Humans have not designed a perpetual motion machine, but life can feel like just that. It’s moving quick while making breakfast to reading emails before bed. Sometimes I find it almost impossible to be still. Being in a state of post-grad transition has only amplified this tendency of mine.
My grandma always manages to drop truth on me in the most casual way. She came up to me this weekend and said “You know sweetie, change is an interesting thing because when its happening it feels like you have no idea what’s going on.” Damn grandma, how do you do it?
At some moments I feel grounded and oriented, at others I feel like flaming oil in the ocean. I have an internship two days a week, no paying job, and no place I can truly call home. I sleep in my brother’s living room, and roll up my pad when I am gone for more than a day or when company is coming over. I keep trying different avenues to make some money because my savings is dwindling, but nothing has played out.
At times, none of this phases me. I am writing more than I ever have, I am learning new art forms, I am living in a new city, I am meeting new people, and it’s all so fucking fun. Sometimes I am grounded in my self and not fretting over the details. I feel confident that I will find a way to make some money that doesn’t make me ethically vomit. I feel I am blossoming although my soil is not solid.
At other moments, I feel panicked. It’s like I have my basic needs covered in this moment, but I have no idea where I am going or who I am traveling with. I feel alone and lost. Sometimes I don’t know who I am and I find it so easy to talk shit to the man in the mirror. I hate my whiteness, my maleness, and how I try to not exist in the body I have because of what it signifies. I hate my weakness and my strength, I hate my focus and I hate my distraction, and I hate what I make myself. I can make myself sick, I can make myself hate I can make myself confused, and I can make myself all sorts of things.
I just don’t quite yet know what I want to make. Dread can feel like a righteous state in which to exist given my social location in this world and given the state of the planet ecologically. Joy can feel like a high I don’t deserve as a white first-world male. I am not sure how much importance to place on my bodily form. It amazes me to see how I find ways to feel self-righteous.
I am tired of trying to prove myself. I often believe think of self-praise as arrogance, which leads me to not validate myself. I wind up never telling myself when I have done a good job. Without this self-validation, I find myself unsure of the value/significance my actions have, and this leads me to seek validation from outside sources. I will display my “talents” or put myself in positions to receive compliments so I can fill the gaps in my sense of self. It’s like filling holes in the buildings foundation with paper mache. I am tired of trying to prove myself.
During these times of change (which really is all the time, it just feels particularly dramatic a few months post-college), I really do feel like I have no idea what is going on. The world simultaneously amazes me with its beauty and terrifies me with its horrors, like talking to a poet about what it means to discover “new” in what seems old and watching an F-350 kill a deer crossing a road.
I have no idea what is going on, but I do feel passionate. I am not sure in what direction or why, but I definitely feel alive. I like myself most of the time, and hate myself the other times. A mentor of mine said its important to find a center. I want to center myself without feeling like I need to invent a perpetual motion machine. I want to sit in my center so the constant change of this world doesn’t feel like tidal waves. And all the other “I wants…”
I want to say “I will.” I will find a space between self-defeating and self-promoting that is not silence. I will find a way to orient myself in disorientation. I will stop expecting myself to have clear answers, but I will keep learning about the fog. I will whisper encouraging words in my ear so stillness does not feel like inadequacy. I will strive to make myself better without dismissing the strides I have made. I will validate my own existence even if I don’t understand it.