To continue from my post from last week, where I said “I’m not going to try to be someone I’m not”, I want to talk a little bit about what brought that statement on and why I keep repeating it to myself even now.
The relaxed atmosphere of our vacation gave me time to just enjoy existing, and as the day for our return home drew near I started to ask myself why it was that I felt so relaxed. I was, in a sense, free from responsibility; free from stress and anxiety; free from the framework I’d built to chain myself to. Upon returning home, it’s been hard not to chain myself to it again, and I haven’t completely, but I’m sure I have in some way.
For nine years I lived in a codependent family, where I learned to be hyper-sensitive in tuning in to everyone else’s expectations, actions, and potential reactions. I developed a sort of mentality where if I could be the buffer between everyone, explain reasons to everyone, live up to expectations and do what I could to keep the peace, then somehow the problems would fix themselves. I ended up creating a facade that outwardly everything was okay, that I could handle anything, that I was reliable, hard-working, ready with advice, someone who was able to fix problems and could be depended on.
But really, I think that’s the kind of person I wanted in my life or the person I wanted to be; not the person I actually was.
Of course I could never fix any of the problems in that nine years (the divorce was a welcomed event), but the codependent tendencies stuck. Believing the lie that I could handle anything, I charged forward making promises I could never fulfill, and trying as hard as I could to become what I wanted to be, not realizing that I never really knew what that was anyway.
I think a lot of us, knowingly or unknowingly, attempt to mimic what we see others doing because we think they are successful, or because we like something about their image, even if it’s just their handwriting. God knows why this happens; I don’t know if it’s because we are not satisfied with how we are or what, but trying to be someone I’m not has really been hurting me for a long time…
As an artist, it’s almost expected to never be 100% satisfied with your art, because that’s what spurs you to keep learning and improving. But it’s when you start thinking prematurely, “They did that…I can do that!” that you start running the risk of unhealthy comparison between your art and someone else’s. And it’s worse when you do this in all other areas of your life…simultaneously.
That’s exactly what I did.
“I can make an artbook!”
“I can make icons and graphics and stuff!”
“Hey, I can make layouts and websites and use HTML coding too!”
“I can translate Japanese to English!”
“I can do covers of songs!”
“I can make dance covers of songs!”
“Oh! I can vlog! I can be a great YouTuber!”
“I can post/upload daily!”
“I can make forums and blogs and be a great blogger and community member!”
…If you know me as anything else, the list goes on.
Can I do all of these things? Yes. I am perfectly capable. Is it feasible to do them all at the same time? Absolutely not. After all, how can I hope to be a reliable person if I’m juggling so many roles and responsibilities that most of them are slipping through my fingers? The truth is that I am not, will not, and cannot be everything to everyone. Thus I am no longer lying to myself (or anyone else) about that. Please take me as I am and leave the rest; I’m starting fresh.