I’ve recently decided to take a mini-break from all things social media-related. Apart from sharing a couple of YouTube videos which I found really interesting, some random status updates and a few IG stories here and there, I think I’ve cut my online presence by at least half over the past couple of months.
I don’t think I made that decision consciously. Its funny; on one hand, I feel like I’ve been so busy that, never mind writing a blog post, I’ve barely had the time to breathe. On the other hand, I feel like I’m caught in a perpetual cycle of the same old things that I haven’t found the will to write BECAUSE there’s nothing to write about.
And that’s crazy, isn’t it? We live in a world where real life and day-to-day struggles are considered uninteresting and not worth sharing. I think Facebook and Instagram instills in people the need to put up a front. No one ever goes on Facebook to say “I’m feeling really lost and disillusioned about where my life is going” or “I think I’m going to be alone forever and die an old maid” or “I’ve had to borrow a shitload of money just to go on this trip to Paris and take this photo of the Eiffel Tower, Cheers!”.
Instead, we create a false image of ourselves to project to the world just so that we can get affirmation about our lives – in the form of likes – from strangers living halfway around the world who probably do nothing but troll online media accounts all day. I think for me this was cause for a lot of disillusionment, and it became really unhealthy because it started to bleed into real life as well.
Ask anyone who’s ever spent 5 minutes in my presence to describe me and they’d probably say bubbly, cheerful, happy, effervescent, positive, or, as one of my colleagues put it, tirelessly upbeat.
The truth is, though, I don’t think I’ve felt that way in a long long time. Quite the opposite in fact. This past week I’ve been in the kind of funk that makes a person question his or her mental health. At home, I keep having these thoughts that send me into spirals of anxiety and helplessness. I felt at a loss about my future and what it holds, and half of it stems from the fact that I could not seem to have any kind of personal life.
I promised myself this would not turn into a post where I complain about my love life (or lack thereof). And actually, while that is a big part of the problem, I think that my “funk” also has layers of insecurities and fears mixed in with my perpetual ever-present dating woes.
For example, this past week I’ve been obsessed with my inability to lose weight. Despite going to the gym three times a week and signing up to and downloading all kinds of fitness apps, my weight seems to have plateaued and fixated on a number that I am NOT proud of.
Of course, it doesn’t help that whenever I get stressed from work (which is most days of the week) I go down to the canteen to buy a bag of M n’ M peanuts. Or that my sister and I have both been too busy to do the groceries we’ve had to rely on a steady diet of Chinese takeaway to see us through the day.
I’ve also been taking a long, hard look on my relationships, and I realised that I’ve lost touch with people I used to call my friends for a host of reasons, not the least of which is my tendency to take them for granted.
I looked in the mirror, metaphorically, to see what kind of friend I am (and really to ask what kind of person I am), and realised I didn’t like what I see. I realised that despite my desire to be a good person, and to do good things for others, when push comes to shove and I am torn between their benefit and my own interest, I will always choose myself. And that makes me selfish.
I castigated myself over this for the better part of the month. It was a low point, really. No matter what I did, I could not get to the point where I could like myself again. I feel like I’ve been lying so much to myself and to other people, and I wanted to undo some of the things I’ve done but I didn’t know where to begin.
I probably had like a mild version of an existential crisis. I couldn’t even turn to prayers because I’ve been in the cusp of a crisis of faith for a couple of years now and every time I attempt to pray and talk to God I just feel like a fraud.
Needless to say, for some reason, I was in quite a dark place. No one knew because, outwardly, I was still the same bubbly, cheerful me. And that made me feel even more of a fraud.
In a way, the fact that I’m even at this point now, a point where I can finally open my laptop again and just write like there’s no tomorrow, represents a breakthrough. I guess last night I just finally gave myself some advice that I should really take to heart from now on, and it consists of only two words.
I know what they say about the unexamined life, but in many ways, ruminating about life and where its going is counterproductive and just straight-up depressing. You get too busy analysing life and you’ll suddenly find yourself ten years down the line realising that you’ve missed the best of what it has to offer. Go out there and live. Have new experiences. Make mistakes. Fall of the horse and get back up on again.
If there are things you don’t like about yourself, change it. Every day you wake up is an opportunity to do better, to BE better. No one gets it right all of the time, the best you can do is to NOT set out to actively hurt people, and to apologise when you do.
And the other things that I should get rid of? My unrealistic quest for perfection. Honestly, this has been indoctrinated in me since childhood and by now has become so innate that it will take me years of years of focused reflection to undo the damage.
I won’t deny that its helped in certain areas of my life, but I think I will feel less inclined to go berserk and save myself a whole lot of anxiety if I just accept the fact that life is inherently imperfect. Relationships, careers, heck, the daily experience of living is messy, as messy as my room after I’ve worked seven straight shifts in a row.
The sooner I accept this, and I mean really accept it not just pay it lip service, the happier I’ll be. As a start, I will be posting this rambling, imperfect, incoherent post just to prove to myself that I am not maintaining this blog to maintain an image that I have it all together. This is me, unfiltered and real.
So no, I am not okay.
I’m imperfect and messy and a little bit crazy half the time, and that’s what makes me more than okay. That’s what makes me fabulous. :p