Lately, I've felt like I'm continuously trying to climb out of a steep hole lined with dirty clothes, used tea cups, boxes from frozen pizzas, and decaying running shoes. After attempting to start down a path to better mindfulness in 2017, I already somehow stumbled into this ditch, realized it's too hard to get out, and that maybe I'm more comfortable here anyway.
Then, I get on social media and see what cool things everyone else is doing. How beautiful and inspiring people are, how others are traveling abroad or earning their PhDs, and I wonder, what's the point? I'm not doing anything super awesome right now so I don't think anyone would miss me if I just fell asleep on these pants I haven't washed in three weeks.
But I've fallen into this ditch before. First comes the embrace of self hatred, layered with anxiety attacks and thoughts of worthlessness. Next comes showering once a week and then halting your cleaning routines completely. Finally, it ends with being disassociated from anything and everything you love, and accepting that it's too hard and too scary to exist so you'd rather just not. Nothing is fun, nothing is exciting, and nothing is worth doing.
Thankfully, I've been reflecting on myself and obsessively trying to proactively control my behaviors for years now, so I am working to get out of the hole as quickly as possible before it completely swallows me.
Everyone says it's "easy" to make tiny small steps to do things "right" (being active, keeping your house clean, eating healthily), but to be honest - it's not. When most choices you make drain you, or fill you with dread, like knowing you have to go to the grocery store to pick up one thing on Tuesday so on Sunday you start panicking about it, it isn't fair to tell yourself "This is easy! You should be doing this! You should be normal!" when in reality, it kind of sucks. Especially when your friends are working out and cooking delicious-looking vegetable-filled meals and you're happy that you got in a twenty minute walk and picked the least-sugary cereal in your cabinet for dinner.
Then, I saw this quote:
And it spoke to me. Like really spoke to me. I've always been proud of my interests and passions, even if they differ from others I am close to. I knew from early on what made me, well me, didn't necessarily make other people, uh them. And I am okay with that! I love what I love, and I love hearing about what other people love. And mostly, I am so happy for all of those PhD-earning, work-out doing, traveling friends and acquaintances.
A flower wouldn't care about what all of the other flowers are doing. They would just focus on blooming and being the best flower that they can be. Living shouldn't be a competition. Being a woman shouldn't be a competition. Doing what you love should not be a competition.
And don't even get me started on weeds. They grow where ever they want, take what they want, and do what they want. The soul of a weed is not to be reckoned with.
So I deleted my personal Facebook from my phone. I decided to start keeping a food and mental health journal. And I'm going to keep working on making sure I begin my days with yoga and meditation, even if I'm really sleepy and my bedroom floor isn't necessarily clean.
Who cares how fast all of the other flowers are growing? Their success does not control or take away from your successes. You have to care for yourself so that your bloom is as bright and as big as you want it to be. And if your garden gets a little messy or you eat some extra flower food along the way, that's okay. You'll get back on track.
It's fine to look at the other flowers for inspiration and motivation, but not to compare yourself. Because in the end, all flowers are lovely. If you grow like a flower and add in the spunk of a weed - then nothing is going to stop you.
And you never know, you may actually be someone else's flower without even realizing it.