Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Freedom



When I was growing up, my family used to attend a Thai Buddhist temple weekly. Once when I was about 13 or 14, we were making an offering with the extended family.  The monk asked the kids what we wanted in life, and my cousins answered that they wanted to be rich or marry rich, have nice things, and travel. 

I said that I wanted freedom. 

I remember he got mad at me, saying that I needed to be grateful because I already have so much freedom. I didn't know that he meant that being an American, growing up in a nice neighborhood with food on the table everyday and school for most of the year, I had more freedom than most kids around the world could imagine. 

What I wanted was the freedom to make my own decisions and not have someone else dictate what was good for me. Even in the privileged first world, people are chained to others or ideas. They're anything but free. I wanted a life that was my own. It's not like I didn't want to be rich, or have plans for my future. Quite the opposite. I just didn't value money more than autonomy. 

All those things would mean nothing if it meant being a slave to others, social standards, and material things.

I forgot about those words until today. I was walking home from class, and that scene played over in my head. I looked up at the gray clouds- I was standing in the wide corridor between two apartment buildings, the sky wide and open above me. And I realized then that I really am free. I live in a beautiful beach city many hours away from my family. Everything- the amazing people in my life, my education, my love life, my work- is in my life because I chose for it to be there.

And I broke down and cried.

I had been lamenting my life for months, wondering why nothing felt stable anymore. I wasn't smart enough to understand the material easily. I don't have a career yet. I couldn't make him stay.

But in that moment, I knew that I was living exactly the life I had dreamed as a child.

Of course I had it a lot easier before. But only today is my life truly my own. The constant change and ambiguity aren't here to hurt me, they're a gift. Saying that I wanted freedom meant jumping off the deep end into the unknown, and struggling until I found my footing. Not the false security that I felt before. The easy classes, the constant retail jobs, the long-term boyfriend. I thought that since those things came easily, that real life would too. 

It's been anything but to easy, but I don't cry at all like I used to. I can walk into a room and know who I am today. However small, I have a place to call my own. I can think independently. And though I may feel stupid sometimes, I'm a LOT smarter than I used to be. It's because I've failed so many times that I now know what it means to be strong, and how to love myself. 

In her TED talk, Psychologist Carol Dweck talks about children who are taught to view challenges with a growth mindset; to meet difficulty with "not yet" rather than "I'm nothing." She says of the extraordinary success of previously underperforming students:

"This happened because the meaning of effort and difficulty were transformed. Before, effort and difficulty made them feel dumb, made them feel like giving up, but now, effort and difficulty, that's when their neurons are making new connections, stronger connections. That's when they're getting smarter."

I think that if little Betsy were here today, she'd be so excited for me. She'd my challenges as adventures. She'd let things go a lot easier. She'd understand- better than I do- that everything is going to be okay. Everything is going to be amazing.  

The ability to choose a growth mindset, to see life with infinite possibilities. 
That's freedom.




Watch Carol Dweck's TED talk here

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bittersweet Baby


She call me while I'm in the session
I said can you give me a second
She said I got some thing to tell you
I said baby this ain't a confession
Just give me a minute
Know that you lyin' to me 
When you say that you don't talk to no other bitches
I get it I get it
Let's just be finished
I'm tired of being treated like this

This is how it feels to have a 
Bittersweet baby
One day we all good
The next day you wanna
End it all baby
You're killing me
Never be famous
I hated, My dues, I payed em
I waited, my heart, I laid it
This life, I made it



Winning Streak by Shaboozey



Friday, November 4, 2016

What would life be like if we had no courage to attempt anything


"What would life be like if we had no courage to attempt anything"
-Vincent Van Gogh

What would your life look life if you didn't do the things that scared you?

Life- it sprouts, as is its nature. Out of the womb of a mother plant comes a seed that gets embedded in the soil. The seed germinates in the warm wet soil. Out of the soil the persistent proud shoots, breathing the air past the surface. Water falls, moistens its roots, moistens its tiny stalks as it continues to grow. As it persists into a young plant. Sometimes there are flowers. Sometimes those flowers bear fruit before they fall to the ground. The plant matures, growing bigger, taller, and stronger. Sometimes it lasts as the seasons pass, sprouting flowers and fruit again. And then it dies, but not without leaving behind seeds for the next generation, and a skeleton to fertilize the soil in preparation for those new seeds. 

Life doesn't stop because you do. Life isn't afraid.

Life happens not because you want it to, or because you care, but because that is its nature.
It's older than you will ever be. Remember that the things that happen in life are not for your benefit, but because that's the way things meant to be. Cycles of beginning, maturation, and death- they just happen. But you don't have to sit there as things happen around you. There's nothing keeping you from creating a life that you want that reflects your truth.

It's easy to forget that life isn't something you can get right or wrong.

There are no mistakes. Trees twist and turn in wild directions because they are seeking light and nourishment. Same as your soul. All the things that you've done already were somehow meant to happen, and if you think you've made a mistake, this is the moment to change. You can always change. 

The things that scare you are the universe calling your name. They are your gut saying GO DO THAT. 

Do it. Fuck it.





Image Source: Finn Beales

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Are you making yourself better off.. or better?


Examine your life for a second. Look out over the horizon at your goals, your decisions. Are you asking for things and working toward ideals so that your life can appear better on the outside? Or are you striving to improve on the inside?

This was the message in church this morning. 

Andrew and I were late today (buzz off) and ran in during the first reading. Side note- the readings are my favorite parts. Anyway, so when that's all over, the priest remains at the podium and starts talking about intentions. He questioned our purpose in life, whether it is to grow as a person, or grow externally. I was listening, but not really. And actually I was thinking about my goals during this time, thinking about the things that I want to see manifest in my life. And then the Father said, "are you making yourself better off? ..or better?

(Betsy falls off pew)

It was smack dab in the middle of my contemplating moving into a new relationship. 

Perfect timing. 

As my friends would tell you, growing up I was always somehow romantically involved with someone or in a relationship, and I really couldn't survive without having that type of intimacy because I would more or less fall apart. Fast forward a couple years, I ended my first adult relationship with a man that I loved because I knew that the person wasn't for me, and I was done with hanging on to someone else's coattails, living a life that was controlled by someone who really wasn't going in the direction that I wanted to be leading. 

So. 

Fast forward a couple more years to today, and here I am having emotionally intimate friendships with people of all walks of life, deep conversations with platonic friends and mentors that I was craving while chasing dead-end relationships. Isn't it ironic that we are so emotionally and intimately bankrupt in relationships that don't fit, even if we're with the person everyday, sleeping in the same bed? Today my relationships are more than I could ever ask for. 

So now that I've started dating again, I was going through a mental list of all the things that I wanted in a man. I won't go into detail (sorry ladies) but I was proudly kind of filtering through all these visualizations of living a nice comfy life with a great guy. 
And then with the priest's words all that was shattered. Because I was projecting all of my "making myself better off" ideals on another person, rather than seeking to improve myself on the inside and out.

My loves, 
we can truly have all that we desire in a partner, if we meet a person we can find ways to learn to love who they are, and teach them how to fulfill our needs. If we are the right person to begin with. I was snapped out of my fantasy world that told me I needed someone to have a great x, y, and z to make me look better. Looking back I see how absolutely unattractive it would be to date with a checklist like that, to expect perfection and not strive for self-improvement. 

I'm not saying that dating is a time to completely change yourself, to try to be perfect, or believe that if you can just change that one thing about yourself that you'll be worthy of love. No. 
That never works. The worst relationships are built on lies. 

Instead, strive to be the best person you can be, accentuating the things that make you awesome and wholeheartedly admitting to your faults.  It's okay if you can't cook ladies! It's okay if you can't do laundry for shit, guys! Just make sure that you're working on your strengths and then your partner will really have the opportunity to fill in for the parts of you that need a little help... and all without forming human crutches to lean your weaknesses on. 


xoxo