As I prep tonight’s gourmet single-girl dinner which consists of half a bag of Skinny-pop popcorn and a caffeine free Diet Coke, I find myself feeling an overwhelming amount of guilt for having given up on myself. I guess you could say my “fuck it” meter is at an all time high at the moment. After a series of highs and extremely disappointing lows, I’ve spent the last few months chasing pretty much nothing but instagram followers. I seem to be missing that spark, that excitement, that passion for life that just isn’t there. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I’m depressed, but I will say that I’ve found myself in a very unmotivated funk that even Anthony Robins himself couldn’t pull me out of. Everything seems like too much effort, from cooking to writing, exercising, shaving my entire body just so I can be seen in public in a tank top and shorts, I just don’t have the motivation for literally anything. It’s been extremely taxing trying to find something to ignite that optimistic, happy-go-lucky, sarcastic spark that I know still lives inside of me, especially since time doesn’t stand still for anyone, let alone someone who literally just wants to sit in bed hitting refresh on her Instagram feed for hours on end while she waits for her life to start. I know we all experience slumps, I’ve been in and out of them practically my entire life, but for some reason this one feels different.
2018 was going to be my year. My year to shine, flourish, grow, better myself and who knows, maybe even fall in love again (most importantly with myself), some of those things did end up happening but as the months went on, I dealt with some very discouraging challenges that really took the wind out of my sails. A pretty significant car accident, a slow down in the real estate market leading to an overall lull in my work environment, not one, but two failed relationships and the harsh realization that I don’t have an endless supply of disposable income. My summer long “treat yo-self” attitude was my way of trying to have it all and make up for all the things that I lacked in life (a husband, a house, a dog, a Cartier watch collection…you know, the basics!) when in actual fact all I was doing was a number on my wallet. Who did I think I was anyway for spending almost $200 on an overnight bag made to carry all of my outlet mall clothing in?! Did spending all that money actually make me happier? Maybe. I mean, I did score the deal of the century when I found the perfect ruffled one piece on the clearance rack at Target for just $14, some would call that the epitome of happiness, what more did I want out of life?
Like most of us, I tend to be my own worst critic. I’m hard on myself when it comes to most things, and when I ultimately feel like I keep dropping the ball over and over again I overwhelmingly start to sweep them all under the rug until my living room looks like the ball pit at IKEA. Each ball represents a different self let down, each time I didn’t go to the gym, every piece of chocolate I told myself I wouldn’t eat, every dollar I spent that I said I’d save and every foot in mouth (drunk) text I shouldn’t have sent. Realizing that we’re actually human beings who make mistakes and who don’t always have all of our ducks in a row at all times can be a crippling feeling. I actually think that all of my ducks have probably abandoned me at this point, I feel like I just have a bunch of drunk flamingos wandering around aimlessly trying to keep their heads out of the sand long enough to find the nearest happy hour. Surprisingly, learning to herd my own negative thoughts has proven to be more challenging than trying to herd all of the metaphorical birds flying around me to go in the direction that I want. Lately I’ve noticed thoughts that I should be doing more for myself, or more for others or just overall thoughts of self doubt and pity have started to take over my brain on a fairly regular basis leading to the compounding overall feeling of “fuck it”.
When the people around you start to let you down even more than you do yourself, that creates a whole new level of “fuck it” and really makes you start to question your path and who you choose to surround yourself with. Due to past experiences, its become extremely difficult for me to put my faith and trust in others. Because of who I am at the core, I still wear my heart on my sleeve and show a majority of my emotions on my face (sometimes at very inappropriate times!) but when people take advantage of my instinctively trusting nature, it really hits me where it hurts. Dealing with disappointment is tough enough on a good day, but when you’re already feeling slightly down in the dumps, it’s almost completely paralyzing. Reaching what feels like emotional rock bottom as you stare up at all the people you hold high on the pedestal that you consider to be “living their best life”, you have a brief (or maybe not so brief) moment of envy the overwhelms your entire thought process. You start to constantly ask yourself, why them and not me? Comparing your successes and failures to the likes of others around you is a very dangerous endeavour that unfortunately many of us engage in regularly. Keeping up with the Jones’ will never give us the satisfaction that we need and deserve, instead all it does is keep you stuck in a never-ending state of self loathing, much like the one I’m in currently. It’s always the way, that when you’re experiencing a bout of disappointment, defeat and sadness, you seem to be inundated with happiness and joy coming at you from all angles, as if the universe was playing some kind of cruel joke on you. Everyone around you is either getting married, having kids or redecorating and you’re just over here trying to pick a filter for your latest Insta post that makes you look less bitter and angry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely proud and happy to see the people close to me succeed and boast in their happiness alongside them as they do for me, I just wish the joy I felt for them, didn’t come with a side of regretfulness of my own decisions.
Getting up every morning and deciding to have a positive attitude, do something great or even just accomplish a mundane task is a choice that we are forced to make every single day, but when you’ve lost your motivation, even the simplest of activities feel daunting. Deep down I know that I am capable of having it all (or at least SOME), I just need to find a way to get over myself and get under a pack of kindling! Starting my own fire seems virtually impossible most days and to be honest, my motivation in the past has usually been sparked by either a bad break up or a changing of the seasons. Having just been through, yet another failed attempt at dating and with fall right around the corner (I think I literally just heard an apple sprouting in an orchard nearby), hopefully all I need to light the fire under my ass again is a grande pumpkin spice latte with extra cinnamon. With the chill in the air fast approaching, a drastic change in my current lack-luster schedule is also on the horizon. As a part-time student with a seasonal secondary job and a newly acquired volunteer position with a local high-profile charity, I’m not really going to have much time to sit around feeling sorry for myself. I just hope that I don’t drown in my own laziness and somehow find the drive that I need to succeed (aka surpass the success of all my ex’s!).
I know first hand that turning to friends, family, social media influencers or the self-help section of your local book store, won’t always be the encouragement that you’re looking for. Unfortunately, the only person you can depend on to end the battle between yourself and your lack of motivation is you. As humans, we tend to look to others for happiness, joy and reassurance that we’re doing a great job and I do tend to find a lot of inspiration from the people I hold near and dear to me in the form constant love, encouragement and support. I always know that I’ll have someone to turn to in moments of self-doubt and ambiguity which is at the very least comforting, if not at all helpful. This very post was actually inspired by someone close to me. I was ranting to a girlfriend recently about my lack of energy and faith in the opposite sex after having just dealt with a moderately traumatizing dating experience, (which sadly, don’t even phase me anymore) when she told me to look up the lyrics and the story behind the legendary boss himself, Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark. In the song he say’s “You can’t start a fire without a spark….this gun’s for hire, even if we’re just dancing in the dark”. The song was basically written from a very ominous place of “fuck it” after his manager was pressuring him to produce another hit record and by means of the greatest version of irony, he was able to turn it into one of his biggest, most recognizable hits. Just proves that nobody can force ignite your fire. You can be inspired, influenced or pressured, but at the end of the day your creativity, your lust for life and your overall desire to love yourself despite your countless failures is only in your control. I’m still in search of my coveted “spark” and I’m sure it won’t be an easy hill to climb as I try to rekindle it again, especially with all the rocks and boulders that are going to be tumbling down on top of me in the next few weeks regardless of if I’m ready for them or not. I’m wise enough to know that these emotional set backs are only just that. I’m sure that I can find a way to regain the excitement and thrill in bettering myself and be able to re-create the positivity I’m able to acquire from the little things that used to bring me joy and happiness. I just hope that it doesn’t involve my debit card!