here without you. You inspire me to be better in all aspects in life and I know I do disappoint you from time to time, but know I get disappointed from my actions too. We grow together in this, and hopefully, my challenges make you a better person too. I am open to your criticisms and please keep them coming as I know it will be good for me. You’re the only ones I trust. Life, as you said, is rough. I know that now – and I think I am taking the more difficult path because I’m doing it all by myself but I know I feel complete with you by my side, FaceTime or Facebook-wise. I know it sounds like I’m convincing myself but no. This is temporary and I am looking forward to achieving all my goals with you, and in your loving arms (Ash).
A smooth sea never made a good sailor. I owe you all for making me navigate through the sea of life with enough challenges, ensuring a good sailor it at hand before the ship sinks to its end.