"If I’m being completely honest with myself, it’s my severe lack of effort, my own inertia, in many aspects of my life that has manifested this monster of self-doubt within."


I have been unhappy with myself for quite some time now. Only now am I starting to take responsibility for my inactions and actually do something about it. Before awareness develops, it is too easy to force blame onto anything external. When I complain about school, a lack of creative opportunities, shitty jobs or living situations, it’s always about the other - not the I. If I’m being completely honest with myself, it’s my severe lack of effort, my own inertia, in many aspects of my life that has manifested this monster of self-doubt within. My fear of failure has become a self-fulfilling prophecy because I feel like a failure living in fear. The world overwhelms me. The more I learn, the more fascinated yet fearful I become. Conflicted is how I feel most of the time, a constant cognitive dissonance buzzing inside. When I choose to be indifferent towards most things, I feel numb. It scares me how easy it is to let myself feel that way, to just shut down and feel nothing. 


It’s not always doom and gloom though. I know it’s natural to feel overwhelmed because this world we live in is a bit of a mindfuck, to put it lightly. Beyond the storm clouds of anxiety and depression is that shining beam of curiousity that drives my true spirit. That’s where my passion lies. It’s the part of me that is fascinated by reality and striving to learn more every waking day. 


"I close myself off to opportunities and spontaneity because I’m trying to feel safe in my comfort zone. Now this ‘comfort zone’ of mine feels restless, stuck and uncomfortable. "


I am aware of my vulnerability now and how I don’t often let myself feel it. I keep my inner self guarded, quiet and reserved while assuming my go-to role as an observer. I don’t see anything wrong with this part of me; it’s how I attempt to make sense of the world. The problem is that a lot of times I revert to the observer role so automatically that I’m not even aware I’m doing it. The longer I hold myself in like this, the more in my own head I go. I end up observing myself as much as I observe everyone else. I close myself off to opportunities and spontaneity because I’m trying to feel safe in my comfort zone. Now this ‘comfort zone’ of mine feels restless, stuck and uncomfortable. Like a popsicle on a hot summer day, I can feel my armour slowly melting away and what’s left of the real me underneath is that petrified wooden stick. 


I decided to do this to let myself be for a moment – to clear some space within. I felt I needed to take a walk off the beaten path and risk truly being seen for the first time. Exploring wildlife has become one of my favourite things to do. This time around, I got to traverse the rough in the buff. For one whole blissful hour, I ventured deeper into this secluded forest while simultaneously delving deeper within myself. It’s funny to me now that, even though I must have appeared like a wild animal, this felt like one of the most human things I’ve ever done. The anticipation for this existential experiment was not unlike the excited nervousness I always get before I’m about to perform. As an artist, vulnerability is necessary to truly connect with other people. In this case, there was a lot more nerves than excitement, until I had my clothes off at least. That’s when the dynamic shifted. Suddenly, I was no longer in the anxious future scenario in my mind; I was fully and completely in the present in my body. I was free. This is what performing and ‘killing it’ feels like. The feeling of surely living in the moment is to conquer anxiety and it is my favourite feeling. As I continued to wander, I was overcome by the beauty of the forest. I felt the cool autumn evening air surrounding my entire body. I felt so welcomed in my natural state that I no longer felt separate from the nature surrounding me, I was the nature; an integral part of life itself. I eventually found a boulder in the middle of the stream to sit on. I closed my eyes and focused on the sound of the stream flowing past… In that moment, I reached such a relaxed state that; all my problems had washed away. I felt my whole body breathing, smiling and saying ‘thank you.’ 


"I even had one dream where I was trapped in a house while strangers were trying to get inside as I scrambled in a panic to lock all the doors and keep everyone out… "


After this experience, I found that even though I am very confident in my writing abilities, this was the hardest part. While the experience itself was pure joy, this took thousands of written words and multiple drafts. In the nights following, as I began to compile thoughts and process it all, I had difficulty sleeping. I even had one dream where I was trapped in a house while strangers were trying to get inside as I scrambled in a panic to lock all the doors and keep everyone out… I think even the most amateur psychiatrist could decode that one! Following my terrifying yet exhilarating experience, my mind didn’t know what to do. But here I am, talking to you, the real me in full view. I had to get to a place where I could let myself accept criticism, which is inevitably the biggest obstacle to get over as a creative person. It’s nerve-wracking to put any part of myself on display and hard to detach from creations that are so meaningful to me. As I’m learning to let go, I’m certain that this experience has taught me that patience is needed to be hopeful about my future. As I fully explore all the possible paths that will lead me there, I know now that believing in myself should feel both exciting and terrifying at the same time.









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