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Saturday, September 12, 2015

the painter.

august 31st, 2015

dear journal, 

I felt like a painter today. How? Let me try to explain. 
My original walls in my life are painted with a myriad of colors. Some I love, some are okay, and some I'd rather not have on my walls, but I've learned to live with them. The wall is painted in a pattern that has been little influenced by me. It's a pattern of what others say my wall should look like. Sometimes I look at my wall and notice how awkward the patterns are. They start to go one way, making sense, and then all of a sudden go every which way possible. That's my life on that wall. And here is why I feel like a painter. 

Because I repainted them. Monday, August 31st started at 6:30AM. First day of classes! I woke up, had my coffee, took my shower, had devotions, made my bed, packed my bags, ate breakfast, headed out the door and had a glorious first day of classes. 
Except, wait. No. 
That wasn't my Monday at all. 
I'm not at school this semester. 

Reality says that Monday, August 31st started with my job at 7am of which I was scrambling out of bed at 6:41 still tired from closing the night before, tearing through dirty clothes because I haven't done laundry yet. Bed definitely didn't have the luxury of being made because finding a clean shirt, pants and shoes was enough to get me to work by 7 with a minute to spare. Face still swollen from sleep and groggy, blearing eyes still straining to find a cup of coffee. I had to leave work at 10 for a car state inspection. End of the month last minute details. Then back to work at 11:30 until 4:30. Wait! Bills need to be mailed today by 5! Writing checks, paying bills. First of the month last minute details that should be first minute details. Clean my room now? *Grumble* Oh yeah... you haven't eaten anything today. Maybe dinner is a better option. Between cooking and eating dinner with brother, time with neighbors, my housemate, cleaning the kitchen and my lack of enthusiasm for cleaning my room at this point or even thinking about laundry, my head hit the pillow at 10... Nope. Forgot to take out the trash, turn the porch light off and lock the door. 
Make that 10:05. Asleep in the minutes that followed. 

This isn't my usual schedule. It changes every day due to my job hours, but it's much different than last semester and last year. I actually love it and love that I decided to take a semester off. 

I read a quote the other day. And it hit me. 

"Once in awhile it really hits people that they don't have to experience life in the way they have been told to." - Alan Knightly

I grew up in an environment where everyone I knew (practically) went to college, graduated in four years, found a spouse, got married, had kids...etc. Not going to college never seemed like an option. None of that was ever pressured on me by none other than myself, but that was the norm I was following. Taking a semester off junior year or even thinking about it seemed unnerving. 
Well... no one else I knew was taking a semester off... so do I really need to? Maybe I'm just being lazy.. not smart enough? Not trying enough? Not enough to get through? Of course insecurities and doubts plague you when you wander off the beaten path. Taking a semester off to focus on working, what you want to do in life and even personal wellbeing and health was a huge step for me. It seems to go against the grain and that's uncomfortable. It's so sad and unbelievably frustrating that our culture and society doesn't celebrate people doing life at their own pace. How much anxiety, stress, depression and health problems have been caused due to this pressure of doing something the way that other people tell you to do it? 
I have stress, yes. Paying bills, fighting with landlords, making ends meet, planning a budget, working 40 hours a week... it's great. It can be busy, it can be tiring. But it's not crazy. I'm not doing something all the time. I can actually have a few hours to myself to write or to do nothing. There's a fear of being ashamed of that. Why? I think there's an odd sense of pride that comes from people being always busy. There's always something going on! Always an event, an activity... it's almost embarrassing sometimes when we're not busy... it's as though we aren't accomplished. Our identity becomes our business. At least mine did. And it wasn't worth the cost of my mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

I'm painting a new wall right now, and it's great because it's completely different than what I had before. I think our culture and society paints a picture of what our life should look like, could look like and we have the misconception that it has to look like whatever that is. Malarky. 

I thought I knew exactly what I wanted my life to look like. I had it all planned out. Turns out, I ain't got a clue! And it's alright. It's more than alright. I actually like figuring this all out as I go. So while part of me feels like I missed out on those first day back to school pictures and the excitement of a new school semester... I'm really happy that I decided to repaint what my norm looks like. I like this new wall and I can't wait to see what it looks like when I'm finished. 

Moral of this entry? Don't be afraid to paint... and don't be afraid to get messy with it. 

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