I thought the journey of self-discovery was over. After puberty, after heartache, after abuse, after college, after more heartache, after adulthood – there’s still more to discover? I am constantly learning new things about myself. And sometimes, I’m not always happy with what I learn.
I recently discovered that I am unstable. By that, I mean I am unpredictable. I can’t pinpoint which way my moods are going to swing and I can’t promise you I will be okay enough to go out next weekend. But I can promise that when the mood does hit – you will be the first to know about it. Actually, everyone will know about it. I also learned that I am dramatic. The more overt drama I can muster up about my feelings, the more “okay” I feel. It humanizes me. Being dramatic stabilizes me, oddly enough.
I also learned that I am not a steady stream of productivity. I can’t make most creative deadlines because I always feel my work is unfinished – not to mention I am a terrible procrastinator and will never turn in anything half-assed. So my projects take hours upon hours to complete. In learning this – I kicked myself in the ass several times for not making deadlines. Why was it so hard to accept that this was just who I was?
I think it took me a while to accept this part of me because I was still learning how to be myself – not on drugs. I used to smoke a lot of pot. Or, enough to sustain a little high during my creative time. Sometimes I would overdo it. Then I would take an “upper” to counteract the effects, which would stabilize me, which would keep me focused on my work. Downer, Upper, Work, Downer, Work, Upper, More Work and on and on and on until I would call it a night around 12AM or 1 AM.
When I quit smoking pot and doing other drugs, I also quit the creative process I had embedded within me. Now I’m rewiring this creative process. What does it look like without the altered state of mind? Am I really still as creative sober? Am I still producing the work I am known for without being heartbroken, drunk, or on drugs? The answer to the last two questions is YES. But I’m still working on what my new creative process looks like.
This is part of discovering a part of me that I had never developed. A sober Lola. Who is she? What does she like? What thoughts are organically loving and which are brought upon by fear? I hadn’t nurtured these parts of myself on pot. I was high for several reasons. Maybe I didn’t want to get to know the real me. Maybe I was afraid the real me wasn’t good enough to create art, leave a mark on the world…maybe I was afraid I was actually really good at those things. Maybe I was afraid of the success I could achieve if I just stopped making excuses. These were all parts of me I couldn’t face before.
And it seems that life will always be that way. You will always be confronted with parts of yourself that you have never seen before and you will be forced to make a life-changing choice to accept or deny that part of you. This is one of those things in life you can’t run away from because it will manifest itself over and over and in different contexts until this lesson is fully understood. Perhaps, the lesson of the self is a journey that never ends? Perhaps, that’s life itself?
I knew I was broken, I was just in denial for so long. I thought I did everything right after these trials and tribulations occurred. I was a Psych major, after all. I had the cognitive reasoning and emotional capabilities to “name” whatever was going on and find effective ways to cope and move forward. But those were just bandaids. I was internally wounded and needed to rehabilitate myself.
So what do you do when you have to burn yourself to ashes? You rise the fuck up! You put your nice jewelry on, put on your best outfit and you get to know your damn self. In my case, jewelry and nice clothes are a part of that. I am discovering the most beautiful parts of myself and I couldn’t have done it without breaking my addiction. I am a better person for it and I will continue to discover beautiful parts of me as I know this won’t be the last time I must burn.
A phoenix always dies…and is reborn again.