Are you being the best you can?
As an athlete?
As a friend?
As a partner?
I ask myself this question a lot.
In the past, the answer has usually been “no”.
Maybe the occasional “no but” or “no because”.
But, despite whatever excuse or rationale I attached to my answer, a no was always a no – whether genuine or an anxious imagining in my own mind.
Feeling that way about myself for the majority of my life skewed my perception of many things, especially who I was. Not the image of myself I desperately tried to present to the world and people around me. The boy, I saw in the mirror. The person who kept me awake at night, alone in my dark room, ruminating on all the reasons why I wasn’t the person I wished I was.
For years, rather than try to take control and make meaningful changes, I chose to hide behind a mask. A safety net of brokenness, which I could retreat behind when pervasive feelings of inadequacy crept in.
A mask that, about 3 and a half months ago I decided once more to try and take off, however this time with the intent of being done with it for good. Not just hide it in a drawer for when I needed it next.
Real genuine change.
In how I think, how I feel, my values and beliefs, how I eat, sleep, drink (especially drink haha), read, learn, train, recover, work, rest, love and connect has been my soul focus for those past few months.
And for the most part, it has been amazing.
However, I turned 30 on Monday.
A meaningless milestone other than now I start my age with a 3 instead of a 2, yet somehow I let it become a catalyst for some poignant and dark reflection.
As I looked at my (pretty fucking incredible) life, I chose to skim over the endlessly wonderful things I’ve been blessed to do, see and have and focus on some of the more unpleasant moments from my 30 years of existence.
I say “chose”, but frustratingly this is what my anxious mind will usually opt to stew on instinctually in moments of introspection. This is also something I’m working to change.
I found myself wanting to once again put on my broken mask and curl up away from the world.
I begged close friends and family to leave me alone on the day and chose not to celebrate in any way. When I let myself spiral down one of these depressive, shame holes, I feel deeply uncomfortable and almost angry, hearing people praise or congratulate me, especially for something like being born.
It took me a good two days to recognise what was happening and pull myself out of that hole.
I believe developing awareness (like this) is the first step towards making meaningful, LASTING change.
I slept well last night (another big help when it comes to positive change haha) and this morning, woke up, looked in the mirror and saw the all the changes I described above once again, rather than the sad, confused and frustrated little boy in his mask, that was beginning to poke his head out the past few days.
I still hate my birthday.
But I am slowly hating the person celebrating it a little less each day.