The Book

I started re-reading Eat, Pray, Love.

As I saw the book cover on the grey and black screen of my Kindle, I knew I had to read it again. Feel free to make fun of me following the footsteps of a thirty-six year old, post-divorce woman, but that book is a sort of a spiritual guide for me. Scratch that.. it’s a guide to self.

I first read the book in the summer of 2010 –my summer of change (I just threw up a little bit in my mouth typing that). I bought it originally for my mom on Mother’s Day, and she put it aside until she was in the mood for reading.. she always does that. So a couple of months later, in the middle of summer, I needed something to read and the book lay there basking in the glow of afternoon sun in mid-July. I stared at it and it taunted me back.. “this is totally a ‘women’s book”‘. but you know you wanna read.”

When I first picked it up, impeccably new yet covered with a fuzzy layer of dust, I had no idea that this book would actually change many things about me. Prior to that summer and the couple of years that ensued, I was an entirely different person. I was bitter, cynical, and very much disconnected from myself.. and it drove happiness away from me.

I don’t know how to explain the process of change –it was partly instantaneous and partly long. But at the core of it was figuring out who you are; find yourself and find happiness. And for a long time I did. I did things that made me happy and made me feel so in-tuned with myself –mind, body, and soul. There is just no other way to describe it. It’s when everything aligns and everything fits. It’s a hard balance to keep, but it’s not impossible.

The book was brought to me yet again in a time of need, or at least that’s the way I see it. I have been feeling less myself lately, and it has to do with many aspects of my life –job, living situation, mental state, fitness. And my question is if it’s all because of my relationship. I am fully aware that I am the type of person who gives his all in relationships.. I’ve done it once before and it didn’t work. I give so much of myself to make the other person happy, but that’s not what I get in return. I told myself that it would be different this time, but now I find that it wasn’t. At this moment, many parts of my life are not originally mine.. which leads me to another set of questions: am I living in somebody else’s life? And I wonder if I can find that balance again, the balance that the book helped me seek and achieve. Can I find it while I am with another person? Or do I need to find it individually? Whatever the case may be, I need to love myself first, and put my own happiness at a priority –maybe then I’ll figure it out.

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A Year

I think it’s appropriate that I am writing this at LAX while waiting for my flight back home to DC. It is appropriate in the sense that so much of this year has revolved around travel, moving from one place to another, and really not knowing what my next step will be until it’s already set in motion. So now I am choosing to reflect on this year. I’m choosing to write down the conclusions that I’ve reached from reflecting on this past year over these last weeks of 2014.

Over this entire year, I kept saying that I wish that it would be over. 2014 held a lot of disappointments, confusion, emotional breakdowns, anger, frustration, unhappiness, and a general array of dissatisfaction with my life. So much of my writing has revolved around this theme, but I think I’ve been looking at this all wrong. Yes, I can whine and moan and cry. I can vent and let it out. Yet I don’t see how that is conducive, at this moment, to look at things through that old, scratched lens. In retrospect, I choose to look at this year as a series of strength tests.

2014 has pushed me to my limits of how much I could withstands. And sometimes pain and difficulty took over. Sometimes I just wanted to give up. But luckily, I have surrounded myself with people who have helped push through. Some with compassion, some with a “pat on the bum” and “keep going”  —but the common denominator was that they all showed me how much I am loved in different ways. And I am so grateful for that.. for them.

“Pools of sorrow, waves of joy” rang true this year. Despite the “bad” things that life kept throwing at me, came moments of joy that I remember so vividly, and that I hope are etched in my memory forever. Visiting New York with my best friend and going to the craziest restaurant in the city, winning second place at kickball, celebrating the little brother’s Bar Mitzvah with so many people that I love including my two best friends and have them meet for the first time, having the most insane, most American 4th of July with my kickball team, road-tripping across the country with my family and best friend when moving to California, exploring Los Angeles, watching the sunset, star filled sky, and rain in Joshua Tree, and saying “I love you” and meaning it so deeply —they all happened this year.

And so, I am grateful for every pain and every joy.. because it means I lived 2014.

Thank you, 2014.

Happiness

“You haven’t been happy since December”

Since those words left my best friend’s mouth, I couldn’t help but think about them repeatedly. It seems that all that I’ve been trying to do is go back to moments where I found happiness. I tried to bring back those feelings by being around the people I used to be around, by bringing the pants into my life, by going back to North Carolina, by talking with my parents like I used to. But it just doesn’t seem to work. I can’t bring it back.

I have to put this disclaimer out: I am not talking about happiness in the bigger sense of the word where you are fully content with your life entirely –I don’t believe that exists.

I believe in moments of happiness. I used to know them and what makes me happy. I used to take immense pleasure in drinking coffee in my bed every morning before class… or blasting music while showering and ridiculously singing along to it. I found happiness in anticipation of my next step. I found happiness in planning what I want from my life and the vast potential of it. I found happiness in looking forward to the trips that I was going to take. I found happiness in finding the perfect song to the perfect moment to walk around campus. I know I’m melodramatic, but things don’t seem to have the same effect on me anymore. I’m preoccupied with negative thoughts and criticism of myself and others all the time.

I don’t know where it stems from either.. so it makes sense to me that I don’t know how to mend it. What happened in those past few months to break me so hard and mess me up like that? It scares me that I have become a shadow of who I used to be. It scares me that I don’t know where I want to take my life.

it scares me that I am in limbo.

 

8,000 Miles

It all started with a song repeating the line “It’s time to run.” I was sitting on that bus in March. The rain was patting on the windows lightly, and I could vaguely see the outside through the condensation. It’s time to run.. I was trying to decide if I should to take that opportunity and send myself to California for a summer program. And so, with those words, i decided that yes, it’s time. I realized that “if not now, then when?” rang true at that moment. Do it now because you don’t know what will happen. And so I did. I told them I was coming, and from there my summer plans slowly began taking shape.

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This past summer, I travelled 8,000 miles.

31 days of hating the lab. 31 days of loving Durham. 

26 days of the most amazing experience with a group of people who became family.

7 days of fun in LA with my cousin.

7 days of spending time with my best friend. 7 days of falling in love with Chicago.

Some days at home when I finally got to see my family.

A couple of nights in DC.

4 days of Boston and Cape Cod.

5 days of becoming a true Tar Heel at CU.

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I am still trying to make sense and process in the deepest levels all that happened in those three and a half months. This summer has been a journey of self discovery, discovery of others, knowing myself on a different level.

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I’m scared to admit that it is over..

Maybe this post is a testament to that.