it’s cool; everything’s fine; i love myself now

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the US.

I spent the holiday with friends here in Austin as opposed to going on a trip like I’d originally planned, because I’m sorting through some things.

To be completely transparent, I recently started going back to therapy, went back on my anti-anxiety medication, and have started indulging in more self-care than usual after getting sick about a month ago and simultaneously falling into a rut.

I love y’all, and I know this comes from a good place when people do it (I also need to be better about this), but for fuck’s sake, if I seem a little out of it or not like myself, don’t hit me with any variation of this:

“I’m worried about you.”

I know it comes from a good place, I really do – but worry is the last thing I need more of in my life, and generally speaking, that applies to most people who are going through stuff.

If there’s anything I’ve learned by this point, it’s that the following things don’t happen in a linear fashion, and they take work every day. Some days, weeks, and months are harder than others:

  • Healing from trauma
  • Loving yourself
  • Loving others
  • Grieving

Honestly, if I were to sum up the primary emotion I’ve been feeling lately, it’s frustration. Not with myself, but with the fact that a lot of what I’m going through is stuff I’ve already “beaten,” and now I’m meeting the acceptance stage of grief and trauma in a strange way. And that’s okay.

Lately things have been better, but being alone with my thoughts still isn’t super fun right now, so I’ve been keeping busy.

On the plus side, I’ve been making a lot of art that I’m super proud of, and I’ve found a lot of inspiration in the wonderful people and places that have given me solace while I process a few things. I’m working on seeing all of the activity going on in my brain as “creative energy,” and that’s been helping a good bit.

I guess I’m mostly writing this for me and for anyone interested in hearing candid perspectives on the ups and downs of my life, but I’m also writing this because I’ve heard more than a few friends mention that they’re going through some things as well. Growing pains, grief, old wounds being reopened – whatever you want to call it – even if I know “this too shall pass” and all the familiar mantras, sometimes I’m just fucking tired.

The other day, I voiced my frustrations as clearly as I could: Imagine a bunch of junk thoughts flying into your brain about basically anything you can think of. Then, imagine that, because this isn’t your ~first rodeo~ you know the thoughts are ridiculous, but that doesn’t make them any less hurtful. You think “I love myself! I’ve worked hard at this. But if I love myself, why is my brain making these thoughts happen?”

So, I sit down, resigned, because there’s really nothing I can do but let the thoughts exist and not react to them too much. But this is also – paradoxically – exhausting. On the surface, it takes minimal effort to just ignore the thoughts. But since it goes against everything my body wants to do, sometimes I cling to the thoughts that hurt the most.

So yeah. In spite of this happening, I don’t want worry or pity. Compassion is plenty. In fact, compassion is everything, because nobody knows for sure how long the healing process will take, so knowing that there are people who will be there whether things last a day or a month is so, so important.

I’m a resilient human being, and things have been better lately. I know the steps I need to take to make things better, and while it’s frustrating to acknowledge that I may have to take prescription medication to cope with the effects of trauma and grief for the rest of my life, it’s not the end of the world, and I need to be kinder to myself about it.

I hope that, if you’re going through something as well, you remember to be kind to yourself too. People maintain friendships, family connections, romantic relationships, and self-love through struggle all the time, and while we might be alone in the world between our ears, that world doesn’t have as much power as we give it when we’re feeling down.

Here’s to trying to be as vulnerable in person as I am in writing more often, as it’s not always easy.