Questions from Melony Hill’s Writing for My Sanity Therapeutic Writing Workshop, held online.
Take a moment to reflect and remember how badly you wanted something that you currently have today.
I really wanted a vehicle of my own that really fit me. I knew I didn’t want a car payment, and though the car I did have was dying, I went about it really slow, and saved up and did research for over 8 months. My old car died in the middle of the that period, but I kept saving, rode public transport, and just stopped going to some things. When I finally bought the vehicle, I was able to pay cash, and it was exactly what I needed. A Honda Element, manual, with a moonroof, and the ability to fold all the seats down into a full-size bed. One of my favourite things is to just go out and sit in it, watching the sunset, taking a nap in it, stringing my hammock up to the roof rack, or converting the back tailgate into my mobile desk to work.
When I feel lost and like I don’t belong anywhere, it makes me feel at home.
Think about a small step you have taken or plan to get you closer to your goal. Remind yourself that it’s the small steps that get you closer to the finish line.
Right now, everything feels like small steps.
After my marriage ended, I had big plans. I was going to travel more, to be out more with friends, to be in nature more, to work out more, and I had full plans to do all those things, little steps included.
Then, a white guy speeding in his mother’s car on a way to buy some drugs cut in front of my motorcycle and sent me flying several hundred feet. I had to relearn how to walk. Relearn how to write. Relearn how to draw and design, which is what my entire livelihood depended on. I was out of commission for over 10 months.
I took small steps, healed, and prepared to restart all those goals. January came around, and I was finally 90% of the way there. I began traveling to visit a long-distance girlfriend. I began working out again in earnest. I went out, made new friends… and then the pandemic hit. My relationship ended. I was alone, again.
So now, I’m focusing almost exclusively on the little steps. Working on the projects that I do have coming in the door, and building my own personal projects in my downtime. My art. My novel. My music.
And there are big things that aren’t goals that I have to worry about. I worry about the pandemic, about being safe. I worry about losing my house. I worry about fascism growing in this country. I worry about raising to Black kids in a place that doesn’t always welcome them.
The small steps are all I have right now. But I think that might be a good thing.
How do you think you appear to others, is it different from how you feel on the inside?
This is something I would have tremendous anxiety over. I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a good grip on how I appeared to others, and because I viewed myself so poorly, everything I would imagine would be the worst possible version of myself in every way.
It got so bad, that the way I felt on the inside completely ruined and effected how I interacted with everyone. Every time I would get a compliment, I’d shoot it down. Every time anyone expressed admiration, called me handsome, said I was smart, talked about me being kind, I would reject it and downplay anything about myself.
Trying to imagine how people saw me was terrifying to me. Body dysmorphia extended into personality dysmorphia and even emotional dysmorphia, to the point where I couldn’t even recognize myself when people would talk about me. Self love seemed empty and vacuous; something I didn’t deserve.
All this I had to unlearn. Now, how I feel on the inside matches closer to how people see me. Now I feel comfortable enough to feel confident in who I am. Now I am strong enough to love myself the most. Now I am learning that if you don’t care for me, I don’t have to change myself to meet your standards.