We all know the saying stop and smell the roses. There are probably dozens of variations on this phrase and yet, do we? If you’re like me, you’re life is in constant motion and weeks have gone by since the last time you were still. My version of the smelling of the roses is making sure I stop and look up. Look up at night, that is, at the stars. It’s still something that catches me off guard–being able to see so many sparkly lights up in the sky. Growing up in the many places I did, even in small town Connecticut, there was always a massive amount of light pollution from one of the big cities I lived near (like New York City). I could see stars but not very many and I clung to the memories of family reunions in Northern Michigan where we would all pile onto a dock and watch the satellites streak across the sky lit bright with all the millions of stars.
I always feel a sense of magic when gazing up at the stars; it grounds me and calms me, and holds me at wonder all at the same time. At first they’re beautiful, awe-inspiring and then slowly you move into the realization at just how vast the space you’re looking out at is, how small you are in comparison, how small and insignificant all your problems are and then my mind will even venture into “we can’t possibly be alone in all this” territory. Before you start thinking I’m about to climb on an “I believe in aliens” soap box, I’ll try to hurry up and get to the point.
I was in my friend’s hottub last night on a fairly warm evening and I took a moment to lean back and look up through the trees to look at the cloudless night filled with all those stars. I have had a couple of rather tumultuous weeks where my mind has been going at a rapid fire pace while I try to figure things out, deal with insecurities and a lot of self reflection about the relationships I have had in my life so far. It has involved a lot of talks with good friends (some of whom have dated me and know my quirks in that regard), a lot of journaling and working on reprograming the way I think and react. There’s been a lot going on between my ears and sometimes, I need to take a step back and just gaze at the stars.
I’m finally back on the building a better me wagon and while I have not touched any of my workout videos or gotten my running shoes out, I did take a hike this afternoon. I can’t tell you how good that was for me, to just have that ultimate quiet time to think and ponder and go over what I’ve been processing this past week, the past few months, if not years. Figuring out what makes ME happy: walks in the sunshine, playing with the shelter dogs, craft beer, cooking, journaling, reading. Also trying to figure out why I am the way I am. What happened along the way to make me have such bad anxiety when dating, when I’m calm, cool and collected as a singleton. Why is there such a huge difference from the me now who is independent, strong, happy and with a lot going on in her life to the girl who starts dating someone and goes from 0 to crazy in 3.5 seconds. In those 3.5 seconds, I completely lose who I am and what I am all about, all because of a guy.
When I’m looking up into space and I venture into the “how can we possibly be alone,” it can be a bit scary and overwhelming to think about. The fact of the matter is, I don’t like being alone. I’m not just talking about being single, I’m talking about in life. I was reading this piece on Stratejoy that sparked one of those AHA! moments. It was basically like reading about myself. I care deeply, I take too many things personally because…well I’ve placed the responsibility for my happiness on that person. I rely on other people, my friends, lovers, etc for my happiness. And like Amanda said, people are fickle. Not only fickle, but they have their own lives to lead, their own selves and their own happiness to worry about. So why should they have to take on the responsibility of my happiness as well? I’ve finally started taking the steps I need to take in order to change how I get my happiness. I’m just not down with how my life is going right now.
So I’m trying to find happiness from within myself. Be my own Happiness Engineer. I’m going to do what I want to do, on my own and I’m going to do it my way. This week I’m going to spend as much time with the shelter dogs as I can, I’m going to go see a movie I’ve been wanting to see for months all by myself at the movie theater, I’m going to cook myself nice meals and read my book. Most importantly, I’m going to be nice to myself–in fact I’ve made it a rule that I’m not allowed any negative, self-pitying, self-hatred thoughts. It’s far too easy to fall into the if I had done this, it would have been different, or the I’ll be alone forever mindsets and now, the minute I find myself going down that road, I am mentally stopping myself and leading myself down a different path.
I’ve been my harshest critic over the past couple years and I need to be nicer. You all know what I’m talking about–the voice that if it were coming from someone else, would cause you to be horrified that someone could be that mean to you. If you heard someone saying that about someone else, you would think less of that person because of how cruel and judgmental they were being. Yet we allow our inner voices to say exactly that and we believe it as truth. Even if the rational side of ourselves believes otherwise, the minute those inner voices start going we nod along in defeat and accept it. I have been feeding myself garbage and well, fuck the haters inside my own head. They don’t know what they’re talking about.
They’ve played too big a part in my life for far too long and have held me back from being the best I can be. I’ve been holding myself back for far too long and somewhere in all of that, I lost me. I lost the fun. So now I begin the journey of rediscovering myself and I plan on having fun with it. I doubt it’ll be all sunshine and roses but I’m going to force my extroverted self that desires attention and validation from everyone else to be alone. Just me, gazing up at the stars, creating my own happiness and taking all these lessons from the past couple years and putting them to good use.
Ashley, I’d like to introduce you to yourself, Ashley. I think you’ll like each other so please play nice and try to get along.