I know, I know; long time no write. See, I’ve been doing a lot of writing, but only about various literary critiques or Victorian England. But hey, if anyone wants to discuss Friedrich Nietzsche or Oscar Wilde, hit me up.
Tonight I just want to write about a few things that have been on my heart lately and a few random things that have been circling in my crazy and scattered mind.
Once upon a time…
Just kidding. But hey, now I have your attention because every good story starts with “Once upon a time”.
A few years ago a dear woman who has become my mentor and second mother listened to me vent about various stressors in my life. I have had a rough few years when it comes to handling stress, and so I have since etched the words she said to me on my heart: “You are so kind to every other person Torri, but don’t forget that you are a person too. Be kind to yourself.”
Granted, it’s taken me a good three years to be able to fully commit to those words, but whatever.
As I was walking back to my apartment from a campus event (I stayed a full thirty minutes. I am proud of myself. #IntrovertProbs) I was just feeling tired. Not sleepy-tired, but soul-tired. I couldn’t figure out why, so I went and sat in one of my favourite quiet and hidden places on campus. I was sitting there still and quiet, but my mind started to think about all the homework I had to do the next day. That’s when I realized something: I have been reading. A LOT. And I have been writing. A LOT. These are the two activities that make me feel more alive than anything else in the world. Reading and writing are basically all my days have consisted of, so why am I feeling so tired and unsatisfied?
It was because I was reading and writing for other people.
I have to write my papers for my English professor and either poetry or editorials for my writing professor. It’s been months since I have picked up my favourite book just to escape reality and my personal notebook has barely gotten a page full of thoughts since starting school. I’ve been pretty careful about taking care of myself in the obvious ways: I always get enough sleep, I wash my face every day, and I cook quite a bit. I go to an amazing church every Sunday, Chapel at least twice a week at school, and I have a small group every other Thursday. My physical needs are perfectly satisfied, my Spiritual needs are being gracefully met, but I’ve neglected a very important part of my existence: the needs of my soul.
In this epiphany moment (angels were singing, heaven opened, it was a whole thing), the above quote came back into my memory. Sometimes, you just need to be kind to yourself. Everyone knows the cliches about taking care of yourself, but I really want to encourage y’all to identify what makes you feel most alive. Maybe it’s reading or writing, maybe it’s dancing, maybe it’s lion taming, maybe it’s running marathons; I don’t care what it is (unless it’s the marathon one, because that could be dangerous ;)), just make sure that you know and that you can recognize the moments when you need fulfilling.
I’m not saying this is the secret of happiness or the magic trick that saves you from having a panic attack, I’m just gently suggesting that you figure out what makes you feel more alive than anything else. Identity what gives you a joy beyond explanation. Recognize what makes you feel most like yourself. Then do it. Just take some time and do it. I truly believe in the importance of this kind of meditation, practice, or whatever you want to call it.
Life demands a lot from us, and being a college student sometimes feels like you have fallen down on a trampoline and can’t get up because everyone else is still jumping. But to all my fellow students: take some time for you. To everyone in the world: remember how valuable you are and treat yourself to some joy.
You are so kind to every other person, treat yourself like a person too.
Now if you will excuse me, I have some Josh Groban to listen to, Jane Austen to read, and hot tea to drink.
“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh