Dear the Ghost Living in My Heart,

You’re angry with me—disappointed maybe. You see your potential, circumscribed within the confines of the human host you occupy. I’d give anything to set you free, for your sake and mine. But at what cost? Death of the host. Is that the price of true transcendence? I recognize that humanity fears death—more than anything; it’s sort of a conditioned response, isn’t it? Fear of the unknown. What happens after death? Nothing? Is there more? Which of these questions does religion seek to answer? Where can I get some of that? Does it cost anything? Doesn’t everything?

In the meantime, how would you like a taste of your true potential? I think something like that only comes from taking a leap, though—a big leap. I can’t tell you what will happen, but I assure you we can expect to face beautiful consequences. Besides, what is growth without suffering? Being human is fun!

So… what kind of daring leap shall we take? Move somewhere far away? Quit our job regardless of whether or not we have another lined up? Travel somewhere for a few weeks? Be completely and totally honest with everyone around us? All of the above?! How about this? I imagine you’re capable of giving “signs,” right? You’re a part of me after all. You must maintain some kind of influence. I propose this: Give me a sign. Show me want you want out of this short life. Being that you’re in touch with what’s most existentially significant, I trust you to choose wisely. I’m relying on you, because my measly little human brain doesn’t have the best track record at the moment. But my heart? That’s a different story.

Let’s see what you’ve got.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

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To the Future,

Please don’t disappoint me.

In many ways, my life has been more than adequate. Good school. Great family. Let’s just say… I am the epitome of female white privilege. Am I thankful for that? Sure I am. Not as thankful as I would be if I knew what it was like to live without it, though.

The problem is… I’m bored. I’m living with the knowledge that there’s so much more where that came from. It’s not that I don’t appreciate my existence. It’s that I feel unsatisfied.

I wrote this in my journal tonight:

“I feel connected to something I’ve never actually looked upon. So you search for it. You spend your whole life searching. Perhaps that’s what they call purpose. Or perhaps it’s what we call death.”

And by “death,” I mean this “search” is kind of ironic, isn’t it? We waste our whole life searching for an answer only to finally get it upon death. Maybe there’s an answer in NOT searching—and just living. Life is meant to be lived, right? Do we concern ourselves with questions about our existence? Or do we save that for later, after we’ve taken our last breath? Or maybe even right before?

I want my future to be happy. Satisfactory. I want to experience love. Passion. Adventure. Most importantly, I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to endure pain and grief and grow stronger with each tear that falls down my face—like a rebirth. As it’s said in Romans 6:4:

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Strictly speaking, I’m not really a Christian, but you don’t have to subscribe to an entire movement in order to recognize and appreciate the potential for truth—in order to humble yourself to the universal code behind understanding the relationship between the soul and the human body.

I’m getting carried away. Always at risk for losing my audience. Going off the deep end.

Ah, I got it. Okay, Future; here’s what I want you to do. Listen closely. I want you to surprise me.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Lesson #12: Rise above the insecurities

Rise above the insecurities. This lesson might be  my most important; though, I’m not quite sure how to apply it yet. It’s proven to be my MOST difficult.

But as they say… once you recognize the problem, you can work on the solution.

I am an insecure person… and as a 23 years old, I’ve never been more insecure. Ironically, it’s at this time in my life that I crave an ease of confidence in myself–an ease that can take me places to discover new things, about myself and the world around me.

But alas… So, with that being said, it’s never been more important for me to rise above the insecurities. How? That’s the part I don’t know.

It’s been a year and a half since I moved out of my childhood home, to live forty-five minutes away from my parents and brother–three people whose lives I covet more than my own. My dad is the funniest man alive. My mom, the sweetest and most selfless. And my brother? Well, there’s something about him, that I can’t quite put my finger on, that I just adore. I often ask myself, Why did I ever move away? I was so happy around my family. I felt loved. Have I simply humored the ideas of society by taking the next logical step–which, apparently, is moving out of your childhood and into your adulthood within the first few months of graduating from college, an hour away from home, and shit-out-of-love? I guess?

I say “shit-out-of-love” because I’m used to living around people who love me unconditionally. But here, in adulthood, I can’t find that. I don’t feel wholly loved–loved so fully that it surrounds me, like a protective shell. Here, on the island of adulthood (or maybe childhood was the island), on which I’ve been ship-wrecked, stranded, left to my own devices, I can’t help but feel alone, truly left to my own devices. Vulnerable. 

People tell me I should be loving my life right now. I should be celebrating my youth and independence. But I can tell you right now, I am not. I am not content. And for that reason, my insecurities are filling the gap my confidence left behind. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve grown in my confidence in other ways. I think I’m great at my job, and I’m pretty good, to a fault, at self-analysis, but when it comes to my self-worth, I’m shot. And all I want to do is be a kid again, when love was never hard to find. When imaginary friends were more loyal than real ones.

(I swear this post ends on a positive note, so keep reading…)

My first instinct is to blame the world and everything/one in it. Don’t we all wanna do that? It’s safer. If we can blame the world, we don’t have to blame ourselves. But as I’ve said before, I am always the problem. No matter what hand we’re dealt, we have control over how we move forward–how we rise above the insecurities.

Let me give you a list of some of my insecurities. Not because I’m a masochist, but because it’s important for us to recognize our shortcomings. That way, we know what areas need the most work.

  1. My looks. I have good days and bad days.
  2. My reputation.
  3. Feeling significant. This is a big one. Most of the time, I wonder if anyone would notice if I simply disappeared. Sad, right?
  4. My future.
  5. My own conscience. I don’t trust myself to make my own decisions.
  6. My words, my motives, and my feelings. I can never tell what’s right and what’s wrong.
  7. Right and wrong.
  8. My brain, because anxiety/depression are a bitch, and I don’t think most people understand it.

I could think of more, but there’s no need. I think it’s pretty clear that I’m not all together sure of myself. And I could make a list of ALL the reasons, all the external stimuli, which have led to my insecurities, but it won’t matter. I can’t brood on the past.

So, now we get to the How? How will I overcome the insecurities? This isn’t some easy task that can be righted by morning. This is HERCULEAN. And anyone with horrible insecurities will understand. Insecurities are their own mind-sets, and they are extremely convincing. If I begin to feel like my friends don’t love me, I WILL BELIEVE IT. I’ll begin to ask myself why my friends haven’t been texting me and assume it’s because I’m boring, or unwanted, or expendable. And whether it’s true or not, my brain IMMEDIATELY comes to the most detrimental conclusion. I’ll begin to feel sorry for myself and say, Well, maybe I’m better off alone. And then, slowly but surely, I’ll begin to resent the world for not meeting my expectations. But you know what? I can’t expect anything from the world.

So, to combat these feelings and find peace within myself, I’ve been volunteering at an Animal Shelter. I’ve started teaching tap classes. I’ve tried to blog more about the lessons I’m learning on my journey of self-discovery. I’m trying–TRYING– to forgive myself and my feelings. I’ve been thinking about pursuing my photography. I’ve adopted a cat simply because I wanted one and named him Peter Pan (we’re the best of friends). I’ve been putting more time into making others happy (I would advise you to limit this, though, if you’re not first happy with yourself. This is something I’m beginning to realize…)

There’s a reason imaginary friends are more loyal than real ones.

Because imaginary friends are YOU, which proves that the only person who can love YOU the way you need to be loved is YOU. When it seems your friends don’t love you, it doesn’t mean it’s true. It doesn’t mean they hate you or don’t want you around; it means you need a different kind of love right now. It means YOU need to love YOURSELF. You need a Bing Bong.

1923_BingBong_InsideOut_501_copie

At this vulnerable time in my life, I want to be happy. And I can’t rely on others to help me with that. It’s up to me. 

Lesson learned: I have to rise above the insecurities…on my own.