Or, for lack of a better term, money-hoarding. My parents are always stressing the need to get a high-paying job, and I just can’t relate. I don’t care about money. All these CEOs making 15 million dollars a year… what do you do with that? What’s the point? I only want enough money to live comfortably. And, I suppose, living comfortably to me may be completely different from other people. Really, I just don’t want to have a lot of stuff. I don’t want to hoard cars and electronics, or boast the size of my backyard swimming pool. I don’t need to travel the world, or retire early and live in luxury until I die. I just want to be able to buy food, have a home, and support myself and whoever is part of my life without money worries. I feel like having too little or too much money can only lead to problems, and I would rather be comfortable somewhere in between. And for that, I don’t need to be at top of a company or working for the largest corporations. I just want a simple life where I can be happy. Why is that so hard to understand?
It’s time for some real talk.
I’m at a confusing spot in my life right now. I grew up Lutheran and went to church all the time. Once my siblings and I got confirmed (in our teens), we weren’t forced to go anymore. And for a while there I didn’t go at all. I still believed in God, but didn’t feel I needed to be present in church to have my beliefs. A year ago I started going again, this time on my own at a new church. At first it was great, and I really felt like the void in my life was being filled. And then as time went on, I stopped going. And now I really don’t want to go back. It’s complicated.
See, I believe that religion is a personal thing. I think everyone has their own beliefs, whether they be about one God or many Gods, or maybe no God at all. As much as I want religion to be part of my life, when I go to church it feels like I’m pretending. Like I’m acting, or performing in a way which the people at my church would approve of. It’s like I have to hide a lot of myself, and just go with the flow of the service and say the things they tell me to say, sing the songs they tell me to sing. I can recite the Lord’s prayer by memory, like many Christians, but I don’t know how strongly I associate with the words. They’re just words to me, and the meaning behind them is completely separate and often gets passed over. I can read from the bible, but don’t really chime in to what the words are trying to tell me. And it feels like I’m faking.
Another problem I’m facing is that I’ve always kind of picked and chosen which parts of my religion I choose to agree with. I believe in God, but I don’t believe he created everything, which seems like a pretty fundamental Christian belief. I don’t believe that you have to choose either science or religion. I believe in evolution. I don’t believe that Noah’s arc ever existed. I believe that God is watching over me and listens to my prayers. I don’t believe that the only options for the afterlife are either heaven or hell. And I also don’t believe that being present in church and singing about your faith makes you a better or more “worthy” Christian.
Now I’m just left at a standstill. Do I need to associate with a religion? Can I have beliefs from multiple religions? Do I get to pick and choose what parts to believe? Can I practice yoga, meditate, and feel connected to some Buddhist ideas, and still be a Christian? Can I even call myself a Christian without believing in creationism?
What do you think?
It occurred to me that the line between egotistical cockiness and fearful insecurity is actually very slim. When I think back to the anxiety I struggled with a year ago, a lot of my problems were somewhere on this fine line. See, I used to have anxiety because I felt like everyone was watching me. Or, you know, judging. It was way worse in times that I would be out in the open with nowhere to hide or run to. I was also big into running away from my problems. The thoughts would go something like this:
Wow my hair looks terrible today.
Sigh, of course it does right before I go to work.
Oh well, I hope no one notices.
But what if they do notice?
What if they decide I’m sloppy and not put together?
What if they decide I’m far too careless and disorganized to be where I am?
I’m a disappointment.
I don’t deserve to be where I am.
There are so many people out there who would be better at this than I am.
And none of them struggle with anxiety.
So just like that a very simple problem that literally everyone has every now and then becomes a huge issue. So am I anxious because I feel like everyone should be paying special attention to me because I deserve respect and praise for my accomplishments and the position I’m in? Or am I anxious because I worry so much about what other people think of me that I sometimes really don’t believe that I deserve the things I’ve gotten?
I don’t actually know the answer. I mean, I do tend to think I’m pretty great. But who doesn’t think that about themselves? I also have a really great ability to tear myself apart.
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. To be honest, no one cares about the things you worry about them noticing about you. No one cares if your socks match or if you cross your arms when they’re talking to you. No one thinks about that thing you just said and is now dissecting it to try to make you look stupid. And no one equates one loose hair with being completely incompetent and undeserving.
Believe in yourself. Trust that you’ve earned what you have. Realize that really everyone else is just as self-centred as you are sometimes, and this works out in your favour because you can stand to say something awkward every once in a while and no one will care. Be who you are, and stop worrying so much about how you come across. You’ll get where you’re going one day, just give it some time. And as always, remember to breathe.
…it was worth it in the end.
I applied for a job at my local pole fitness studio to be a pole instructor. I love that studio, and am so excited to begin teaching. I hope I’m good at the teaching side of it!
The condition was that she requires a two year commitment, with the condition being that if you leave before two years are up you have to pay her back for all your training. Which sounds fair I suppose.
And yet… it just made me realize that I’m never going home. I don’t have the option to head back to the city my family is in even if I wanted to. There is no plan B. I guess this is home now, whether it works out or doesn’t.
I need feminism because:
1. I feel women shouldn’t have to fight for equality. It should just be the norm.
2. I shouldn’t have to fight for whether feminism is even still needed. Women still aren’t paid as much as men for the same work. Women are still expected to conform to a very narrow (and stick-thin) standard of beauty, and are judged for whether they are “disciplined” enough to maintain it. And I’ve never heard a man say that he’s trying to decide when he should have a child because of the negative effects it might have on his career.
3. I shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed of pole dancing for fitness. Everyone seems to always miss the last word there. No, I’m not a stripper. But even if I was, who cares? Why do my choices matter to you?
4. I shouldn’t have to be one of the guys to be successful at work.
5. I should be able to be emotional, angry, sexy, sassy, strong, outspoken, shy, athletic, nerdy, straight, gay, wear a skirt, wear pants, wear makeup, not wear makeup, have relationships, have sex, have kids, not have kids, be happy, be powerful, be me without being judged for it by men or by women. No one should be afraid of being themselves.
Why do you need feminism?
…if the inspiration to write never hits?