When I was 16 I was driving my Mazda Protege out of a cul-de-sac where my friend lived, and was about to turn onto the main neighborhood street. For some reason there wasn’t a stop sign there (probably because it was logical to stop), and I had a vapid lapse and thought, “Oh, I can just turn onto this street without stopping”. Then a car came whizzing by and I snapped out of my dumb trance. This is how I feel about the idea of “living my life” at this point. There are times I think, “could it be as easy as just moving forward without fear?”, but then the big car that is work wakes me up. The alarm rings, the man calls and I’m out the door.
What’s more frustrating is that this project has me sitting at work with Walt Whitman in my head saying “reject anything that insults your soul” as my boss asks me to do a project in half the time needed to successfully do it, etc. Surely it’s easier for a writer to discuss staying true to yourself. I guess unless what you have to say as your “true self” doesn’t sell to the mass media.
Today I finished learning how to successfully start a conversation with a hypothetical Norwegian woman (read: hit on a Norwegian woman), so that’s useful. I read more Cookoo’s nest (feels like a riot is about to ensue). I got done with work early and headed down to Palm Beach for some retail therepy, which I’m counting as a way of continuing to express myself. Now I’m eating some gf pizza (this is rice dough?!), then I’m going out for a little bit. Tomorrow I start the day off with an early hot yoga class, then I head over to Englewood to visit my uncle, aunt and 2 amazing cousins.
Englewood always up to no good!
Today I sang along to the RENT soundtrack all the way to work. I wore my new Warby Parker dorky glasses I love, even though I usually shy away from them because my coworkers tease me all day. I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the beach during lunch, which is a little too hot to do if you’re not in a swimsuit still. I tried to learn Norwegian on the ride home. I read a little Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a book I told my mom I’d read with her. Then watched the last two episodes of my current TV obsession, Master Chef (I know I wasn’t going to watch TV, but I had to make an exception). I’m trying to really own myself, which has been more of a control-and-tolerate-myself the past two days. Luckily today was a little easier.
With that I’ll leave you with a poem I like (you may recognize it from one of the Levi’s commercial):
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
For the next couple weeks I’m going to try to be more true to myself. This is something I’m sure everyone has found to be hard, whether you bought a new shirt at someone’s recommending, and now it hangs in your closet because it isn’t truly your style, or you didn’t speak up when someone said something you find offensive, maybe even just spent the night watching a Netflix movie you didn’t like, but everyone said it was good. Too often who I am gets lost because of embarrassment, laziness and daydreams of being Zooey Deschanel. Moving to Florida has made it harder than ever to be true to myself, despite taking chances and spending lot of time alone. Around my family and close friends I don’t have to justify yourself (that much)., and I don’t need to explain my jokes or express my deep distaste in fish, and I definitely never have to worry how I’m coming off.
I’m going to be concentrating on some main areas and we’ll see where this developes:
Intellectual: I will be reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Ken Kesey) and maybe some beat lit. I’ll also stop wasting my hour commute to and from work mindlessly listening to pop music. Instead I’ll spend the time learning Norwegian. I know a little Norwegian (Jeg vet litt norsk), but I really want to know more and be able to talk in it with my uncles who speak more of it. Some day I hope to travel to Norway too, and it will help.
Disposition: When I’m upset or sad I tend to try an rationalize it, which sometimes makes it worse. I’m going to concentrate on acknowledging my mood for what it is and try to work with it in a reasonable way. I also think an important thing about being true to yourself is talking to people with confidence. Looking people in the eye and walking with a good posture.
Activities: I will be making a strong attempt to cultivate my hobbies instead of zoning out to whatever is on the TV. Some things I’m interested in are: drawing, painting, reading, listening to music, yoga, paddleboarding, paddleboard yoga (there is such a thing) and baking. I also really enjoy spending time with friends and traveling, and I’ll be able to do both when I visit my friends in Seattle a week from Friday.
If you have any suggestions or advice, I’d love to hear it.