Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about accepting all of the strange and wonderful things that make me who I am.
Like most of the human race, I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues most of my life. In the past few years, I’m happy to say that I’ve become confident in who I am and proud of the person I’ve grown to be.
But I recently learned that loving yourself and accepting yourself are two different things. I’m still trying to figure out the acceptance part.
Almost every single day, I look around my office and envy my coworkers for being career driven. For wanting promotions, for wanting to buy a house, for being proud of our milestones as a company, for getting a full night of sleep, for being able to go home and watch The Bachelor.
Trust me, I want to watch The Bachelor. I want to enjoy The Bachelor. I’ve tried to watch The Bachelor with my roommates countless times. But it always ends the same way – I grow restless and go to my room to work on whatever project I currently have going on.
I can’t relax. When I don’t have rehearsal, class or a show, I have an endless list of things to write. When I finish one thing, I start another. If I end a day without creating something, I get anxious. Even this post is being written during my thirty minute break at work.
So many people told me that I needed to take a break and relax, so I did. Granted, I still worked a full-time job, two internships, took classes & had a few side gigs, but I decided to spend my time off focusing on relaxing. I stopped writing in my blog, put writing my one person show on hold and started watching a Hulu documentary series about mascots during my thirty minute breaks. After work, instead of rushing to Starbucks to write, I’d go home and “relax.” But here’s what happened – I took a lot of naps, I started to eat unhealthy food, and I took a lot of naps. Even with all of this prime napping time, I couldn’t actually sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night panicked and anxious. At the end of the day, I didn’t feel good about myself. I was unhappy and unfulfilled.
Slowly, I’ve started to pick things up again. I’m currently working on a show that I love & I’m committed to writing this blog again. I forbid myself from sleeping for longer than 20 minutes in my downtime and set writing goals for myself. I listen to what my body needs and respond to it. For me, writing and creating is my sense of identity. It’s my therapy, livelihood, what motivates me live instead of just go through the motions. It’s what keeps me sane during my day job and what helps me sleep at night. It’s part of who I am, and I just need to accept that I’m not someone who can relax in a traditional way. And that’s okay.
I may never be able to sit and enjoy watching The Bachelor. And that’s okay. When we stop wishing and wanting to be someone else, and instead accept who we are, we’re able to find the things that make us happy so that we can do them unapologetically. What may seem like work to one person is another’s livelihood. So while it’s important to know when you need a break, it’s also important to check in with yourself and figure out what makes you happy. Don’t lose something that you love in an effort to be “normal” – accept who you are, and all of the strange but beautiful things that come with you.