Eighty days is a peculiar length of time because it isn’t super quick like a week or a month. It isn’t particularly long because it is not a year or even 6 months. In the past 80 days, I’ve reflected. I peered deeply into my own behaviors and motives and what hurts and how I’ve run from it. This isn’t totally comfortable. I am 26– single, holding a bachelors degree, owning no property, in a job that pays the bills& that’s about it. My body is all transient with no roots. And I want to run from me some days, but I don’t. I remain deeply with myself. I hold space for myself. Self love isn’t always pretty. Self love is devotion and respect and uphold boundaries when all I wish I could do is split them in half. But the more I’ve loved on myself, the more clarity I’ve found. Below is a list of things that have surfaced in the past 80 days:
1. “Holding people accountable means that you respect them enough that you believe they can hear it”— Cameron Esposito. Love is accountability.
2. I trample across my own boundaries for other people to like me, and then I resent them for a choice I made. I am solely responsible for upholding my boundaries. Boundaries are golden. To paraphrase Cheryl Strayed, “no is golden, it is the spell the good witch wields”. How other people react is their business.
3. People can only meet me as deeply as they have met themselves. A lot of people remain strangers to themselves throughout their whole lives— creating canyons of distance between their soul and their lives inside their own bodies. I can’t introduce someone to themselves. I cannot wake the sleeping giants inside you. That is your job.
4. What’s meant for me will not miss me. More often than not, it is a blessing to be passed up by all the things that never belonged to me.
5. There is no tether between strength and food besides the fact that our bodies need food for fuel. But it is not strength to restrict. That is a trait of disordered eating.
6. Perhaps the thinnest weight I have been is not my optimal weight. There was a time I was 15 pounds thinner than I am now, and at that time, I realized I wasn’t running as fast or rowing as powerfully. Because… I was pretty much starving myself. If my eating habits are inhibiting what my body can do, I’m not interested in thinness. I would rather sprint for 60 seconds at 12 miles an hour and have a softer tummy than be slower but thinner.
7. I didn’t choose to carry a brain with suicidal ideations. That’s not my fault, and I won’t always be able to control how my brain reacts. What I can do is cope appropriately. We are only as good as our coping skills. It takes a community to survive. It takes reframing thoughts, and vigilant self care and a lot of deep breaths. Belly breathing matters a lot. I used to think that I needed to do a trillion things at once when I was overwhelmed. But in moments of panic, what I need to do first if breathe. Basic physical needs have to be met in order to move forward.
8. When we ignore parts of ourselves, it’s a small amputation, and our mind blocks things elsewhere, too. We have one life. We have to show up as our full selves. We don’t know what secrets we are hiding in ignoring our desires/identities/etc. It is an honor to be myself. You have a divine privilege in being who you are, reader. Do not squander that gift.
9. Don’t buy into this grind culture where everything has to be balls to the wall all the time. Rest. You are not designed to hustle forever. You have limits. Those fluctuate. The need for rest and breaks makes you human, not flawed. And if you do not honor your limits, your body will rebel. Your body will do what you are afraid to do.
10. You are what you do. Not your job, but your actions. There are no good people or bad people. We, with every action, do good or bad things. Our reputation is how we treat people, how we show up for people. It’s really easy to get paranoid about what other people think about us. But it’s easier when we operate from a place of general kindness, and allow people to perceive that how they like.
11. Most people’s behavior is entirely informed their situations and perspectives. It isn’t personal. Those people are probably treating other people that way too.
12. I used to think my life was “empty” until I found conventional mile markers: marriage, children, a house. Life doesn’t work that way. It is my job to fill my life up right now. Because the spouse, the kids, the house: it makes the glass bigger, it doesn’t fill it. And trying to fill an empty glass that’s bigger is even harder.
13. A relationship where you are constantly expected to be perfect is not a healthy relationship.
14. When our needs are not met in relationships, we act out.
15. Having needs is what makes us human. Having expectations in relationships is appropriate. When someone denies our needs, it is rarely that the needs are too high. It means that particular person is not willing to meet your needs.
16. Most people are insecure about their work performances. Most people are trying to cover their own asses. It’s a mechanism of internalized capitalism—that we are never enough, that we always must work and reach toward an impossible perfection.
17. My body is not designed to remain the same weight. Bodies are fluid. Life is fluid. Identities are fluid. It’s a fruitless effort to cling to something moving with bleeding fingernails. The movement always wins.
18. I didn’t love myself “no matter what”. Now, I do. I love myself at the pool when my stomach is soft or at work when I make a silly mistake. That doesn’t negate my worth. I’m done seeking flaws and reasons to hate myself in everything I do. I spent years of my life seeking reasons I should die. I don’t do that anymore. I’m allocating that energy to healing. I’m focusing on growing and loving and making the most out of this one wild life.