There is a narrative I have in my head that I find myself saying a lot. It’s mostly “I don’t know.”
I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know what I want, what my goals are. I don’t know where to start or what to do first or how to choose.
I just don’t know.
But what if I do? What if this lie, the one where I somehow convince myself that all my past experience, all my obsession and introspection is just neurosis, what if that lie is the most damaging lie of all?
What if I can’t trust myself because I keep saying I can’t trust myself?
Lately I’ve been thinking that the most vulnerable thing you can do is be proud of yourself. Yes vulnerability can look like grief and fear and shame and self-loathing. But what if vulnerability also looked like honor? Pride? Hope?
It is so scary to hope, to believe, to have faith, because there’s always that voice that asks what if you’re wrong? Are you ready to face the consequences? What about that time you failed or the fact that you’re human and you never have been and never will be enough? It is in our nature to want. It is in our nature to hold contradictions. But isn’t that one of the most beautiful things about being human? That we can hold so many things at once, values that don’t compute, memories that war with the future. We hold storms and yet can still feel joy. Can still move forward. Can still find beauty.
The scariest thing you can do is to bet on yourself. To bet that you know what you’re doing and if you don’t, you’ll figure it out. To define who you are and what you want is to open yourself to criticism and attack. To suffering. It is to risk losing the things you love.
In buddhism they say that suffering is a truth of life. That it is ever present because we and the world around us will always disappoint. But isn’t it wonderful that despite that we continue to dream? To believe in a better world, a better self?
The ability to hope for the future without letting it degrade the present, to want to be a better person without letting that mean you’re bad, to know how little and how much I know…
That is the art of life.