Enough: An Existential Crisis

I started re-watching “Buffy the Vampire Series.” It’s one of the few times during my packed day where I can enjoy some alone time while I clean my room or close my eyes for a brief moment. It’s funny- with each time I watch the series, I feel closer to Sarah Michelle Gellar-Prinze’s character. I’m on season five, the season where her mother dies and Buffy is feeling the world on her shoulders. She feels conflicted, trying to protect the world and the ones she loves with very little sleep and feeling like she’s losing her compassion and humanity. “I feel like stone, Giles,” Buff says in one episode.

Dearest Buffy- I know what you mean.

I get pulled in so many directions. I work 40+ a week, on the weekends, take projects home with me and still, I don’t everything done. The things I do get done weren’t done correctly. When I get home, I’m exhausted. It’s bad- all I want to do is lay down and sleep for the rest of the day. And that’s what I do- or that what I at least try to do. Most days, I lay awake in bed, eyes wide open, thinking about what I’m not doing. I have homework, chores, writing inquires that I could be sending out… I’m organizing a SlutWalk for this fall that I need to dedicate more attention to- but I don’t. I’ve been talking about finally getting my driver’s license for the past two months but I’m too drained to pick up the permit manual and study.

Last week, I got into arguments with some friends, who said I have been treating them poorly, putting them on the backburner. For me, it’s easy to do so especially lately when I’ve been questioning myself why I’m friends with certain people. Why do I try so hard to make others happy when doing so doesn’t make me happy myself? With some people, I feel like I don’t get any words in; my opinion isn’t valued. With others, I’m just simply ignored (I’ve been trying to volunteer at this artist workspace for a while, sending messages after messages but no one gets back to me. That hurts because I really want to volunteer what little time I have there). There are some friends I have  who I don’t know anything about anymore. Is it weird when you don’t like your friends anymore? I’m expected to be available to hang out all the time but I’m not. When I hang out with friends, I’m expected to be the perky, quirky Andrea. But I’m not. And it’s exhausting living this way. I don’t feel like I’m appreciated by a lot of my friends and family members. Part of me wants to shut the world out completely- friends, my boyfriend, parents, sisters and all. I think to myself, how wonderful it would be to be completely alone for an entire week, tucked away in my bedroom without any human interaction. Perhaps only then I could get a proper night of sleep and complete all the things on my ever growing to-do list.

I’m not writing now and it hurts not to (I don’t have much time to even blog- this is the first thing I’ve posted in almost a month). Even though I really like my job, it doesn’t fulfill me the way that writing does. I’m so scared that I’ll be sucked into my current position so deep that I will never leave- not that it would be a bad thing but I have different dreams for myself. The job I have right now is a step-stone, not a grave marker. Two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were in San Francisco, waiting for the bus outside the SF Chronicle office on Mission Street. I looked at that building like a little girl peeking into a toy store with wide eyes filled with hope. But then, this rock sank into the pit of stomach, as if it was holding me down, telling me that I’m not going anywhere. I spoke to a co-worker about this feeling of wanting more. She told me that I need to I let things be- I have a good job in this little town, live in a cute house, live in a decent life here. This is all true but I just can’t let things be. I can’t. I want something so much bigger for myself. I have a vision. I’ve had this vision since I was 15 years old. I want to be an editor at a magazine in a big city. I want to travel the world and experience new cultures, eat different foods. I want nice things and not owe anyone money (here’s looking at you, student loans). I want to be a wife. I want to adopt a huge family.  I want all these wonderful things- I just don’t know how I go about getting them. I think about high school and how I really wanted to be a Broadway actress- I didn’t think I was pretty nor skinny enough to become one. I remember how crushed I was when people told me that my dreams of singing and dancing on stage would never happen. I don’t want the same thing to happen with my dream of writing. When I worked at this medical office in New Jersey, there were employees who were with the company for years. I understand that they liked their jobs and the benefits they had but that sense of complacency and not always wanting something better for yourself- that’s what I never understand about the people I worked with.

I feel like I’m the human boulder. Cemented. Cold. The existing not living rock.

I know that things can change, though. Things can be better. They may not be better tomorrow but the far future can always be a bit brighter. Reflection is always a good thing- every dark cloud has a silver lining (even my stormy ones). I like lists and being able to check things off- when I think about the things I need to do in order to make myself feel better, I have this list to check off…

I am going to try to find a mentor- someone who can help guide along the path to a great journalistic career. I’m smart and I’m driven- I want to write about politics and global issues like the illegal sex trade and the American debt (and perhaps where to find a good couple of coffee in Prague). I want to be published in international magazine and travel the world, interviewing people and learning about their problems in life. I want to write pieces that inspire strangers, people from the mother reading her favorite news website to the President of the United States. I don’t know how to get there, how to accomplish this dream, but I am going to ask someone (and many ones!) to help and for their advice.

I don’t put a lot of effort into my journalism career. I fear rejection more than anything else- but I need to learn how to embrace it- take the rejection letters and try again; if not at that publication, there are always other ones. I need to start channeling fear into motivation. A year ago, I printed out the emails of editors of magazines I want to write for. As I cleaned out my bookshelf a few days ago, I found this pile, getting dirty and torn. It’s time to start pitching ideas. My friend, Stacey, said that the bed should only be used for sleeping in and sex. Since I can’t sleep most nights anyway, I might as well sit at the dining room table (not in bed) and try to something done during the morning hours when I can’t sleep (note to self: research sleeping medication). Stop crying in the middle of the night and stop with the complex overthinking- that is insanity. Just try something new. Be brave. Be bold. Fortune favors it.

I think its best to have three or four really good friends instead of a dozen of mediocre ones. Sure, I can have the friends that I can catch up with everyone couple of months but I need to stop putting so much emphasis on pleasing absolutely everyone. I’m not happy when I do it. That’s what makes me feel like I’m Stretch Armstrong, being pulled so far. I know how to say “no,” but I need to be comfortable with that choice and stand firm behind it, not letting my emotions get in the way of it. I have to remind myself that I can’t please everyone even though it pains me not to. Focus on the people that really matter- I am one of those people that really matter. And I am enough.

And instead of crawling into bed right when I come home from work, I’m going to throw on my running shoes and jog. My lungs deserve more fresh air.

These changes… I can do. I need to remind myself that my life has value. I am worth something to myself and I can get the life I want- living in a big city again (whether it’s London, Brooklyn, San Francisco, whatever), writing for a living and opening eyes with my words, debt-free with a motorcycle licence, with an eventual family and cute little corgi puppy to come home to.

Above all else, I have to remind myself that I’m Andrea and that I can do almost anything (even pee neatly while standing up).

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