And now for a string of loosely connected thoughts…
I am amazed at how much easier it is to be happy when I use the internet less.
Which is difficult cause I really, really love the internet.
But I also struggle a lot with comparing myself to other people - Am I as good looking, am I as interesting, do I do/say/make things that are as neat, am I as happy as they…seem.
Now there ain’t no way I’m taking a leave of absence or something psychotic like that. I will never forsake you internetz. But ugh, I do need to pace myself, and remind myself that it’s all just a construction - a false identity. The way I create myself and perceive other people through a computer screen is not real.
I went to LEAF over the past four days (Lake Eden Arts Festival = camping in the NC mountains and LOTS of dancing) and it was fantastic. It wasn’t easy by any means, and I had a fair amount of social anxiety (again, too much comparing myself to other people) including my first legitimate anxiety attack (for no apparent reason? thanks anxiety!) that had me rocking back and forth in my tent screaming into a pillow while my body pretended to have a stroke. But even so the festival was powerful, enriching, and wonderful. I got to do quite a bit of dancing which was great, and finally midway through I even stopped caring what I looked like while I did it - stopped comparing myself to the other dancers and just had the time of my life.
I took my camera with me to the festival, but I didn’t take a single picture. After the first day it became a conscious decision. I realized that a large portion of why I would want to take pictures would be to share them - to push them in other peoples’ faces and say “look at the fun I had! doesn’t my life seem interesting?!” But after I thought about it I decided that I didn’t want that. I didn’t even need the pictures for memories. I will remember it forever, and the feelings that went with it. And you know what, I think I want to keep it like that. As a private, visceral experience that I had, and can now move on from. It isn’t really important that I share it with anyone else. It happened, and it was beautiful, and I have that, and that’s all I need.
Anyway, this is all to say that I’m going to start trying a little harder to deal with the single thing I struggle most with in the world. My construction of self doesn’t need to be based off of anyone else. This will not be easy. I will falter. I will fail. But I’m still going to try. I’m a perfectionist and the one thing I seek more than anything else is the approval of other people (realized why I’ve never been in a relationship yet? hehe). I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it also shouldn’t be the ultimate goal. I’m the only person who knows my whole life, and I always will be. No presentation of self that I ever create will encapsulate who I am. If I’m the only one that’s gonna be stuck with me for the rest of my life I might as well try to like me.
So here’s to being happy. Here’s to realizing that my life and experiences are full, complex, beautiful things just because they are mine. And no amount of pictures on tumblr should convince me otherwise.