How Being Childish Made Me More Mature Than Most People My Age

Maturity shouldn’t be described like it’s some personality trait, because maturity is imperative to your personal success. [Click To Tweet!]

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As a child I was too childish. My enthusiasm was met with a roll of the eyes from peers, and my habit of being a little too loud was a nuisance. Now, much older, I can see why it was annoying. Nonetheless it’s a weird paradox, being called childish as a child.

It wasn’t infrequent, being asked why the hell I couldn’t just “grow up!” by people who, honestly, probably couldn’t even grasp the concept of maturity themselves. I used to respond with a blank stare, but now I know exactly how to respond to the accusation.

Being childish and immature isn’t the same thing. I know why because I am childish in a lot of ways, but I’m a helluva lot more grow-up than most people I went to middle-school with.

Immature people care about seeming mature. Now, having come to a point in my life where I can compare myself to the person I was yesterday instead of those around me, I’ll tell you why this has changed me in a way that truly, honestly made me into a real “adult”

And it involves a bit of Disney. Continue reading “How Being Childish Made Me More Mature Than Most People My Age”

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Fixing Yourself: A Brief Look At My Mission For Self-Improvement #WorkForHappy

I have an incredibly flawed personality. The first sign was probably around the time I got diagnosed with an actual personality disorder – unspecified – after my behavior led to a pretty self-destructive, “self-prescribed” binge behaviour. Honestly? I never actually considered it problematic for a long time.

Clearly, it was everyone else with the problem. Tsk, tsk.

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Artwork by Christian Russo

The problem with having a diagnosis that’s “unspecified”, especially when it concerns something as intangible as personality, is that the solution to your problem is also unspecified. At that point, all the doctors could prescribe me was a harsh slap to the face when it came to my true reality.

Now it’s like every move I make, I scrutinize. When I’m an asshole, I usually know it. A little bit of denial doesn’t hurt, until that becomes a flaw as well.

Do other people think like this? I’ll probably never know, but the scrutiny I have adopted has become both a blessing and a curse. I’m able to look at myself objectively and understand that whatever behavior I’m choosing is not appropriate. It’s like a super power, because I now understand mine and other people’s motivations and reasoning with everything they do. I get it now, when someone is an asshole. I do. Because I can do it too, sometimes.

But with great power comes great responsibility, or something like that.

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“Infinite Introspection”, by Francisca Borzea

I recognize my behavior, but do I actually do anything about it? Well… I’m trying. It took me years to figure out that I was wrong, and another year to come to terms with the mistakes I had made in the process. Do I regret these mistakes? Of course. But would I change it? Not at all. I am the person I am today because of what I have struggled with.

That being said, I’ve been trying to actually prevent such things happening ever again, but that takes a little more work than just some introspection. I have to actually change my habits, my mood, and, well, my personality. I’ve had to heal those wounds, and now I have to take actions so that I don’t inflict them on myself or others ever again.

What do I have on the agenda to actually fix about myself? There are the common pitfalls, like procrastination, lack of sensitivity, and impatience. Then there are the big ones, like bad attitude, lack of responsibility/motivation, dependence on others, and over-thinking. At this point, all I can really do is acknowledge what I’m doing wrong, be aware of problematic behavior, and seek to replace it with healthier moves by developing better, healthier habits. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but… I have the privilege of being surrounded by people who care enough to call me out on my bullshit when I miss it.

Go and love someone exactly as they are. Then watch how they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered. —Wes Angelozzi

The people around me… man oh man. I’m lucky, so incredibly lucky, to have such a strong network of people who care about me deeply enough to not only forgive me when I mess up, but support me in my journey to become a better person. I’m just so grateful that I now have the foresight of actually understanding the magnitude of how lucky I am. Privilege can be a lot of different things for different people, but for me, true privilege is having the support of people around you.

Like I said, this process is a blessing and a curse. You can feel hopeless sometimes, like you’re gonna be stuck being a bad person forever and that you’ll never be worthy of love – this is a common late-night thought that induces panic attacks for me – so I’ve learned to become aware of my good qualities too. I have a strong sense of maternal instinct. I am a compassionate person. I’m smart enough to succeed, when I put my mind to it. I can write, draw, sing, laugh. I even make other people smile, from time to time. I love others, and they love me. I repeat that last bit like its a mantra whenever my mood dips below the dark surface.

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Artwork by Mari Toh

Do I deserve love? That’s something I still grapple with, and honestly, it’s probably the main question that drives my mission for self-improvement. For a long time, I didn’t think I deserved the love I got from others, and that was because deep down, I knew that I was a fuck up.

But now, I want to deserve it.

I have an incredibly flawed personality. But flaws make the human, and the human can only work hard to rectify those flaws. And this is me doing that.

This is me. I’m the one with the problem.

And… I’m fixing it.

 

 

For the Artists

Straitjackets are, and always were, a popular trend throughout the history of the artist community.

It has gone as far for people to say that my mental illness would be perfect for the biographies that will one day tell the story of my own artistic career. I’ve been told that my fight against my own will to die will make my biography a best seller.

I’ve been told that to really be able to make it in the world of artistry, I have to wear tragedy like the crown of a proud tsarina sitting before an audience of buzzing flies.

Such accusations remind me that minds are like gardens – Luscious, colorful, varied, and dimensional. Flowers represent our knowledge, and they say knowledge is the most fearsome weapon of all – but what if a war is waged here? What if the garden is cannibalistic?

I already know the answer.

I jump backwards off a cliff and find myself falling like a magnificent meteor. I end up a burnt up heap in Southern France, 1880’s. A lonely Dutch man traipses the country side at dusk, his exotic chalky paints and pig tail brushes thrown in a beaten canvas bag. I can smell his perspiration mixed with the metallic taste of blood that hangs in the air. It oozes out of the shriveled mass on the side of his head, his ear: a gruesome mess.Image result for van gogh

I want him to realize that the world he sees in yellow splotches and starry nights is aching for him to stick around a little longer. I want him to not succumb to the whims of his bipolar mania, or to the wretched bullet that will soon rip through his hollow stomach.

But he continues on his way, ambling into the sunrise towards a little yellow house, humming snatches of an old tune.

I find myself floating once again, as I bubble up into the atmosphere and am blown to London, England, to a neat little apartment tucked away between townhouses lined like dominoes. It is midday, 1950s, when I spy a woman lurking behind paisley curtains. Her orange blush is harsh on her pale face, her gaping teeth peek between her lips like pearls in an oyster. Beside her are a million million notebooks. Her words swirl about the small room, chattering with the same particles of depression that plague the vulnerable garden of her mind as well.

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I want her to realize that like Lazarus, she cannot rise again from the ashes. I want her to stop toxic air from committing genocide to her blood cells. I want to tell her how her children will mourn.

But she continues to watch them play peekaboo with hazy eyes, as she fidgets with small memorabilia painted yellow and black like glittering bees.

Once again, I am consumed kicking and screaming into a black hole, which delivers me to the edges of the universe. I swim through liquid helium, my skin rupturing, my nerves coiling around my organs until I choke. My spine cracks, but I swim on. I reach out the corpses drifting about around me, their faces expressionless,  their fingers unmoving, their minds: lost.

IMG_20170618_185931_833I am reminded of when I myself had walked into my pantry and taken a handful of sleeping pills, hoping to escape as well to that very green void on the other side of the universe. I look to my fellow artists, to the sunken faces of my predecessors, the very men and women who bled yellow like I did.

I want to remember that I am an artist, not the chemical imbalance in my brain or the skewed events of my timeline – I am defined not by the ailments of my mind, but the potential of my mind; not the pills that I pop like candy but the ability to actually accomplish something when I do.

I don’t fight for a best-selling biography. I fight for them.

For the artists, the soldiers of creativity, and the ability to say that I survived.

I survived.

Here It Is

I feel ache-y, and just a tad stupid. As a fairly passionate person with a little too much inside her – too many words, too much devotion – I get carried away with how good and bad I am at handling just about anything. I don’t mean to be self-contradictory, but there it is? I guess?

Image result for head melt gifWhen I pour – like cement out of a porcelain cream cup – it’s hard to put a lid on it. I’m an either/or person, an all-or-nothing. I don’t understand going halfway, I fear mediocrity (mediocrity burns and sits at the bottom of my stomach like vodka – not very tasteful, to say the least). I reach out and I reach out and I reach out and my hand is still grasping out of a hole in the wall. I wouldn’t take it either, to be sure. Just so I’m clear. But it doesn’t stop me, in the heat of the moment. When the moment is raving and hot as the driest desert on a far off planet, my head kind of melts and I just become a scrambling mess of hands, stemming like a devil’s trap from a knot of brass, grasping for an answer. Very Dr Who, but there it is… I guess?

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And sure, we’ll never be royals, but listen, it’s not about majesty. I’m no majestic thing, I’m really just an object of passion. That passion gets the better of me sometimes. Brass boils hot and separates into all its parts, all its alchemic elements to inspect under a telescope (telescope because even though I bare my parts for everyone I seem to be irrevocably far away – far from reason, see?) just to have shoulders shrugged at me and saying “I don’t know mate, nothing much to fix but your head, but that seems to have melted.” I’m not given many other words to my ensuing question except another cursory shrug and a “maybe Walmart”, but there it is. I guess?

Who am I to decide it really. I know I dove into ice, I know I am a dove a little too trifled for greater society. I can’t help myself if I feel like something might pay off in something better than mediocrity, because I’m too much of a romantic and way to ambitious. I’m too artistic, I try to make masterpieces out of everything, everything, everything. My expectations breathe and sweat like I do. My self-contradiction plays jump rope on my back and the shrugs flap and follow me about everywhere. I know, I know. I know.

But there it is, I guess.

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Hypocrites and High Horses

The thing about hypocrisy is that no one, not a single person in this world, is exempt from it. Everyone is a hypocrite. This has been established already, by much smarter individuals than I.

But you know what else human beings are? Pretentious.

It’s natural. When someone gets excited about something that you knew about and gushed over ages ago, the superiority complex immediately settles in and you can’t help adopting a cool, just a little dismissive tone as you say “yeah… I know. I knew about them/that/those/whatever like… three years ago.”

Especially today with the neo-hippies who call themselves “hipsters” traipsing all around the place, it’s even easier to assume this holier-than-thou attitude, because being mainstream is just embarrassing now. To be mainstream is to be basic, and who likes being called basic? I don’t imagine a lot of people do.

The thing is, now that hipster culture has become so prevalent, even being hipster is mainstream. To be a true hipster you have to come out on top as a hipster hipster. I mean, what sort of garbage title is that? Continue reading “Hypocrites and High Horses”

Why I Don’t Believe In The Right To An Opinion (Or How To Piss Off Everyone In Your Vicinity)

Opinions are so damn complicated. We’re human, right? I think so. Whether you believe humanity is just an abstract concept or not is up to you, really. It’s not for me to decide what you have to think.

What do I think of opinions? You’d think, at this point, I have some kind of riff with it, but I really don’t. In fact, I bloody love opinions. Opinions are the best. Opinions are what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s what makes us… human. Again, whether you believe in that humanity stuff is up to you.

My problem isn’t opinions, no. My problem is people with opinions, or to put it more eloquently, people with opinions who just don’t shut up.

Continue reading “Why I Don’t Believe In The Right To An Opinion (Or How To Piss Off Everyone In Your Vicinity)”

Why I Hate Poetry

I’m tired. I’m tired of hiding who I am behind incoherent words of poetry.  I am tired of people only ever appreciating a paragraph of true, heartwrenching emotions if it comes in a pretty, dainty, sugarcoated package of conveniently placed adjectives.

I did it again. It’s been engrained into my fingers because I’ve taught myself that people will only listen if what I have to say is pretty and unharsh to the ears, or otherwise it is lost in space. Bluntness is under-appreciated and therefore scorned as a boring essay.

Well I say, screw it.

I could write a paragraph about the intricate eccentricities of my puny, unimportant life. In fact, I did. I actually just wrote a couple paragraphs of unabashed truth about myself. I was the freaking gospel.

But I erased it. Cause the pure, blunt honesty of it all made me uncomfortable.

Then again, maybe that’s the reason why we like to write pretty words, why we can’t escape it. We are hiding behind the sheer lace curtain of poetry.