In my previous post I touched on thinking of the imagination not as a tool, but as a work space where I am free to create. I don’t mean the creation of fantastical things, as such. Rather, to come up with different ways or perspectives of looking at my life. In this way, I mean to create realities.
Whether we are aware of it or not, each of us has a style of doing things. The way we dress. How we make our coffee. Our style of driving. Even how we fold our laundry. If someone we know were to come across our handiwork, chances are they’d recognize that this was our doing, that it just screams us. Having a style or way of doing something also applies to how we think. Just like the way we make our coffees and drive into work, I’d argue that when it comes to daily living, our thought processes have a way about them. And they may perhaps be a product of habit. If we operate out of habit, we risk creating false or flawed realities for ourselves. Especially if our default thought processes are negative ones. Ones where we cast ourselves as victims. Ones where we blame. Ones where we strip the actors in our story of their humanity.
Using my imagination to create new, productive realities for myself is about creating a different narrative. That’s why I am choosing to embark on what I’m calling ‘Project 32.’ I choose to no longer be limited by the negative self-talk and lame stories I tell myself. I choose instead to use my creative faculties to suss out the truth inside all the stories I tell myself. And from all of that, live by a good narrative.
Tomorrow’s my birthday. If you asked me back when I was, say, 16 what 32 would look or feel like, I probably would have shrugged and said I didn’t know. But also would have had the vague notion that it would be fucking fantastic. My 16 year old self thought that by 32 I’d be a doctor and/or millionaire, or at least the (millionaire) #girlboss of my very own badass company. You know, so I’d have an excuse to wear sexy pencil skirts ala Claire Underwood. I’d be married, duh. Children? Sure, what put-together 32 year old doesn’t have a few of those running around. Friends didn’t really factor into my wildest, most sensational daydreams about my sexy, successful, wealthy 32 year old status. In short, my idea of 32 was vague, vogue, awesome, and not at all how it panned out.
Don’t get me wrong. I consider myself a blessed person. No hashtag needed for that one – it’s more sincere than sincere. I have my health. I have the love and support of my family. I have an education. I have a relationship with a wonderfully supportive partner who is, quite literally and metaphorically, the love of my life. I have a somewhat vague idea of what my talents, skills, abilities, and capabilities are. But I don’t have a clue how to use my esoteric gifts, or where in the world I belong. That sort of leaves me chronically unemployed. Friends? Not to offend anyone, but I think I can count the number of true, ride-or-die friends I have on one hand, using four fingers. And don’t get me started on the fitting into sexy pencil skirts issue either. My self-confidence is more like suspicion – I’m suspicious of who I am and what I have to offer (not much). Oh, and I also don’t have a puppy.
And so it begins. The charming self-deprecation spirals into the negative self-talk.
I believe this negative self-talk is almost entirely the reason I find myself here, at 32 years old, unfulfilled, anxious about the future, with no idea what I’m meant to do with myself or where I belong. On the eve of my 32nd birthday, I’m making a promise to myself to try to do things differently: rather than use my creative faculties to concoct bogus stories about myself, I’m going to use it to live my life to its fullest potential. To finally lose the weight. To get myself – my space, my time, my goals and aspirations – organized. To be the best possible sister, daughter, friend, girlfriend I can be. To show myself love and compassion whenever I can. To push myself to grow in all directions. To use every ounce of my life force, every aspect of my life, for goodness and light. I’m gonna try and live by a good narrative.
I don’t want to reach sainthood. I don’t want to attain perfection. I just don’t want to cower in fear of myself anymore. I want to find my voice again, and have the courage to own my story. To live out loud. And be authentically, sincerely Me.