living underground in the real world

Freedom’s just another word for stress of a different kind

My friends. Let me ask you this.

How do we have compassion for ourselves, and, by extension, for others?

Particularly if we are vegan, which we are, shouldn’t we be sort of constantly working to stretch our compassion to encompass more and more, starting with ourselves? (I guess nonvegans should be doing the same, too. Whatever.)

Also, and I think related, how did we get to where we are today, when we can’t read a book or take a walk without thinking about our email, or if someone is texting us some vital 30-word message starting with “dude”? And doesn’t this have something to do with compassion?

When I was a kid I would read for hours, entire books in a day. Today I find it harder and harder to read anything longer than a paragraph. We all do, I know it.

I’m starting everything over, and this worries me. Everything worries me.

I really liked who I was. My fierceness. I worry that if I get rid of the stress/terror/instability that sometimes led to the fierceness, it will go away completely and I will be a person who walks around saying “chill out, man” to everyone. If I’m going to become someone who is always telling people to chill out I pretty much don’t want to live.

So I’m trying to find this balance: happy, yet passionate. Calm, yet righteous. Sane, yet myself. We’ll see.

I changed my job all around, and now I have free time. It comes at a price, literally, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay. The other day I opened up one to-do list after another, and when every one—the journal-y one, the jotting-down-notes-on-the-fly one, and the cooking one—were all blank, I got a bit panicky. I just closed them up and sat there and stared at them. I didn’t feel like starting to chip away at the long-term to-do lists, I just had the old familiar feeling: that if I should be doing something right then to keep the various Lagusta’s Luscious industries running. Not having anything urgent to do—or, as has been my custom lately, to avoid doing—was more unsettling than I’d imagined.

Apparently, I’ve defined myself as a person who is always doing something. Trying to change this while keeping my sense of self is my newest challenge. I think it’s all tied up with compassion, and not judging ourselves.

As you know, I love judging others, and take “you’re so judgmental” as a compliment. However, there’s a difference between being “judgmental” when it comes to believing that there are certain values that should be upheld in our society, and being mean to yourself and others when you don’t fit some box you’ve put everyone in.

Remember my tennis rant? I think a lot of it was jealousy. Deep down I crave exercise, but I’ve defined myself as someone who does not play sports, or go to yoga, or a gym. I’ve defined myself as a lot of things, and some of those things are causing me problems.

This “personal growth thing”—it stinks, people! But I’m in it to win it.

I’M A WINNER. (See, I just did it! Defined myself!)

In other news, I have to share with you this HILARIOUS email from a newish friend of mine:

…but it was so nice meeting you in person!! though i really HAVE to tell you (because i think it will make you laugh) that you are so much gentler in person that you are in written words. I read your blog a while ago and your opinions (which i do love) can make one a little intimidated about meeting you……….. i like it when someone opens themselves up for debate – but then the reality is a forgiving human who just wants to romp in words a bit. ok, back-pedal…. i know they are your real beliefs but i like that it feels less judgemental because in the end, you are a nice person with strong beliefs. cool.

It’s so true! Is that bad, though? That I try to keep my bile here so it doesn’t end up overwhelming me in real life? It’s always funny when someone knows me as a real life persona and stumbles on certain blog posts and has trouble reconciling the online Lagusta with the Lagusta they know. And vice versa.

Ah, life.

6 Responses to “Freedom’s just another word for stress of a different kind”

  1. Melanie

    Hey there

    I really enjoyed this post. I too, have come to a bit of a turning point recently. Maybe it sounds cheesy but I’ve realised that I’ve just got to be the most loving and compassionate person I can be and work on getting my passion back. I also used to read books every single day as a kid. I’d escape into my imagination for hours on end. I used to listen to music every day and derive so much joy from it.

    I notice that when I eat shitty food and don’t exercise my skin becomes blotchy and I gain weight but more importantly, my self-esteem and energy plummets. I’ve struggled with depression since my late teenage years (I’m now 21) and it’s just not worth living a life hanging out with people or keeping habits that exacerbate that.
    Mel, Australia

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Yay for us, being all adult and shit! Only you’re like a decade younger than me so….what took me so long to have these revelations?? Ah well. To passion and compassion!

      Reply

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