soul? is that you? it’s me, colleen

I used to tell myself that if I ever found a book titled, “How Not to Give A F*ck for Dummies,” I’d snatch it up and read it every night, an appropriate soothing bedtime story. I daydream of running through the hills, a modern-day Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music while shouting the mantra and living the words, “I have zero f*cks to give!” This escape of reality dances before my eyes long enough to entertain the thought of freedom from judgment, comfort in my skin, and concept of having self-control but not long enough to actually live these personal goals. I hate that I am a talker and not a doer. I can quote inspirational sayings and offer advice more than a bathroom stall wall, but to walk the walk? I don’t even have shoes.

It’s often heard and repeated to, “take a walk in someone else’s shoes.” I believe that is a direct source of putting on another’s soul, living their daily trials and tribulations. The trouble here for me is that I am unsure of my own shoes, my own soul.

In order to really enable my inner power of not caring about what other people think of me, I have to stop thinking about how to. Thus, I have begun the search for my soul. It’s a needle-in-a-haystack kind of thing but it’s worth the energy. The exhaustion of trying to figure out why someone is this way or that is distressing. The pep talk of telling myself, “It’s not a big deal” becomes monotonous and never seems to strengthen no matter how many times I tell myself. But to exhaust myself in search of myself (my soul) is a release of energy like one of a post-work out glow. I hate every minute of it (the running, the weights, the hopes of looking like I know what I am doing) but as soon as it is over, I float. My body, mind, and soul feel as if they are finally together in the same room, instead of the normal where each is in different rooms of different floors, confused and lonely.

Ever since we are shed into the light of life, we become cultured. The more years we collect in our life, the more we are exposed to the individuation process of becoming what is expected of us. Eventually and hopefully, we recognize this, either struggle with it for the rest of our lives, give up, or revisit the beginning of our selves and search for inner peace. We innately know what we truly want. This is why we dream. We must listen, open our hearts, our ears, our mind’s eye and say, “Oh, there you are.” No one can find oneself or recreate oneself on Facebook, not authentically.

It’s because of this practice of satisfying expectations that finding the power to live a meaningful life will be one of the hardest things for us to do when, in actuality, we are born with it. It’s not destroyed. Not gone. Not even inexistent. It is within us, waiting to be called. Sometimes it visits us in our dreams, through moments of abundant confidence, through expression of art. We cannot afford to live our lives according to others. We have to accept that being oneself doesn’t guarantee the happiness of a quantity of others, but it does guarantee the happiness of oneself and those who matter.

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