Monsters Under The Bed

Monsters Under The Bed

We’re all fighting battles; these wars within ourselves that threaten to consume us. Often, we fight these battles alongside our friends and family. We open ourselves to people whom we love and they help us. Other times, we go at it on our own. We don’t let people in and we make life difficult for ourselves.

I recently had a very enlightening conversation with my friend, who we’ll call Leonard. Leonard has abandonment issues. And I don’t know what that’s like. I didn’t even know he was going through this until he told me.

His issues started when his father left him when he was 6 months old. His mother raised him by herself. Throughout his childhood, he had a revolving door of father figures who entered his life and left just as he would get attached to them. That led to him having difficulty forming stable relationships with people. Instead of getting too attached to anyone, he would push them away to avoid that feeling of abandonment. He lost a lot of friends that way, to the point where he’s now afraid to make new friends because he feels as though he’ll just drive them away.

I can’t imagine what that’s like. I can’t imagine someone going through that alone. And even now, with me knowing his situation and knowing the root of it, I can’t say that I truly comprehend it. It’s not something I can relate to, but it’s something I’m glad he told me. It helps me understand some of his decisions better. It helps him as well because sharing your problems helps to lessen its load.

We all have demons that we fight. The monsters under our beds from when we were young manifest themselves in our heads as we grow up. When we were young, we would call out to our parents for help, but as we grow older, the prospect of asking for help becomes unappealing to us. Our pride gets in the way. We’d rather suffer alone than seem weak in front of our friends and family. And that’s absurd.

Asking for help does not make you weak. It makes you human.

Know Yourself

Know Yourself

It’s important to know yourself. It’s important to be comfortable in your own skin. The world is going to push it’s expectations on you on a daily basis. It’s going to try and mold you into what it wants you to be. You can’t let it win.

You need to know who you are. You need to know your traits, the good and the bad, and you need to be comfortable with them and happy with them. You are who you are for whatever reason and it’s nothing but a good thing.

I’ve always looked at compliments as being a double edged sword. So often we let people’s compliments affect our opinion of ourselves. It’s nice hearing things like, “You look good today”, or “I like your shoes”, or “You’re the funniest person I know”. But the moment you let someone’s compliment affect your opinion of yourself, that is the same moment you will let their criticism affect you as well. And I’m not talking about constructive criticism, I’m talking about things like, “You’re fat”, or “You’re not funny”, or “You’re weird”. Those kinds of statements make us feel like less than we really are, and they have as big an effect on us as they do because we crave the approval of people. We live for their compliments and so we fall for their criticisms. And that’s something that can’t keep happening.

Know yourself. Know yourself to the point where nobody’s opinion can affect you. Know yourself to the point where people’s compliments and criticisms bounce off you like a basketball on hardwood. What other people think about you shouldn’t matter. What you think about yourself is what’s important. That doesn’t mean you have to think you’re perfect, it just means that you have to accept who you are.

 

 

First Breakups

First Breakups

First breakups are hard. We can watch as many movies and read as many books and quotes as we want but nothing prepares you for when it actually happens. My first breakup was tough on me.

Now, it’s important to note that I was raised by my mom and grew up watching Disney movies and listening to boy band music. All this gave me certain expectations on how relationships were supposed to work. I wanted to meet someone spontaneously, like they do in the movies. I wanted to shower my girlfriend with extravagant romantic gestures. I wanted the two of us to be each other’s everything, and that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone.

I met my first girlfriend, who we’ll call Courtney, during my first year at University. I met Courtney at the residence cafeteria the night after a party. She was in front of me in line, her credit card didn’t work, so I ended up paying for her food. We got to talking, exchanged numbers, and eventually started dating. It was a very spontaneous beginning; exactly the kind of beginning I’d grown up wanting.

The next 6 or so months went by in a blur. They were perfect, but thinking about them now, I can’t really remember them all too well. I remember the fights that happened afterwards but I don’t remember the calm before it. It was as though a switch flipped and suddenly we were fighting everyday about one stupid thing or another. I tried holding on to it. I really wanted to be able to say that my first girlfriend was my only girlfriend. I wanted to be able to look across the kitchen 10 years from now and tell my kids that their mother was my first and only girlfriend. It was very unrealistic of me but romantic comedies will do that to you.

Anyway, 10 months in, one of our fights ended up being really awful. I left her place and we didn’t talk to each other for 4 days. Now, to me, we were still together, but apparently not to her. When I went over to her place later, I found her in bed with another guy.

It’s hard for me to put into words what I felt that day, or for the next few weeks after. It was awful. I closed myself out. I stopped talking to people. I stopped using social media. I became a hermit. But, when I look back at it now, I’m glad Courtney cheated on me. I’m glad because we weren’t good together. We had so many problems that we kept sweeping under the rug and we were both so stubborn about it. I know for a fact that if she hadn’t cheated on me, I would never have broken up with her. We would still be together even now. We would’ve tried to “fix” any other issue that we had. And it would’ve led us nowhere.

I can’t tell you how to move on from a first breakup. Every breakup is different and every person has his or her own way of handling it. All I can say is that things do get better. It may not feel that way immediately, but they do.

 

Stress Relievers

Stress Relievers

Life gets stressful. It gets demanding and overwhelming and it can be scary at times. In those times, it’s good to have something to fall back on. It’s good to have something which can relax you.

Everyone needs it too. Life is not simple, and whoever said that lied. Relationships are hard, exams are hard, jobs are hard, and all of it together is just…messy. We’re not robots. We’re humans, and as humans, we can’t have it together every hour of everyday. That shouldn’t even be expected of us. We all need a break. It does wonders. Being mentally well is just as important as being physically well.

For me, when life gets a little too much, I write. Writing is therapeutic for me. Putting all my emotions into words helps ease their weight. But different things work for different people. I had a coworker once who liked to fold clothes whenever she got stressed. I have a friend who watches Grey’s Anatomy whenever she gets overwhelmed.

Life is going to be difficult no matter what. You just have to find a way to deal with it. Finding that certain stress reliever that works for you can make all the difference.

First Impressions

First Impressions

We’re a generation that lives off first impressions. We’re a generation that bases everything off of first impressions. We’re superficial. Very rarely do we make the effort to get to know someone at a deeper level. We hide from vulnerability. We hide from meaningful connections. We change people like we change socks.

Social media plays a big part in this. It’s so easy to connect with people nowadays. You can be sitting at home in Canada and be talking to someone you met online who lives in Portugal. And that’s led to us having a lot of people we talk to, but not having a whole lot of friends. It’s also led to us dropping our friends at the slightest inconvenience because we know we can just go online and start up a chat with someone new.

Social media has also given us unrealistic expectations on how our life is supposed to be. We see all these individuals on social media who seem to have their life together based on the pictures they post of their cars or of their vacations and whatnot. And we think that’s all that their life is; cars and vacations. But that’s just their first impression.

Essentially, we’ve become lost. We’re so conditioned to wanting that life, that the second we see some sort of crack in ours, instead of trying to fix it, we try to change everything up. We want our whole life to look like a celebrity’s Instagram page. We want people who add value to our life, not stress, but with people, most times you have to take the good with the bad.

You see, people are going to put up fronts all the time when they meet new people. They’ll put on acts to appeal to that person. A good first impression is always important, but first impressions are hard to maintain, whether good or bad. You can’t always be that funny, or that clumsy, or that laid back. You’re a human being. You’re not going to have it together every hour of every day…and that’s alright. That has to be alright.

 

Why I Gym

Why I Gym

I’ve always been the skinny kid; always. I was tall and lanky in elementary school and that didn’t change throughout middle school or high school. I never used to go to the gym. I played sports but the gym wasn’t really my thing.

I ended up starting the gym a year ago, and the reason I started is not the reason why most people start. I didn’t do it to get girls. I didn’t do it to get “huge”, per say. I did it because my life was a mess a year ago. And that’s the best way for me to put it, I think. My life became a mess based on two key things; my grades and my relationship.

Let’s talk about grades first. My first year of University had been bad; grades wise. I’d been on residence and my grades had taken the hit for it. So, come second year, I was determined to boost my GPA up. I had a goal in mind and I studied like crazy for it. I stopped going out. I rarely ever went to a party. It became all about school work. I ended up falling short of my goal.

Next up, my relationship. Around that time was when my girlfriend and I switched from the “Honeymoon” phase to the “Let’s Fight Everyday” phase. It was on both of us. We were both wrong for each other and we took it out on each other accordingly. I didn’t wanna just throw in the towel though. So I would try. I tried giving her more of my time, I tried buying her gifts, I tried planning more romantic dates, and all that culminated in her cheating on me.

Now, you might be wondering how those two events relate to me starting up the gym. Well, here’s the way I saw it. I had put all this effort into getting my ideal GPA, and I didn’t have anything to show for it. I had put all this effort into making it work with my girlfriend, and I didn’t have anything to show for that either. With the gym, it’s really about how much you put into it. It looked to me as the first thing in my life where all my hard work and effort wouldn’t go wasted. The amount of effort I would put into working out, would be the amount of result I would end up seeing, and that’s proved to be true.

I’d just become so tired of trying and trying and having nothing good come out of it. I needed a sure thing, and the gym became, or has become, my sure thing.

Inferiority Complex

Inferiority Complex

You know what’s really interesting? Living with an inferiority complex. And I say interesting, because in this day and age, we’re so accustomed to snapchatting and instagramming and tweeting every aspect of our lives. I mean, realistically, we all probably know 10 different people that we know everything about, even though we haven’t talked to them since the first day of high school. It’s become a norm, you know? It’s expected of you to have your whole life up on social media. It’s expected of you to be posting an abundance of selfies showcasing just how on point your jawline is…and whatnot.

I say interesting also because I didn’t use to have an inferiority complex. Back in high school, I was incredibly self-absorbed. It was fucking awesome. I loved everything about myself. But then I went to university, and everything changed. Not my looks; I look the exact same but my perception of myself changed. University is also when I started sleeping around with girls, and I think, to some extent, that may have affected me, but I don’t see how or why. In high school, I didn’t really go out with anyone. In university, I go out with a different girl every weekend. You’d think that would boost my self-confidence. It doesn’t. It just makes me feel…empty.

And it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even like taking selfies of myself anymore. I don’t like taking selfies with friends either because I don’t feel good looking enough for them. I have 1 picture of myself on my Instagram and that took me incredibly long to post, and I didn’t even want to post it, but I did it so I’d have at least 1.

I kind of took all this in recently when I went out this past weekend with my friend to take pictures for his photography blog. I filled in as the “model” and that’s when I realized how bad it really was. Standing in front of the camera felt awkward. I’ve never felt more present in my life. I could hear every time he clicked the camera, and I could hear every conversation happening around us, and I felt uncomfortable and as if I wasn’t good enough to have my friend taking pictures of me. And I just wanted to not be there. I wanted to go hide somewhere.

And it’s not just looks either. It’s everything. I don’t feel I’m smart enough for my parents. I don’t feel I’m talented enough to do anything worthwhile with my life. I don’t feel my personality is good enough to make the girl I’m head over heels for like me back. There’s self doubt everywhere; in every aspect of my life. It’s bad. It’s…overwhelming.