The Prison Of Perfection – Dealing with Anxiety, Fear and Unrealistic Expectations

         I realize this is a topic that is written about a lot, and that millions of people around the world experience it every single day. It doesn’t make me very different.

         That worries me.

         As someone trying to make it out there in the world, it is absolutely crippling to find out how much of a nobody I really am. I’m not particularly talented, I don’t have a story to tell the world, and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that my absolutely boring and unproductive life will change anytime soon. This is a pretty grim outlook for someone who calls herself a hippie, but this is what stops me, on a daily basis, from actually creating content. My blessed, yet uneventful life. My encouraging but confusing luck. My fantastic, yet unspecial existence.

        I’d like to think I have a lot of brilliant ideas that I would love to bring to life because real change is what I have always wanted. To work with like-minded people and to have the thrill of being part of something much bigger than me or any individual… But, somehow I never get past the first day of working on whatever project I work on. This means I have tons of unfinished projects lying around, and a billion plans I made with friends and acquaintances yet to be started.

       But alas. It would seem all my enthusiasm and energy dies the moment I realize that these things require work, perseverance and a lot of responsibility.  At that moment where I have to make a decision on wheher or not to act on my ideas, I always feel as though I don’t have what it takes, that my work will not be good enough, my resources will not be enough, and that my project is simply a waste of time… my mind always ends up convincing me that work done imperfectly is better not done at all. If the work and effort put into the project is simply going to be shrugged aside by those who see it, I’d rather not speak of it, I’d rather not work on it. I feel, sometimes, weighed down by the weight of the millions of marketing companies in the world who are able to find and address the audience that they want. I am annoyed by people who call themselves “influencers” and have a huge following of people just for having the right looks, the right talents or the right connections. I find it unfair that I am not able to reach that peak point, and that I simply have no content or even knowledge to pass on.

      But I guess this is where my story starts. It is a fight against perfection and the unrealistic expectations I have for myself. I want real self-development. But I have no one to guide me. I don’t know where to start. I’m not even sure if I want to face my anxiety head on. These feelings are something I have always hidden, but right now it feels quite liberating to be able to put them down in simple words loud and clear:

      I have ANXIETY, I have UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS, and I am almost ALWAYS AFRAID TO TAKE REAL ACTION. It is difficult for me to dive right into projects, and communication at times of difficulty doesn’t come easily to me.

     But at this point in time, I am definitely open to working on myself. But sitting at a computer and typing away won’t help. So, instead, I read. I scoured the internet for anything that could possibly help me get out of this rut, this horrible prison, and help me embrace whatever comes my way with grace and love. After hours of reading material on glow-ups, and self-help articles and books, I have come to the conclusion that if I am to succeed in any endeavor regarding my own growth, I need to start working on self-discipline and perseverance.

      So, other than the #NoStrawChallenge which I started half a year ago, I have begun two others.

  1. The Get-Fit-Glow Challenge
  2. The Decluttering Challenge

     The first challenge is an attempt for me to get into the best and fittest version of myself. The second is to help me declutter and give away the things that bear me down, and start afresh in a simple, and minimalistic way.

     It’s not easy to fight back, but it’s not impossible. I really want to succeed, and the obstacles that I face are, I believe necessary for my growth. I only wish my knowledge of this fact actually helped me face my fears a little easier. Haha. Maybe in another life. That’s okay.

      So, here we go. Baby steps.

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The Three Dimensions of Restriction.

Yes, I’ve been held back.

Not just as a woman, but as a child, as a student, as a member of society, as a girlfriend, as a sister, as a daughter and even as a writer.

No, this is not a cry for help, nor a loaded rant aimed at nothingness. It is simply an observation, that little prick we feel as we are administered shots. Sometimes fighting can help you overcome restriction in our lives, but it’s not always obvious whether we should, and if we do, how to go about it. It might not be easy, but there are ways to make freedom a natural part of your life.

I began writing this post in April, but I was too exhausted by the things happening around me and the way I was responding to it – it’s always just been an unhealthy mix of anxiety, loneliness and resentment. I’m still exhausted, but that exhaustion has become my new reality, seeping into my thoughts more and more, affecting my mood, which in turn influences my favorite activities negatively, which includes writing, making music and art – and I do not like it. But what’s different now is that I know what I want, and what I deserve. So, I’ve started to identify the different ways I’ve been restricted in my life.

In my case, there have always been three principal sources or dimensions of restriction: my own thoughts, my loved ones, and my society. All three require different approaches, and to become a true “hippie” at heart, we must learn to embrace and dissolve these restrictions one by one and that’s exactly what I hope to do. Although it is not really possible to entirely remove restrictions from one aspect in one go, it is possible to tackle multiple parts of the same, as it occurs. C’est-a-dire, we can’t possibly hope to remove all the restriction caused by our own thoughts in one go, and then move on to restrictions caused by society. No, instead, we take it on bit by bit, tackling a little bit of everything, which can bring us true balance and harmony in this path of resistance.

I’ve started my path, just by trying to understand who I really am, what I want and what I deserve. The moment we get these fundamental ideas in balance, the path then paves itself.

So, as Rumi once said, when will you begin that journey into yourself?

 

 

O’ Sweet Love – A Poem.

O’ Sweet Love

You are a haunting reminder,

An urge and memory,

Of the days of

To smile as bright

As a starry night that

Refuses to dim down,

To smile as bright as

The sun that never sleeps

And, as revealed to me

By these sweet symphonies,

To smile as bright

As the eternal light

Of thy soul.

-Z.S

Call of the Wild; A Poem.

It will reach you one day;

The call of the wild

Pulsing through your veins,

A demand,

An urge to explore.

Answer it,

For it is your own heart

Crying to return

Back home

Where it belongs.

 

So, we left home unabashed

Throwing away our broken

Hearts excited to see the world,

But when we arrived

At the endless destinations,

Looking for treasure

We found it not

In this world without,

But in these hidden ruins

Lurking within.

Zenya Siyad

Discovering The Thirst For Travel

If I had to look for memories of travel from the years I would like to call my childhood, it is interesting to note how memories of times as a toddler were scarce, although looking at the photos and the smiles I gave, I travelled and experienced much more then. Everything after that, excluding school excursions, were a blur of travelling in a car from district to district, from hotel to hotel once in a while.

It was almost like we travelled 5 hours in a car to sit in a hotel room that we could have easily found in our own city. Like that, I didn’t think much of travel. To the very naive me from a half a decade ago (totally possible considering I’m just 18), real travelling was about vacationing in countries abroad, like my rich friends did, finding touristy spots and taking fancy photos. These trips to the neighbouring districts to roam the malls and shop for clothes was beginning to seem tiresome, although I clung to them with my life since it was a short-lived, yet welcome change from my normal routine.

My idea of travel was at once fulfilled when I participated in an exchange program that connected my school with the students of a Danish Efterskole. This meant I had to go there, to Denmark, in the month of April in 2015 for a period of 10 days. It was the most thrilling thing I had ever done. Everything was new and interesting, and I was learning something new every hour, not just about their culture, but of my own culture. But ten days is but a flutter of a butterfly’s wing. It passed by just as quickly as it came.

Things remained stagnant for that period of my life, from the age of 13 to the beginning of my 18th year of life, – I might even go as far as to say that my mind was festering in self-doubt and in nihilism that seemed to have no end – and I was soon on the borders of what one calls depression. What bothered me the most was the fact that my burdens were, in fact, worthless, for I knew others who carried worse problems in their lives. It was painful that way, being unable to open up in any manner to anyone. For anyone I did manage to be vulnerable did not listen; they simply judged and advised.

But last year, I found myself opening up to more opportunities – I had rediscovered the spirituality that was introduced to me years ago by my uncle, and I started to pour my energy into understanding what this world and the ‘Universe’ is all about. I started using the law of attraction and indulged in Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. I began to see radical changes in my life, and one of those was reconnecting with Rumi’s poetry. This coupled with my friend who introduced me to Sufism helped ignite a flame so powerful and deep, that merely thinking about it manifested two separate travel opportunities just three weeks later, each lasting about 5 days.

Ever since then, people have been randomly suggesting various beautiful movies, like Into the Wild, Tamasha, Highway and various others related to travel, freedom and rediscovery, and that in itself has inspired a change within me.

I realized that travel isn’t just about vacationing in a picturesque city or town and taking great photos, and relaxing in a hotel bathtub (although it isn’t a bad idea).

No, no. Travel is about discovering the culture, the traditions and the stories that each place, that each moment has to give us. It is about observing the world around us, about learning more about the way life works, and about adapting our lives after being opened to such diversity. It is about spreading love, about consuming it. It can be anything, as long as you indulge in it fully, without flinching when things get rough -as they will – and without complaining about what could be and what was.

If there is anything that matters, it is about what is.

And you need to catch those moments before they fly away. You need to grasp them and make sure to absorb them as easily as one breathes. It is a lifestyle, that comes from gratitude, self-realization, and a great deal of trust in the Universe.

So, this thirst for real travel is here to stay.

I’m willing to try and see where the road will take me.

 

When Dreams Allow

When dreams allow, 

I retrace my steps

Back to when I met you

On that lonely night. 

I only wish

Those moments vivid

Would let me hold you

But an hour longer.

Z.

 

I’ve found great solace in dreaming and reliving the little moments, and it’s been quite the experience because I progress more and more each time in uncovering the love and peace hidden in the feelings behind every action, every word that you’ve expressed.

Yet, I do not know how you do it, how you manage to mix up all sorts of emotions: You have kept me on my toes, cautiously, yet with so much love. You’ve left me hanging over the edge of a slippery cliff, only to pull me back in and keep me close and warm. You’ve left me ashamed of myself, you’ve left me in a mess, you’ve left me in tears – yet you helped me find myself, you helped me see beyond this prison cell, and beyond this body. You showed me, just by existing, that there is something out there, something that is seeking me as much as I am seeking it, and it can only be felt with the power of raw, unconditional love.

You made sure I was rooted, rooted in self-discovered dreams and beliefs, you made sure I was rooted in reality. Not in the reality of ordinary life, but in the sweet, yet prickly embrace of endless possibility.

How can I feel so great, yet so small? I’ve become invisible, yet I am loved in your eyes, and for me, my muse, I now know that that is enough.

I have seen myself in you, and I feel your presence within me. Come what may now, dear one, you are a part of me I will never let go. I cannot let go.

You will live on in every breath, in every word, in every movement, until the sands of time reunite us, be it in this world or the next.

#NoStraw2019 Challenge

Most hippies are people who are born hippies while others… Well, they morph into them.

Morph? Yes. I say morph because the word morph is associated with gradual change or transformation. Take for example the metamorphosis of a butterfly; it is anything but a quick change or a sudden alteration, right?

Similarly, the transformation into a hippie is gradual and a very rooted process. I have realized that by way of a movement I had come across.

The #NoStrawMovement.

It is a phenomenal international movement that tries to reduce plastic refuse by saying NO to plastic straws. Plastics straws are single-use products that refuse to degrade and consequently threaten our precious environment.

What we don’t understand is that these straws not only damage our natural environment and threaten its creatures, it also has a lot of side effects of on our body over time. If you are too used to using straws in your lives, whether it be in your cool drinks, your take-outs or your movie time beverages, here are a few things explained briefly to give you an idea of what it means to use these harmless SEEMING straws:

  1. You may develop smoker’s lip, which results in premature wrinkling around your lip area.
  2. You may have problems related to excess gas in your system, which causes discomfort and various other problems in the long run including bloating.
  3. Your teeth may take the biggest hit – you may develop cavities if the drink is directed to one area only, and furthermore, teeth may become stained.
  4. Plastic Straw production causes air pollution and considering widely used it is, ACROSS the world, we can only imagine the level of pollution it brings even before we use it.
  5. Plastic Straws adversely affect sea creatures, since a lot of plastic is thrown into waterbodies. They sink to the bottom where marine animals ingest them, and could possibly die.

Gosh. That one straw that we were using… could do this much?

So, think about it; most of don’t really need straws, yet we mindlessly make use of it anyway and throw it out just as carelessly. Can we do something about it?

Yes, we can! If we do it collectively, it is even better!

So, I have decided to take up my very own #NoStraw2019 Challenge.

Are you with me?

#NoStraw2019 Challenge
ToGo Drinks are a major reason for using straws. Enjoy drinking out of cups more and slow down: stay in shop!

Realizations, Musings and a Quest for Discovery.