There have been a lot of things floating around in my head. I have been thinking about love and relationships and analyzing them under a microscope. Still the closer I look I have found other fears that have been running my life and leading me to scrutinize relationships. It seems that the more out of control my life becomes, the harsher I want to be on those who are close to me. Why? Because these relationships are easy to analyze and easy to control, something tangible that I can look at while the rest spins the way the world turns.
Last night I had a rather intense heart-to-heart with a female friend of mine-I am a female too, and the gender on these issues is only important in the way we related to each other on our issues and fears. I confessed to her that lately I have been feeling that I am wearing a mask of deception. To employ an old cliche, I have been putting on a face of happy, when in reality I have been feeling so far form the happiness that people have pegged me for having.
The few times I have opened up about these issues, my friends-outside of last night-have played it off as my age, 25, my place in life, the phoenix phase, or other such excuses for these feelings. None of them felt just right, and I stopped telling people about my true self. I felt that even my best friend only had small ideas of what I was feeling and no real idea. Why did they have no real idea of what I was going through? Because they were made up of different experiences and conversations. No one had been through life the same way I had been. The more I grasped for some feeling of understanding, the less there seemed to be; and a feeling of pure loneliness took over, a feeling I have battled for my whole life.
I am much more on the fringes of society than the people whom surround me. The inspirational stories that I find most helpful are the ones about the tattooed people, or the ones with dreadlocks, who do not feel the need to hide their true selves from the world to be successful. These are stories few can relate to, and with increasing pressure from my parents to find a ‘real job’ and become more ‘main stream’ my heart was breaking in many different places. Its not that I want to be a disappointment, nor do I want to ‘fail’ at life; but I do not want to sacrifice who I am for a world that I am not even sure I want to be in. This push and pull fueled the fire of worthlessness.
I came home last night and turned on the Disney movie “Mulan”. In the analyzation mood that I was in I wondered why this movie was so important to me. Why was I so drawn to this story even as an adult? Then my mind wandered to ‘Beauty and the Beast’ another movie that was crucial to my childhood, again I asked why these stories were so important to me. It was because these stories are not just about some Disney princesses, they were stories about self-discovery, about making the right moves by being yourself and holding on to your integrity. Mulan was fighting the feelings of worthlessness, and the family and society pressures of gender. Belle wanted something different out of life, and wanted something more than what she was going to be offered. By being themselves they made a difference and an impact on the world around them. These stories stick with us long into adulthood because they inspire us to be who we are even if it is outside of society, and by doing that things will work out in our favor, they tell us that we can have our cake and eat it too.
As after any heart-to-heart, last night I felt opened, I felt constricted, I felt confused, and I felt clarity. I felt a gamut of emotions that were so intense I could not even begin to process them. Even as I sit here now and write down the conclusions, I feel open and scared that people in the cafe see the parts of me that I hide. Why is it that when we open up to another person we feel so vulnerable and scared? What is it in society that teaches us to be closed off and hide away our pain and our happiness? It is the thought that when people see it they will use it against us, use it to hurt us in ways we could never recover from. This is both true and false, though this is scary and the world might use our weaknesses against us, we are told it is healthy to open up.
There are just somethings that you wish to hide even from yourself. You do not want to admit to yourself just how far you are from the person you want to be, or the person those you love want you to be. These are the things that you will not even write down in your journal, or portray in your own art work. These are the feelings that you want to forget are there, and if you are so lucky and so brave to find someone who will draw these out in an environment that makes you feel safe; well then the work to becoming your Self can begin.
My tool I have used for Self-discovery is yoga. Yoga is a practice about letting go of the ego and bring everything together. Yet as we are all individual expressions of the greater Universe, this is different for everyone. Not each person will find the true Self to be the same, some will teach asana, some will produce art, some will be politically active, and some will write. To each their own, and it is that first step of really digging down deep, beyond the past and the past lives, finding the things that you will not tell yourself. When you get there, then you can focus one being your true Self and calm the fears that were created before you became a life form.