on peace and becoming ourselves

On Peace + Becoming Ourselves

No-makeup, natural-hair, no-filters selfie in honor of learning to become myself. I'm even still in my pj's, 'cause (duh) Saturday.

No-makeup, natural-hair, no-filters selfie in honor of learning to become myself. I'm even still in my pj's, 'cause (duh) Saturday.


So. Here we are, nearly two weeks into 2018, and I have not set any resolutions for the new year. But, really, that's not a revelation. I haven't set resolutions the last several years. What is new is that I have also not set any intentions, written any goals, or decided on a word for the year.

Around the end of December, I almost always get to thinking about my Core Desired Feelings. And I did this year too ... sort of. I didn't do any notecarding (gasp) or journaling (double gasp) or anything. I ruminated, in a sort of vague way, on the one feeling that always seems to be my proverbial Holy Grail of feelings: peace.


I have a vision of a self, not too far in the future, who is calm, collected. She never overreacts. In my mind, that not-too-distant self always has a half-smile on her face no matter the circumstances, and she speaks in a sort of breathy voice. She moves as if she's dancing or like she's in a slow-motion montage of a film. She's graceful and zenned right the f— out.

And you know? I think I'm finally at a stage where I'm recognizing that that person is just not me. I will never be breathy or graceful or feel my emotions quietly. My "zen" rarely looks like that. My zen looks ... big.

I talk loud. I don't just talk with my hands — I flail pretty much all my appendages animatedly when I speak. And I get riled up. I'm a passionate being. I have my 'vices'. What's more, I enjoy having them. I also like provoking other people and playing devil's advocate; I'm contrary for the fun of it. I curse. I say dude a whole lot. I'm lazy ... and obsessive. I'm predictable ... and whimsical. I am passionate and stubborn and change my mind ... over and over and over again.

Because I am human. And more than that, I am me. I am me! I! am! me!

I have the privilege of being myself, and that privilege bestows upon me the responsibility to be as myself as I possibly can. To take advantage of every last divinely given quirk and foible. Not to waste myself on striving to be something I think is 'more' or 'better' than who I am.

I think I am finally realizing that this vision I have of what it would feel like to be a peaceful Jessica is a lie. Because I have felt peace in my life. I know what it feels like.

I feel peace when I'm myself: when I'm singing along with '90s tunes that remind me of my childhood; when I'm knee-deep in a good philosophical conversation and arguing a point that I don't necessarily believe; when I wear all black, even in the summer; when I'm curled up at home on the couch with a book instead of at some social event; when I'm complaining about society-at-large's bad taste in movies; when I'm doing nothing all day but playing video games with my husband; when I'm staying up way too late just because I feel creative (like now, heyyy!); when I'm not wearing any makeup and my hair's air-dried and natural-wavy; when I'm listening to records by candlelight.

After every single one of these things, I want to put a caveat, like "even though it could come across as affected" or "even though I shouldn't want to do it" or "even though it offends some people". Every one of these things is something I have, at some point or another, thought was bad or wrong, that doing them means I'm immature or unwomanly or unattractive. But the fear is always about how I think others might perceive me; it's never about how I actually feel.

When I'm myself, when I give myself permission to be myself, that's my peace. I'm learning to reconcile all the parts of myself to myself, and that's my path towards peace. I am learning to become myself.

I am learning that my healing doesn't look like the self-help gurus and the blogs and the books say. My healing looks like learning to be radically, honestly, rawfully (what, I just made that word up, it works) me, as I am, as I like being.

Random aside: This reminds me of a line from that show True Detective. You ever seen it? Marty (Woody Harrelson) asks Rust (Matthew McConaughey) to "stop saying odd shit." And Rust just squints at him and says, "Given how long it's taken me to reconcile my nature, I can't figure I'd forego it on your account."

May we never forego our natures on anyone else's account.