Just kidding, my actual apartment is a Toyota Sienna, which is much classier and gets better gas mileage.*
Seriously, though, as I wrote in a post last week, I have this personal demon (WITH RIPPED ABS UGHH) who lives in my head who was being louder and meaner to me than usual because I decided to quit my job. Part of the demon’s argument against this action was that I would immediately become super poor and end up living, quite literally, in a van down by the river. It is a small victory over him that ten days into my unemployment adventure, I have not been evicted AND I received a bunch of amazing encouragement from friends, family, and random internet people on my last post. I expected most people to react to: “Hey, I quit my job and I’m trying to write a book!” with this expression:
Instead, I received tons of emails, messages, and in person comments that all pretty much boiled down to “Good for you! God, I wish I could quit my job, too. Jobs are terrible. Hmm, maybe I should play the lottery. Hold on, brb, I have to run to the convenience store. But yeah, you’re great, SCREW THE MAN! What’s your lucky number, again?” I wish you all good luck with those lottery tickets, by the way, and hereby stake a claim to 10% of all winnings.
Seriously, this week has been a pretty incredible high, which means, of course, that I’m likely going to come crashing down to earth sometime in the next five to ten days. It’s how the demon in my brain works (thanks, mental illness!). To prevent this, I’m trying to cultivate another part of myself that I drew with my therapist’s guidance (IT REALLY DOES WORK). She looks like this:
This is another younger part of me (who apparently was a big fan of knee socks and had reddish hair? Whatever), but unlike my personal demon, she is confident and does not. Give. A. Shit. About. Anything. I drew her after my mother told me, for the thousandth time, that I was a super happy, not-depressed, confident child before puberty (pro tip: contrary to what society would like you to think, getting boobs in the fourth grade does NOT lead to increased self-esteem), at which time the shit really hit the fan.
Now, it’s totally natural for things to go down the toilet once you hit puberty – your body is weird, your hormones are out of control, and since this is happening to everyone in your school at approximately the same time, your social life becomes an insane CW-style soap-opera complete with sexual harassment and illicit substance use. For me, though, puberty also marked the onset of what has been a lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety. Almost all vestiges of confidence that I had in my abilities, my appearance, even my intelligence disappeared almost overnight. I struggled through by focusing on getting 100% on every test, winning every award I could, getting into a top college, getting the best job, blah blah blah. Ironically, it’s only now when I’m finally jumping off the high-achiever train that I’m starting to remember Awesome Girl. She’s the girl who used to play rec basketball every winter and loved it, despite never making a basket in four years. She’s the girl who spent every Thanksgiving break pretending to be the captain of the Mayflower and ordering her little brother and cousins around the basement, telling them to swab the decks, raise the sails, and keep an eye out for Plymouth Rock. She’s the girl who wore leggings and a giant jumper with a Disney Princess on it to school and thought, “I AM a princess, and you better fucking believe it.”
Of course, this girl didn’t have any bills to pay and had no true understanding of the Middle East quagmire (to be fair, who does?). It’s easy to be the queen of the world when the world is your home, your parents, your brother, and your little group of friends. I’m not aiming to be the queen of the world, but I do want to recapture a bit of the essence of what made Awesome Girl so awesome – she was less prone to worry, and more likely to celebrate. She’s the complete antithesis of the demon, and it’s my goal this week to remember and celebrate her a little bit every day. If you’re reading this, I hope you can take a minute to remember a time when you felt on top of the world – it might not have been when you were a child, and it might be hard to remember it at all, but it’s worth the effort to try.
Now, I’m going to go write another thousand words of my book BECAUSE I AM AWESOME, BITCHES.
*In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I don’t know whether or not the Toyota Sienna is classier or gets better gas mileage than any other van on the market. Chrysler, please don’t sue me. Toyota: if you think your van IS better than others on the market, I’m happy to do a test drive and write a post all about it. For a price. My price is one million American dollars. It’s a worthwhile investment, I promise.