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Last week I told you all that I was going to do a new series on making yourself a better person by using my own experiences. I went through a pretty rough time going from who I wasthen to who I am now, and I know that I always have more growing to do. I know that your personal experiences won’t be like mine, but going through my own history and my personal path will help me relate to you the lessons that I’ve learned, which have been crucial to my self-improvement.
My personal kick-in-the-pants came in 2003 at the age of 27. I wish it had happened sooner, but it happened when it did and I’m grateful for it. To be perfectly honest, it took me a while to become grateful for it though. I got up one morning, just like every other morning, and headed to the bathroom to shower and brush my teeth. I was standing there nude after my shower, and I looked in the mirror. It should have been nothing new, but it was. I got an almost instant urge to punch the mirror. I hated what I saw.
It wasn’t about how I looked. I was thin back then, too thin in retrospect, but that’s another story. No, this wasn’t about looks, it was about what I really saw. Me. The person. A person I hated. I wish I could remember what had happened in the preceding days, since they probably triggered this even, but I can’t. It probably didn’t help that at the time I was trying drugs and a fairly heavy drinker. whatever the trigger was, what I remember clearly was looking in that mirror, seeing what was under the surface, and hating every bit of it.
I was a drug user, a liar, mean, manipulative, cold, shallow, and the list could go on. I was abusive and allowing myself to be abused, I was miserable and in a bad relationship. I was a mess. Worse than that, I’d become everything that I had ever hated in my family and the people I’d encountered over the years of my life since adulthood. I had become them. At first there was rage. I was furious at the world for making me this way and at myself for allowing it to happen. Then there was sadness. I cried so hard it hurt. Then there was acceptance. Simply put, I was fucked up in a lot of ways. The only good thing (though it took me a while to really grasp it) was that now I could change.
I hope that most other people don’t need a moment like mine to realize that they’re screwed up. The simple fact is, you probably are pretty screwed up. Maybe in small ways, maybe in large ones, but you’re screwed up. Nearly everyone is. Even the people who’ve spent their entire lives aiming for complete mental and emotional healing and spirituality, they still have issues. We’ve all been hurt or been through things, the world and the media have twisted our minds more than most people realize, and we’re all a mess on one level or another.
That’s the ugly truth, and you need to accept it. Until you realize and accept that you’re broken and need to be fixed, you’ll never get better. Lying to yourself and telling yourself that you’re “okay” or “not that messed up” or “normal” won’t make you a better or happier person. If you’re not already working on being the best person you can be, you have to start now. It’s not going to be fun to look at yourself on a deep level and shine a light on all your problems, but you have to do it. Living the way you are and calling it good enough isn’t actually good enough. It’s a waste of your time here, and a detriment to society as a whole.
That day of realization was a harsh one for me, but it set me on the road to getting better and having a better life, even though most people would not have agreed with that assessment. People thought I was crazy for quite a while, but that’s something you face when you decide to be better and no one else does. It creates resistance, but it’s something we all need to do. As hard as that day was, and as hard as the next few years were, I’m glad that it happened and now I’m someone that none of the people from my former life would recognize.