At home, I am feeling a bit wishy-washy.
It’s December 31, 2022 and on Instagram everybody that’s anybody is reminding everybody else that they were a somebody all year. They do this by posting recaps of their finest moments like beach vacations, bodega fits, concerts, sunsets, mirror selfies, the rebranded haircut and petite meals like jammie eggs on toast. They have 10 frames to tell their story and none of these will include their mother.
I’m scrolling, I’m liking, I’m enjoying these tasteful slideshow presentations. I’m eating them right the fuck up. Until I hit a wall. I’ve hit my limit of feeling good for everybody else and I feel my emotions begin to fold on themselves. My thoughts are swirling, my gut feels like a drain vortex and suddenly my heart chakra feels attacked by illusions of the fun and fancy free.
Next thing I know, I am logging out of Instagram and skipping over into my Photos app. I search “2022” and scroll through my folder of my own digital clutter: sunsets, mirror selfies, sand-dusted legs, small meals, screenshots of text messages, etc. These social networking sites have made us all so predictable that I can’t tell if posting my own slides would be worth the data exposure and if I were to post which photos would best represent the kind of year I had.
If I post the mirror selfies I’ll come across as conceited when the truth is I spent a lot of time alone. If I post a video from a far away party night I might accidentally reopen the door to connections I would rather keep broken. It seems like such a waste to spend so much time editing myself but I cannot escape the nagging of a small, insecure version of me begging my conscious self to participate in the annual wrap up report so it can feed on the world’s validation.
Did your year even matter?
Who is going to remember you?
Everyone else is having a good time but you!
They call this feeling FOMO (fear of missing out) and it is a highly contagious, perverse virus that has the ability to invade the human consciousness at will. It has no regard for your self-preservation practices. It does not care that you meditate. It does not respect your God. Its only purpose is to make you feel insignificant about insignificant things and is most potent when you are at your most vulnerable like nursing a hangover or in-between payroll deposits.
FOMO’s first line of aggression is your perception ( the “missing out” feeling) followed by compulsion ( i.e hustle mentality, online shopping, photo dumping, or any other excessive behaviors.) You can find many tips online on how to alter your emotions when FOMO finds its way into your programming. My favorite of these is to write but sometimes that task is a little too arduous and it is an unfair suggestion for those who aren’t naturally driven to the sport. There are other substitutions of course. Self-care rituals such as exercise, practicing gratitude, social media detox or off-loading your woes to your nearest confidant are the typical go-to cures for the “feeling less than” persons. But this type of positive-feely wisdom ( at least, to me) is fleeting and if anything it escapes from addressing the reality of how simple, little social constructs like a fun, trendy end of the year recap can sometimes lead you into temporary insanity (self-doubt.)
Am I doing enough?
Have I been enough?
Side-bar: I will not accept that I am the only one that has ever felt this way.
History says we all suffer over minutiae.
Minutiae are the trivial, minor things in life that seem to carry the weight of the world when they’re happening. It’s that moment when your fingers are fixed to text and cancel plans because “you don’t have anything to wear” or when a server’s glance lasts a beat too long and a once enjoyable dinner with your lover has become tight-necked and serious. In a few hours I’ll be toasting to a new year. Champagne, caviar, and lots of glitter are on their way. Misty white clouds have descended down onto Cleveland, the coastal city, and the future is up for grabs. Now is the time to remember I am not the center of the universe. The only person waiting for me to share what kind of year I’ve had is me.
What kind of year did I have?
Is who I am now what I was?
Am I happy with myself?
Answer(s): Foundational, no, yes.
I started the year with a mission: Do less or do nothing. An anti-new years resolution. It was my first year in which I could finally afford leisure and saw it as my window on how to learn how to rest. I wanted nothing from the world so I decided to give it the bare minimum in return. I would simply exist to exist. I slept in, I wandered, I played with my hair. I did not pick up extra projects. I said “no” a lot. I fought quiet battles. I learned to enjoy my own company. I got by with a little help from my friends. I proved to my inner-child that I could provide for her and keep her safe. I taught myself how to play. I learned how to give from love instead of giving to be loved. I lost my phone a lot. Those days were the best. I listened more. I was radically honest. I pushed out into the buffer zone and judged myself less. I fell in love with The Land. The ranking I had for myself climbed to the number one spot.
I’ve let go of the wheel.
- Most things created in a capitalist society were not made to make you feel good, rather it provides temporary satisfaction in hopes that in your come down from your momentary high that you crash into anxiety, depression, envy, and other self-deprecating thoughts so that you reach out for the next temporary solution. You are a customer first, human last. If the world is not serving you, step out of it. Don’t worry it’ll still be there. You are not the center of the universe.
- Fill in the blank Other people’s _____ does not negate my _____.
(ex. “ Other people’s success does not negate my own success.” / “ Other people’s happiness does not negate my own happiness.”
- Delusions are fun.
- You are loved.
- That inner voice that’s telling you that you’re not good enough was a learned language from someone that did not know how to take care of you. Recognize the inaccuracy, forgive the situation, and move on.
- Accept people for where they are.
- I am willing to lose in order to win.