Understanding my head and heart currently is a task. My feelings and thoughts change not only on a day to day basis but sometimes hourly. Amongst my thoughts are my random bursts of paranoia that have washed up that affect my day to day and cause me a tonne of embarrassment in front of my friends. One minute I’m nervous if one of my friends hasn’t replied to me – when in reply it takes me sometimes too long or I’ll reply something stupid. Because clearly I’m adjusting to being lonely, and being a bit needy. But in combination to this, I start thinking about what I should do about making it better.
If I talk to a friend about this paranoia, I regret it and want to make it better. If I’m replying terribly I’ll want to spice up conversation or wonder about how to become a better person. I want to be charismatic. I want to become someone full of bubbles and light and happiness, someone inspiring, someone that helps. Someone that listens, then beat myself up about not asking enough questions to someone or not listening enough to someone else’s story. I’m self conscious, randomly. I left my friends waiting today, so that I could get home to put tights on in 30 degree weather after being nervous about having my legs on show. I feel like I should lose weight and tone up if I plan on ever finding anyone to be with ever again because I’m not good enough. I’m nervous about my hair, my skin, the things I choose to do in my spare time. And then, I remember.
So, yesterday I went to a record market. There was a DJ playing reggae, there were comic book stalls with graphic novels, album cover artworks everywhere. I wore one of my favourite cardigans, and my comfy trainers. I offered for people to join me, only one of my friends came and even she just stood in the sun enjoying the scenery. But for the first time in far too long, I felt like me. I bought myself a Prince vinyl, and a Moomins graphic novel. I was home, and this was me.
The thing is, I can be as paranoid as I like about what I wear, who I’m with, what I say, the way I am as a person. But truthfully, half of those decisions I find myself wondering about what other people think. Not what I think.
And truthfully, if this is also you, how many times are those decisions based on what others think?
I could have not gone to the record fair yesterday, despite my largest passions being literature and music, all because out of the hundreds of people in the Erasmus group I asked nobody wanted to come or could have come. But I still went. I may have browsed the boxes alone, I may have looked a little lost, maybe even out of place. But it made me truly happy, and I felt not only entirely in my element, but me. Not focussed on the thoughts or judgements of others.
If today, I had thought for a moment about what I was comfortable in, rather than what others would think of my bare legs which rarely get a chance to see daylight, maybe I would have had a positive day like yesterday. But because I cared so much about what other people thought, it happened to ruin my day a little, all for the sake of what would make other people happy.
And it’s at this point, it’s important to ask yourself. What makes me happy?
One of my favourite quotes from the Lion King (my all time favourite film, no shame!) “Remember who you are.” – Because the moment you forget, you become someone you’re not, or begin to strive to become someone you’re not in order to either fit in or impress others around you. But it also forces you into an uncomfortable zone of feeling like in order to be accepted you have to be someone other than yourself.
After watching a TEDx talk tonight on YouTube, a quote that has been imprinted in my brain went along the lines of “you should show yourself unconditional love.” While I’m glancing at my fat spreading thighs, slightly hairy, complete with stretch marks, why am I wearing these shorts? Because it’s 30 degrees, and despite what other people may have thought about my legs today, the important notion to gather from this is when am I going to be happy with myself, and how can I achieve that. People come and go in life, the best of those stay. But you will always be there for yourself. If there is anyone that you should be showing unconditional love to, it’s yourself. Did my friends judge my legs? Maybe, but I will never know about it, and the only person who truly beat me up today for my legs, was me.
So, remember who you are, do things that make YOU happy. Don’t wonder if someone likes you, wonder if you like them. Do the things you love, and be the way you want to be. The paranoia comes and goes, and it’s a challenge to learning to love something you loathe for the fear of other people not liking it. But I believe you’re awesome, and we are awesome. Show yourself some appreciation, but also don’t fear being who you are for the sake of others. Because being you is beautiful.