Gym. Yoga. Babies. Those were my go-to’s during a bad break up. They kept me distracted or entertained just long enough to pretend that my soul wasn’t stolen from me. One summer I went to bikram class M-W-F, ran or went to the gym T-Th, and made sure to pack as many dinners and happy hours with friends in between. Because that’s what you were supposed to do. That’s what everyone else said to do.
When that didn’t work, I did what I thought I did best – write. I dotted the I’s of my sob stories with my tears, and wrote about the pain. With the pain. Through the pain. At the pain. Until my eyes stung, vision turned blurry, and the screen was nothing but a jumble of letters and fonts as messy as my fucking life.
And when that didn’t work, I just let the sadness overcome me. Like, I let it stay in my apartment for free. Didn’t even ask it to pay utilities or take out the trash. I cried, and cried, and burdened my friends, and cried, and worried my mom, and cried some more. I stared in the mirror and picked apart everything that wasn’t enough. I looked within myself and tore that to shreds.
I tried new things, I tried old things. I tried ALL the things that I could think of to make myself better. I hated who I was – never mind the fact that I had a distorted vision of who I was. And that was just the thing. You can’t improve yourself if you can’t accept yourself first.
Improvement should come with the intent of being a better version of yourself, not being a completely different person. It should be based on accepting who you are to begin with – flaws and all, and embracing them. Then, working on them. Otherwise, you’ll never be satisfied. You can take all the self-improvement classes you want to, but if you think nothing of yourself to begin with, there’s nothing there to improve.