Kitchen Dancing

I'm someone who spends a great deal of time worrying about what I "should" be doing. It's a reality I've created for myself in which I'm always dangling off the edge of a cliff, just barely hanging on, all the while telling myself "You should be able to handle this. Why aren't you strong enough to just hang here and be alright?" Never mind pulling myself up, the problem is never the cliff, or how I got there, in my mind the problem is always my shortcomings, my inability to just stay there and find some way to be content to dangle. "What's wrong with you?" is always what that voice says, the one telling me that I'm not as happy as I could or should be and simultaneously scolding me for being unable to be happy with what is.

I don't really know how to talk about my anxiety because I don't like admitting to myself that it exists. The funny thing is, I'm actually a courageous, anxious person. I often put myself in situations that scare me while wearing a mask that tells the world it's no big deal. The thing I'm starting to realize is that the mask isn't actually for the world, it's for me, to try to convince myself that the way I seem is more important than the way I am.

I don't know exactly why it never occurred to me to be on my own team, cheering myself on. It seems most of the time instead of helping myself to make it, I put myself to the test- challenging myself just to see if I can do it, but not giving myself the help I need in order to actually pull it off, whatever it is. I create the struggle as a means of proving to myself that I'm capable. Don't know where I got it in my head that the world needed my help devising more opportunities to struggle- it's always done a pretty good job on it's own.

I'm terrified of a lot of things in this world; I'm terrified of what it takes to exist in it, of what's being asked of me and how I choose to respond. I'm terrified of making wrong decisions- without really even understanding what could make a decision all that wrong. I'm terrified of being vulnerable, of people knowing that I'm scared, or of my actions reflecting my cowardice. But the tricky thing about cowardice is that it's a master shape-shifter, and sometimes doing what appears to be courageous with the wrong intention is actually a cowardly act.

By that I mean that I've gotten to the point in my life where the actions are pretty courageous- ie. moving to a new country, putting myself out there- but these actions are often fueled by a need to seem courageous and not by actually letting myself feel that way. I think the most courageous thing I could do would be to admit to myself that I'm enough, to let people see me for who I actually am rather than who I hope they will see.

The hard part now, for me, is being okay with the parts of myself I can't stand; embracing the good and the bad and no longer tallying them as markers of how good a person I am or am not. I have to make a choice to accept my flaws- or the things about myself that I label as flaws- while forgiving myself for existing the way that I do, and more than forgiving, celebrating it.

I don't really know if the good in a person cancels out the bad or if that even matters at all, but I do know that I want to be a good person. I've spent my life up to this point trying to be some kind of version of that, never really knowing what it actually means to be good. Is a good person a "nice" person? What is nice even? Is it the same as being kind? And what happens when kind doesn't cut it? When things get fucked up and the kindest thing, or rather the right thing, is actually something abrasive, something strong willed and confrontational and powerful? Does being a good person just mean having the intelligence and the guts to do what's right in that moment?

I've been noticing that I don't really trust myself to do what's right in the moment, or to do what comes naturally. I'm constantly practicing for something- rehearsing what I'll say beforehand, picturing each situation, mapping out my route and my plans and my day the way I picture it going and then doing everything in my power to make the reality match it. But the best moments are the ones I can't plan for- the ones that catch me off guard, underprepared; and so far the sky hasn't fallen.

My brand of crazy is the kind that's concealable- most of all to myself; it's the kind I can tuck away with a made bed, or a new haircut, or some other scheme for occupying myself and my thoughts- running away from the crazy that has me believing I'm the only one who doesn't know what's going on in this life. I really believe sometimes, to my core, that everyone else has an instruction manual on how to do this thing called living, and it's not that I've misplaced my copy or that I wasn't given one, it just seems to be written in a foreign language, with pages missing; and I wonder to myself if that's what everyone else's looks like too.

I did something courageous tonight. I found a way back to myself. Instead of just planning, pondering and postulating, I stood up and danced for the first time in a long time with no goal or motive, for no reason at all other than because I'm alive. For there never was a problem so so terrible that a little kitchen dancing couldn't help.