This is more of a personal post, so if you’d like to read it you are welcome to. If not, no worries!
Ever since I could hold a pencil, (or a crayon), I was obsessed with coloring, doodling, and writing at every chance I could get. Realizing at a young age that I was not at all artistic, I began to pay less attention to artwork and pay more attention to creating art with my words instead. Since I was young, I’ve prided myself on having a creative mind, but recently I’ve realized that I’ve let so many other aspects of life overpower my will to create.
The stress of making decisions about my career, school, money, and other common stressors seemed to outweigh my desire to write. I look back at my journals from when I was 5-6 years old, and I would write almost every day. Up until my senior year of high school I would write at least a few times per week in a journal. When I got to college, I still wrote quite frequently, but would go a few months without jotting down a single word. Regardless, I’d always come back to it.
Many times I would be inspired to write by emotions that I couldn’t express in any other way. Grief, sadness, joy, happiness…I have pages upon pages filled with song lyrics, poems, doodles, and even indentations in the center of the page from stabbing my pen so hard into the paper when I was frustrated.
Writing used to be my go-to way to cope with stress of all types, but for some reason I seemed to have forgotten about it. My journal has been neglected. I haven’t bought a new pack of pens in over a year because my old ones haven’t run out of ink yet. I haven’t purchased a roll of Scotch tape in over a year to tape notes or nicknacks into the pages. I haven’t stuffed my journal in my bag when I left for vacation, or even thought to grab it on the way out the door for an overnight trip to visit my family. It used to be that whenever I’d leave the house for more than 24 hours, my journal was the first thing to be tossed into my bag, even before my phone charger and toothbrush.
Last night I wrote in my journal for the first time in months. My hand cramped and got tired within about two minutes, and I quickly finished jotting down my thoughts. I still wanted to write, so I figured I’d resort to using my computer since typing is much easier than using an actual pen and paper for me now (I know, I know. Millennials, right?)
So, here we are. I needed to write to get back to myself. Since about August, I’ve not been my true self. I’ve been more negative towards the world, and in turn my social anxieties and anti-social tendencies have seemed to be in full swing. I never felt outgoing, spontaneous, or happy. I kept trying to find happiness in all of the wrong places. I wasn’t happy with where I was in my career or the direction I was heading. I wasn’t particularly happy about where I was living. I wasn’t happy about all the drama that seemed to develop within my family life. I never wanted to do anything but shower, eat, watch TV (only very specific TV shows), and sleep. Then I’d want to wake up and do it all over again.
I began to realize that something was off a few weeks ago. I seemed to be pushing the people I cared for most away from me, and didn’t know how to bring them back. I wasn’t speaking with my friends anymore, and I was keeping to myself. Yes, I’m naturally an introvert, but being an introvert doesn’t mean you have to be a recluse. I began to realize that my negativity toward the world was making me an unhappy person, and that is not who I am.
I realized that I didn’t look the same in pictures. I became less open to going outside and taking a walk, or going for a hike, or just playing with the dogs. The only time I wanted to leave the house was if it was to spend money at the mall or make a coffee run. I thought everything was “stupid” or “a waste of time”.
I hate admitting that I became the person that I did. But I knew that the only way for me to realize my true self again was to admit to myself where I went wrong.
Step one: check.
The other night, I was so overwhelmed by sadness having realized who I had become that I didn’t sleep. I was up the majority of the night looking through old pictures, reading old journals, and going over and over the last few months in my mind. Then all of a sudden, it clicked. I can’t even say what it was, but something clicked. I decided that I needed to let all of the negativity out and let in all of the positive in my life. I took a deep breath, drawing in all of the happiness and joy that I know I possess. When I let the breath go, I let all of the negativity go with it. Everything that was stressing me or had been stressing me over the last several months disappeared almost instantaneously. It was the best I had felt in a long time.
I woke up the next morning feeling so much better. I still feel better. I finally feel like myself again, and it’s the absolute best feeling in the world. Yes, there are still many, many things that are stressors in my life. My living situation is still not ideal, I’m about to start a job that I’m about 99% sure I won’t enjoy (although I’m going to try!), my parents are still in the tense phases of a divorce, and I feel like I’m caught in the middle of it.
But apart from those few things, there are so many more things that I have to be thankful for. I do have a loving family, a wonderful boyfriend who is honest and caring, a few good friends, and I finally have ambition to follow my dreams again. The air outside is getting warmer, I have the best dog in the world, I have a roof over my head, I have my creativity, and I have a pen and paper.
I’m documenting my journey to happiness (mainly in private) so that I’m able to look back and realize how lost I actually was. If I ever lose myself again, I’m able to read the words that I’ve written and find my way back without having to go through all that I have this time around. Never again will I allow myself to wander. I love who I am too much to let that happen. Realizing that happiness is not found in material items but rather comes from within is one of the greatest realizations I’ve ever made. I’m proud to say that I’m overcoming the negativity and learning to live in love instead.
Today, I am happy. Tomorrow, next week, next month, in ten years – I’ll be happy, because I’ll be me.