Why Are You So Obsessed With Fixing Yourself.

0 7
Avatar for ADEPRETTY
4 years ago

We are desperate to return to manufacturer settings. Erase the tape, wipe the slate clean. Find your center and exorcise that root chakra. Cure your depression with a green smoothie and a Care Bear! Demolish your demons by following the fifteen steps outlined in this listicle penned by some random on the internet who mainlined too many Tony Robbins seminars. MLM cultists are chiding us to “wash our face.” Girl, accountability is my middle name. There go the legions stitching “I’m taking personality responsibility!” onto Kinfolk-inspired throw pillows.

Welcome to the $11 billion-dollar self-improvement industry devoted to the care and feeding of being “normal,” which is slippery because once we think we have a grasp of what normal actually means, it changes form.

Buck up, cutie. You gotta have faith, George Michael urges. The answers to all of your problems are within…the confines of your attention and wallet. Break out your Ouiji board, hop on a SoulCycle bike, and nourish your soul with packaged platitudes because everyone purports to have a fix for your sads — all you need to do is more. Our society whispers we’re never doing enough, we could always read more books, devour more listicles, buy more things, mine for more memories, wail more in therapy until we’ve collapsed in the rubble that is our man-made mess. Until we’ve become a fixed version of ourselves that bears no resemblance to the original. Fixing yourself is a lot of work.

Still, we are never made whole; we are parts incomplete. Broken people. But let’s not talk about the societal systems, structures, and cultural norms in place that contribute to our breaking and say we did.

People on the internet are forever telling me things. My clinically-diagnosed depression is my fault. Even when I do the work, take the meds, and talk about my feelings with a shrink over Zoom, I’m punished for having an illness in the first place. I’m blocked, ghosted, ignored. She’s weird. She’s too much work. Why isn’t she better yet? And then I feel ashamed for having an illness I didn’t ask for. Paralyzed by a sickness that exists beyond my control.

I wonder, do you tell people who have cancer they’re “too much work” when they lash out because they’re human and sometimes chemo sucks, and death is forever hovering with a morphine cocktail, and maybe they’ll get better or they won’t, and where the fuck is all my hair, and the oh-by-the-way real nail-biting clincher: they’re human? No, no. Better to be filtered, photoshopped, cropped, resolved, and fixed, until we are nothing but marrow and bone. Better to be a fighter, a survivor, or any other label that tells the “after” story but conveniently ignores the messy middle. We do love a good story.

Buck up, cutie. There’s an online course for that.

I can never be too sad or too happy because sad equals suicide and boy, we don’t want to deal with that again. I can reveal a little about my personal life but not too much because people want your dark in the past tense — no one wants to deal with your present tense sadness. They want that storyline to be played out behind the scenes, but they’ll stick around for the post-mortem. Your comeback tour.

“Darkness is acceptable and even attractive so long as there is a threshold that is not crossed. “— Jenny Zhang, “How It Feels”

My loneliness during a global pandemic is of my own making — if only I had prepared for this seismic shift in our lives in advance, I wouldn’t have been this lonely! Silly girl, Trix are for kids. Here’s a manual, a playbook for becoming a whole and complete person — now get to work. They tell me my grief bears an expiration date. I’m supposed to be over my dead cat already, my dead mother already, the friends I lost from depression already. My anxiety can be solved by breathing, thinking calming thoughts, which is just another pill that makes me smaller.

They say I did it — why can’t you? From their Zeus-inspired thrones perched above the sky, sipping green juice from gilded chalices, they bark, don’t want to follow our mantras, tidy lists, and $1999 motivational workshops complete with a 30-day money-back guarantee? Fine. Continue to be a weak, pathetic, and lazy person.

How cute of you to be an armchair judge, jury, and licensed psychiatrist.

Out of one side of their mouths, they whisper that we should feel our feelings while the other side spits out a jackhammer, drill, and nail gun and tells you to suture and dress that wound already. And there you are in the middle of the wreck that is your life, holding a power tool over a gaping hole, trying to figure out how to mend yourself. Wondering if you’ll ever be normal. Fit in.

We are forever reminded that we are the wardens of our prison, the sole cause of our misery.

Why are we so desperate to flee pain? Why are we so uncomfortable with discomfort? Why do we shirk sadness in any of its degrees and forms? Why do we need to fix that which may not need fixing, but tending to, caring for, breathing through, settling in, one day climbing out?

How about instead of flying to fix any deviation from happy, why not just fucking be sad for as long as it takes to be sad? Why not acknowledge that being human is a complicated business and there are things in our power to fix and things not in our power to fix?

Sure, use the tools — I’m not saying to rid of them completely because this isn’t a binary party. So, read the betterment books. Download the videos. Most of them are useful but don’t buy into the fiction they will cure you. Or that you need curing or to be stitched up. Not all of us need (or want) to be fixed. Some of us need a little mess. Some of us need to sit in our pain for a little while longer.

We’re not all on the same journey. What may work for someone might not work for you.

Instead of Swiffering ourselves into oblivion, why not be content with a little mess? Your stomach doesn’t need to be cinched. Your mental illness doesn’t need to be magically and instantly cured. Your grief need not be erased. Let it linger with the realization that each day it can become a little more manageable.

There exists pain you can live with and you’re not weak for living with it.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic and it’s okay if you’re unbearably sad, nervous, frightened, anxious, lonely, heartbroken, hungry, and hurting. It’s okay to feel all the things without instantly needing to fix and not feel all the things. Maybe you’re not ready for resolution. Or have the tools for it. Or society to support it. Perhaps you’re not ready for doing work of any kind. Maybe premature fixing burrows your wounds even deeper. Creates new ones you could’ve never fathom having existed. Maybe you’ll never be able to paint your pieces as a whole.

You are a person, not a virus in need of an immediate vaccine.

$ 0.00
Sponsors of ADEPRETTY
Avatar for ADEPRETTY
4 years ago