Maybe the most difficult of virtues.
Some often equate passivity with patience. Do you guys equate patience with being lazy and watching your life go by? If so, why? This seems crazy to me because if you are patient, you do not necessarily lack ambition and you are definitely not passive.
But, I get it! I was there. Sometimes it feels like yesterday. Yesterday…I woke up every day and felt like I had all of these things that I wanted to do and yet the idea of pursuing them crippled me to the point where I became, what felt like, a passive observer in my own life. Time ticked by and I just watched, waiting for whatever it was I was waiting for to happen. Little did I know that this was not all necessarily a bad thing, however, even while working towards something, being patient can create its own kind anxiety. You think that you’re waiting for things to happen and while waiting you think you are becoming complacent and not actively pursuing your dreams. And then it’s this downward spiral into self-loathing and stress, a feeling that gnaws on you until you just can't take it anymore and jump blindly, grabbing on to the first opportunity that presents itself, even if it wasn’t the best choice – it was the most convenient.
And yet, if you lack patience, if you tackle your visions and expect them to come to fruition instantly, you will be sorely disappointed.
Patience is an odd thing in this age of instant gratification. Many equate their ambitious nature with getting things done immediately or in a short period of time. What happened to the days when the thing that was valued most was working hard for longer than a minute?
Two years later, and my patience seems to be rewarding me even when I feel like jumping and firmly digging my nails into the quickest, easiest thing. I know, deep down, that this option does not make me happy and I won’t make that mistake again. I kind of cringe now, when I think of making that leap. Easier and quicker does not mean better.
I know now what I’m worth and I don’t plan on settling for less than that. All it takes is a little patience and, obviously, a lot of hard work. Still, two years later has come and gone since I started this website, and the idea that I make art that some people enjoy still feels like some strange, alternate reality that should not be mine.
For this brief moment, I will dig up some sentiments from the past.
Journal Entry, January 2015 (a while before finding my purpose)
“Anxiety smothers me like a dirty dish cloth.
I’m nervous about everything.
I wish that all of the uncertainty cradling my stomach would detach itself and digest.
I’m coasting, floating, fatigued, a figure with no definite outline.”
Ah, the beauty of anxiety.
Today, I recognize the value in reflecting, acknowledging, and celebrating milestones, no matter how big or small. For me, it’s hard to believe that two years ago I started living instead of simply surviving. A great tectonic shift occurred in 2016 and every day since then I just feel like living proof that anything is possible. During that whole process of recovery (years of it) I just wanted it to be over. I wanted to be free. I wanted to stop letting my dad pay for all of the specialists I needed to see. I just wanted...I wanted to find me again. At the time, I could not get through the steps fast enough and when there were relapses, it all just felt crushingly hopeless. Yet, without those years of trusting the process, getting over my expectation of instant recovery and gratification, I've found myself in a place that still has so many uncertainties, and yet happiness is what I feel.
It’s a strange thing how everything seems clearer the second let go of this fear of losing to an invisible disease - I’m oddly thankful for my anxiety and depression. I'm sometimes even thankful for the trials and tribulations of anorexia, though my physical setbacks are still something I'm grappling with and seem to be my last true hurdle.
Today, May 10th, 2018, I am less horrified by this idea of my being an artist. In fact, it’s one of my qualifiers now; a label I’ve collected and one I feel infinitely proud of when I’m not paralyzed by it. A lot has happened in two years, and I don’t want to waste your time, or mine, with a deep reflection on all that was accomplished (or not, definitely lots of failure!) because that exercise requires me to spend too much time in the past, when I’d rather just sit cozy right here in the present. I feel nothing but gratitude and I aspire to keep moving forward. I’m hoping that in a years-time, a handful of new exhilarating things will have happened in this tiny career of mine. And if they don't? Then I'll keep pushing forward, as we all do, patiently anticipating the next thing worth waiting, and working, for.