So let us talk about something that I do not normally like to talk about: anxiety and insecurities.
This was all started by a video that Hannah Hart posted on her channel entitled, "I'M INSECURE", which I will embed in this post down below. But before we get into that, I wanted to brief you all in of where I come from and what my personality is like. As a child, I grew up in a household where I spent a lot of my time alone (there are a number of reasons for this - but for the censorship and privacy of the individuals involved, we will not go into further details as to why). I have always considered myself to be very different from my siblings and my biological parents. I kept to myself a lot and never really wanted to share how it is that I felt with anyone in fear that it would ignite unwanted resentment towards me. So growing up, I had issues trying to identify where it is that I belong. In middle school, I spent my lunch and breaks in the library reading The Boxcar Children series and chatting with the librarian as she informed me of what was going on in the world from the daily city newspaper. Because I kept to myself quite often, my classmates perceived me to be an intelligent person, which I never really saw in myself. It built up this character for me and I ended up going with it. I pushed myself to get gold honors every quarter and tried to go above and beyond of what was expected of me throughout middle school.
When high school happened, a lot of my emotions that were kept inside eventually started to leak out.
And for anyone who has ever bundled up their emotions all in one place, you know how volatile it can get. I had my own set of plans as to where I wanted to attend high school and what I wanted to fill my repertoire of as far as my academic path was concerned. Unfortunately, this is where it all started to crumble down. I did not get to choose where to go to high school and a lot of the classes that I did end up taking were towards a career path that I had no interest in partaking. Despite all of this, I started to build up a facade for myself, which helped a lot in creating "thick skin" and the ability to not really care for other people's opinion of myself. This I-don't-care attitude lasted up until the end of my first year in college, a university that I had no intention of wanting to attend with a declared major I could care less about.
Eventually, I stood up for myself (sort of).
I applied to another school and declared an art major that to this day, I still question if it is right for me. And while I was able to complete my bachelor's degree in three and a half years, a huge part of me felt empty. I did not have the slightest clue as to when or where this emptiness started to sink in and it bugged me a lot. I took up a number of jobs to keep myself busy, which in turn helped prevent me from thinking about the future, but it took a huge toll on me as I had less time to myself to enjoy as well as little hours to sleep.
Tonight, I was supposed to be working on my midterm assignment that is due tomorrow, but a tingly sensation happened and suddenly my heart felt like it dropped and shattered into a million pieces: I was having an anxiety attack.
For the past two years that I have been in grad school, nothing has been more infuriating than having an anxiety attack happen out of nowhere. For the longest time, I told no one of the emotional issues that I dealt with. Those long years of putting up a front to avoid letting anyone have a reason to pity me or to impede into others of my negativity felt like the easiest thing to do. I ate my emotions (figuratively) and did not allow a single peep of it escape from my lips. But as you get older, for some reason your mindset changes a lot. Suddenly my thick skin started to dissipate and I am back to feeling vulnerable, unable to escape the suffocating thoughts that surrounded me. I became this incredibly sensitive adult, which adds more burdening baggage than I had hoped to carry through this journey of finding myself.
I thought that by now I would have things figured out and I do not.
As a teen, I envisioned myself to have moved out by now with a stellar job at a company that acknowledged my skills and talents. Instead I am a 23 going on 24 year old adult living at home crying day in and day out over the complexity of my school work. The never-ending comparison of my work to my peers drives me up the walls as I sit in my 8x8 bedroom dreading the next set of assignments as I watch my colleagues working, having moved out and at this point in time getting married. Did I do something wrong? Did I make a mistake in going to grad school? Where did all of my motivation go? All of these questions began to play in my head like a broken record and I crumble to the thoughts of "what if's".
The future scares me a lot.
I grew up without a proper role model so there are tons of things that I did at a younger age that I regret such as not having saved up money when I was working - that money would have been absolutely useful right now in moving out. My past haunts me now and then and I fear that everything that I went through will not be as rewarding as I hope it to be. Deep down, I know I have the potential of doing great things. Heck, I have a portfolio most people would be shocked to see with the amount of different projects I was fortunate enough to work on. But there is that devilish feeling inside of me that eats away at that confidence and I am stuck with a bunch of pitiful insecurities - all of which makes it incredibly difficult for me to move past.
I am not a perfect individual and not once have I wished to be one up until now.
I am not someone who finds joy in material things. Sure, they are nice to have, but they never really brought great joy to me. I find them to be really temporary and replaceable. What I do value is something that is quite difficult to find or to receive and that is time. Boy, do I wish for time. I wish I could get more of other people's time because I grew up never really bonding with anyone. I adore all of my friends, I do, but as you get older your priorities shift and people rise up the totem pole of importance over you. We are nearing that age where we are looking to find love and happiness; peace and security. And perhaps that is why I feel the way that I do. Perhaps my anxiety does not stem from the work that I dread in grad school or the problems that I face at home, but rather the inconsistency and possible outcome of where my future will lie with love, happiness and security. Will I be able to move out soon? Will I find eternal love? When will happiness come a knocking? There are so many unanswered questions and truth be told, perhaps they will never be answered. That is the scariest part about all of this.
My point is, there is a demon that I face every night and perhaps it comes with age.
After having watched Hannah's video, I could not help but to let a small sigh of relief that I was not alone. It is not to say that all this time I faked my happiness - that is completely false. I do have my moments where my happiness is at an all time high, but it does not stay that way for long...at least when I am at "home" that is. My only wish is to be able to find myself eventually and for that to happen, I know I need to bury my past and leave this place that I never really called home. So maybe, just maybe, one day I can look back on all of this as I am siting in the corner of my dining room table with a cup of tea in hand and my significant other across from me - one day I can just look at myself in the mirror and smile in a home that I was able to rebuild my life in - one day, I can retell this story but with a happier ending and show others that you can defeat dragons and demons.
But for now, the battle has only just begun.