Here’s an email I got over the weekend …
First off, thanks for reading and thanks for reaching out. I’m going to assume you were watching the talk from Professor for the day at Cal State Fullerton? (Click here to view)
I can’t tell you to just “be awesome,” or advise you to just say “fuck it” and go off on your own and figure things out. The bottom line is that no man is an island, and you’re going to need people around you.
I’m sorry to hear you’ve been depressed since you were 10, but I’m also going to say it’s time to put on your big girl pants and decide to make a change in your life.
The only person that is going to get you out of this rut is you. Period end of sentence.
The one line in this email that sticks out the most is, “I only feel a little better when people compliment my achievements.”
What you’re doing is seeking outside validation because you don’t feel worthy enough just being yourself. This is REALLY hard to do, btw, because we are ALWAYS wanting to pacify people to a degree to have them like us, or want to be around us. In psychology they talk about the “masks” that we all wear, and how we change aspects of our personality depending upon who we are around. We all do it, but the problem is we are still alone with our thoughts which can be an extremely damaging internal monologue. Whatever that mask is hiding needs to be dealt with, and until you decide to forgive and let go of some of that anger, shame, whatever visceral/ basic emotion – you are only holding yourself back. Having a tight knit family, boyfriend, great job – whatever, is never going to matter. At the end of the day, you are only a projected label based on that dynamic. You take on the role of the girlfriend, the role of the daughter/ sister, A+ overachiever, but you can do, do, do, do, do, til your heart’s content and it’s all going to still feel hollow at the end of the day.
I really wish Ryan Gosling made an appearance in my coloring book. Think of life like a coloring book. No matter what you are given x amount of pages in this book. The lines are there, the basic objects you are asked to color are presented but it is YOUR CHOICE what colors you choose, what tools to color, do you even want to color within the lines or are you someone who enjoys coloring outside of them? Life just is. Period end of sentence. These experiences you have, the experiences we all have – are just that … experiences. If you let them define you you’re going to be in a world of hurt.
One thing that has been very helpful to me is getting out of my own head. I volunteer two times a week at two different local churches, almost every day I do something with my friends (even if it’s just hanging out at one of their houses), I go to the beach every weekend, and I maintain a workout regimine that works for me. That’s it. To most people, I’m sure doesn’t sound very interesting, but honestly I’ve never been more fulfilled in my entire life. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, because I know for the first time in my life I’m doing all of this solely because I find value in it. I have very few friends, but the times that we talk and with such brutal honesty feels FANTASTIC!!! I wouldn’t trade any of it for all the tea in China.
I’ve said before it was always about feeling “unapologetically awesome” but it’s so much more simple than that. That verbiage is still placing something shiny over something very, very basic. You just need to start doing things only for yourself Ally. Whatever it is you’re doing, if it feels good – keep going. You need to turn inward (which I know can be scary) and just tell yourself it’s okay, but it’s time to move on. You don’t reside with those feelings anymore and you’re ready to take charge of your own life and your own coloring book.
Please keep me posted, and rock on.