I’ve been waiting to write this post for a long time. Waiting, wondering. Unsure of how to put this feeling, this bizarre and confusing feeling, into words.
I should start off by saying that coming home; well, it hasn’t been easy. It’s been up and down, hot and cold, exciting and terrifying. For the first time in my life, that space that I have continuously filled with education, work and travel has become gapingly empty. A void. And the path ahead is all of a sudden riddled with uncertainties.
The brutally invasive question of “So… what’s the plan now?” falls from their lips time and time again. The assumption that I came home with a brand new job awaiting me. Maybe even a place in London: surely, after 6 years away, I wasn’t going to return to my hometown? Or maybe I would set off travelling again?
The answer, awkward and honest. Simple.
“The plan? I don’t have one. For now, I just want to be.”
And yet, I felt like I was being judged for my response. That I had something to prove. That this answer… this answer wasn’t quite “enough.”
I was in need of their validation. I craved it.
Why? Why was I so desperately seeking external gratification rather than focusing on accepting myself and my choices internally?
I’ve been questioning this a lot since returning home. The notion of acceptance… recognition… approval. How many of our choices are governed by this? How much of what we write, what we do, is simply to be heard? To feel like we are being seen?
I think of my relationship with social media. I think of all the fitness and wellness bloggers I follow. My drop in mood when I see their trim and toned physiques compared to the curves that only seem to be growing on mine. I look at the vegan, gluten-free concoctions they’ve created and then cringe at the bag of Maltesers I ate in bed or the macaroni cheese I devoured two nights in a row.
I see the celebrities with their perfect hair and makeup whilst I can barely afford Rimmel and a home kit hair dye. The writers getting thousands of retweets on their articles compared to the handful of likes on mine. The idyllic relationships, picture perfect, begging for your attention.
And it all just seems so… pointless. So heavily constructed. So deeply manifested in this idea of the “perfect way to live”.
I travelled from Norwich to Southampton recently. For anyone who’s taken that journey, you’ll know: it’s one heck of a trip. But it gave me the chance to catch up on some podcasts. To just sit and listen.
One in particular set these thoughts alight. Made everything feel so much clearer, so much easier to interpret, than it ever had before.
It was an interview with Lucy Bourchier, an Australian Yogi and altogether total badass. Every word she spun was gold, but this line in particular… this line was everything:
“What would I stand for if I thought nobody would judge me?”
Because… what would I stand for? What would I stand for if I wasn’t so fixated by the amount of likes I received? If I wasn’t so bothered by my follower count? If my choices weren’t made based on whether something was “in line” with the image I wanted people to have of me?
If I wasn’t so frightened of not being enough?
If I realised that, actually, I was enough?
I was more than enough.
So, I guess, I want this post to signal I shift… a shift in myself. A step away from trying to design this image of myself, and just being myself. A disconnection from any of these channels that allow comparison and encourage you to judge your “goodness” on how many people deem a photo worthy enough to tap that little red heart. A period of focusing on finding my “goodness” myself. Understanding that it has been there all along.
And, for now, that means a step away from my blog. The blog that has been like a friend to me through the hardest of times and has allowed me to grow both emotionally and mentally. My outlet. My little corner of the internet.
Of course, if inspiration begs me to write or if I need that place to just let it all out, then I will. This isn’t about restricting myself from one thing or the other. It is just about easing pressure. Letting myself make those choices as and when.
Instead I will focus on writing for my own pleasure, regardless of other people’s reactions and whether or not I am being heard. Fiction: something I have wanted to dive into for the longest time but have been too afraid.
I will focus on breaking back into an area of work that will bring me love and fulfilment. An area I am so excited by. An area I can really see my true self flourishing in.
I will focus on producing something with a dear friend that will break down these barriers and provide a reason to celebrate rather than try to change ourselves.
I will… be.
And for now? That is more than enough.
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It’s about cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” – Brene Brown