Admittedly, I have been very angry and disappointed with myself this year. Most of my journal entries entail me telling myself that I need to be a better person. Do I not have my life together? Am I a toxic friend, leader, and human being? Am I welcome in this space? Am I too loud? Are my friends going to leave me? Do people enjoy my presence? Why am I not prettier? Why can’t I look better in pictures? Why do I not have a six pack yet? Why am I not a better advocate? Why do I not know more about this elected official or that situation? Why am I not rising at five in the morning every day to run? Why am I late? Why did I make a snappy comment? Why have I not answered more questions in class? Why are my Spotify playlists lacking? Why am I not publishing a blog post every few days? Why am I not helping my community more? Why did I allow this person to speak over me or for me? Why was my tone a little flat while singing that note? Am I qualified for this position? Am I qualified for this job? Am I too selfish? Why do I have such high standards for everyone in my life? Should I push everyone away to avoid being hurt? I focus so greatly on spreading love, but should I stop? Do I love too much? Do I feel too deeply?

I feel guilty for being positive because I keep reminding myself that positivity is a privilege. I feel guilty for practicing self-care or self-love because, in my mind, I have not had the experiences or accomplished enough to deserve it. I have not overcome enough to deserve it. How can I take time for myself or recharge myself when so many are suffering in ways that I cannot imagine?

I am always telling everyone else that everything will be okay. Our communities come together, especially in situations as difficult as the COVID-19 crisis, and we will push through every obstacle. I tell others this while shouldering their worries, and I feel exhausted and guilty from doing so. Who am I to say that everything will be okay? Is this just easy for me to say because I have a roof over my head and food on the table, or do I actually believe that everything will be? At the same time, I am so tired of repeatedly having to be a beacon of light when I am also concerned about the state of our world and my personal worries. I spend hours every day contemplating how I can use my connections, positions, and channels to assist those who are struggling right now and acquiring resources, but I still feel upset with myself. I should be doing more.

While these thoughts are especially prevalent now, I have noticed that these have been stirring in my mind well before a virus knowingly existed, or a pandemic was on the horizon. I have had the privilege and honor of serving as the President of two student organizations this past school year, and I am constantly worried as to whether I am doing enough to support their members, our initiatives, and our advocacy. I try to balance this work while doing my best to fulfill my job requirements as a research assistant, succeed academically, and complete job applications for employment post-graduation (please hire me!!!). I try to be an emotional support for my family and friends. I maintain my exercise routine. My plate has many pancakes on it, but I still feel as though I am not doing enough. I could be sleeping less or have responded to that email within a few hours rather than a couple days. I could be calling and texting more people, and ensuring that those within my immediate surroundings are doing well on a more frequent basis.

While all of this is heavy, I still want every single person to be happy with my work. I want every single person to come to me and I want to be able to carry their weight. I always feel as though I have to focus on saving the world and I think this stems from my intense need to solve problems, whether my own or someone else’s, immediately and constantly. I need to fix things. I need to fix people. Often times, I am too proactive for my own good; I am always thinking five steps ahead of everyone else because I want to be able to catch my mistakes before they take shape. I want everyone to be included. Every task has to be perfect and whole. Due to this, I have a pain in my heart that I am unable to place. I feel a sense of emptiness, and I do not know how to fill it.

One day, I was speaking to my friend about how I was afraid that someone was going to hurt me (emotionally), and she told me that she thinks the person who is hurting me the most right now is myself. I have thought a lot about this since then, and I know that she is right. I am very harsh with myself, and I feel as though I am constantly angry at myself for simply smiling, or being happy, or scheduling time for myself rather than using those few hours to pour my soul into others.

I recognize that the only person who can gather my peace of mind, and the only person who can cut me some slack, is myself. I respect my high standards, and I respect how deeply I care about everything and everyone. I do not think that these are necessarily bad things, but I cannot allow them to consume me to an unhealthy degree. I can care about myself just as much as I care about everyone else.

I am going to take this moment to remind myself that I love and feel as much as I should. The world may not be ready to accept what I am willing to give, but this does not mean that I am a burden or that I am incorrect. I am organizing and advocating as much as I can right now (and always), and I think that many of us can be proud of ourselves for actually caring while so many do not. I know that I would tell anyone else these things, and I would affirm them because I genuinely believe in them. I would not allow them to question themselves in the way that I questioned myself in the first paragraph because they deserve to believe that their existence is a positive force.

A few snowflakes are gliding past my window now, and I think back to the long run on which I went earlier today. I took some time to sit on this dock along the Mississippi River and breathe. I can breathe. My existence is worth the space it occupies. I may not be the perfect version of myself every second of every day, but at least I am always trying to be so. While a lot of these reminders and realizations are important, I will probably still struggle to remember them during the times in which I am scolding myself. I will be patient and I will not give into the unhealthy criticism.

You do not need to get it together, Natasha, if doing so is only going to hurt you. You are doing a wonderful job.

One thought on “ Get it Together, Natasha. ”

  1. Natasha, firstly just wanted to mention that you write so well and express yourself very precisely. You are one great human being and keep the good things going. Ignore any mistakes, and accept yourself as you are. Don’t try to reach heights everyday, but take it one day at a time and things will piece up naturally.
    Keep the good going in you!
    Love, Asha aunty!

    Liked by 1 person

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