How do I even begin? Ugh.
Last week, an old friend of mine, one that I met in middle school and remained friends with until high school graduation, passed away after battling ovarian cancer. We met because Rosa was friends with my friends, so we fell into the same crowd back at J. L. Long Middle School in good ol’ East Dallas. Honestly, I was intimidated by her, which was ridiculous because she was actually one of the friendliest girls I could have met, and although I felt that we had little in common, she let me be her friend. I will be forever grateful for that. There is no doubt that the rest of my school days, all the way up until graduation, were filled with much laughter because of the friendship we shared. She was a hoot. There is a reason she was voted “Most Spirited” in our graduating senior class. She certainly earned it!
Sadly, I had no idea she was sick, and so I never offered her words of encouragement during her fight. I never extended my love to her. It was not until after she passed that my sweet mother, who is friends with hers, called to tell me everything. My heart sank, my mind raced to places it has not gone to in a long while, and I wept. What the fuck. What the actual fuck.
My thoughts are still all over the place, but the one that continues to reverberate resoundingly is, “This is not okay. This is not okay.” She was my age, so young. Selfishly, I think about all I feel that I have left to do and experience, and then I hope with all my might that she was fulfilled and at peace. Would I be? If I were to die right now? What is it exactly that I have left to do and experience? I do not put much value into marriage, nor owning a house, nor making a vast amount of money, nor any of that cookie-cutter bullshit. I certainly do not want children. What do I want?
So here I am, contemplating everything. Just when I thought life was smooth sailing, I am once more trying to rediscover myself. Am I being my true self? Am I nourishing my mind and my spirit? Am I orchestrating the perfect path towards my own happiness? I am in control, right? Maybe not of external circumstances, but I am in control of how I react to them. Although I cannot predict what changes or situations I will be forced to face, am I at least controlling all that I can and doing so in such a way that makes life what I want it to be? Am I adulting okay? Life is obviously not guaranteed and much too short to be fucking it all up all the time.
Oh yes, life is short but mine is also simple, if only I change my perspective. I can see that I certainly have had things pretty darn easy throughout my thirty-one years. I have never suffered a tremendous illness nor gone through a medical scare. Thankfully, amazingly, I can say that I have led a healthy life and rarely find myself in a doctor’s office (other than the one I work at, but that’s for creatures much more noble and cuter than me). I have never experienced any traumatic events, either, unless you want to count not making the grade a few years ago (Pfft, that was nothing. I bounced back from that like a total champ!). I have never been a victim of abuse, I have never had anyone take advantage of me, I have never been degraded nor belittled. Hell, I’ve never even been dumped. Lied to, misled, and rejected, sure, but never by anyone I loved or had invested in.
Still, I know and readily admit that my life is not entirely perfect right now, but it is definitely not in a state of desolation. Not even close. I can deal and live with the present state, no question. So I suppose I may be overthinking matters and being much too dramatic about “finding myself” and such. I have a tendency to do these things.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs actually keeps coming to mind as I continue to type this. Physiological needs, safety, love and belonging, and esteem. Check them all off. I truly am the girl who has it all. I have my health, I have a home and feel financially secure, I am constantly surrounded by people who love me just as I love them, and I have a great sense of self-respect (hence the not allowing degradation, disrespect, abuse, etc. to occur to me). It’s nice! Real nice!
Again, don’t get me wrong. Not all is perfect. I am not a portrait of ideal health, I am no model athlete, I eat way too many Oreos and drink too many beers. I am not loaded with money, I shop at thrift stores and in clearance sections, my abode is in fact quite humble. The people I love are not always around me, they are not always able to spend time with me no matter how much I try to make it happen, and I sometimes miss them very much. That’s the damn truth. Still… I am good in those areas. Honest.
And so I reach the top of the hierarchy: self-actualization.
Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
There! I am not crazy, I am not being dramatic, nor am I overthinking. All the questions that I asked myself above are legit. I asked them because I should want to reach my personal potential and continue to seek personal growth. I should want to be the best version of myself and have amazing experiences. I should not only want these things, but need them as well. This is all “normal”, if normalcy even exists. As Jordan Baker said, “It all makes sense. It all makes sense!”
Lucky for me, my sweet friend Slow J recently recommended a book to me, one that Audible also suggested based on prior purchases: You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Two endorsements within one month? I had to get the dang thing! I’ve only read one chapter, but the gist of it is that we are all badasses and can live fucking awesome lives if actively choose to do so. Perfect, right?
That’s not all. Through lengthy conversations that we have shared, my other friend Che has filled my mind with stirring ideas, gotten philosophical on me, and shared his own experiences with self-discovery with me, all of which has also been largely inspiring. Not only that, but he encourages me to head out on the road to self-actualization, tells me not to hesitate, and does not think I am a complete NUT for wanting to devote my time and focus to this. I think it may be because he is also on his own journey… Ugh. I wish I was as helpful to him as he is to me.
Anyhow, all of this has just been the kick in the butt that I have needed to get something going this year. I will likely write about whatever it is I discover, what changes I make, what joy I find. I am being optimistic here, I feel that good things will happen. If not, well… It will be my own fault. I hope that I do not become distracted, nor that I get frustrated and impatient. I hope that I reach new, epic levels of happiness and make others happy as well. I hope this makes me the badass person that I know I should be.
This could be good. We shall see…
Rosa, rest easy, you sweet and amazing being. I hate that you are gone, but will always be grateful to have known you. ❤