This mandala is made combining two pictures from my old shoes in different landscapes. A flowery and a summery day. Despite being beautiful, they are so fragmented you can't hardly tell what was there in the original place. This is more or less what this text is about.

I can’t afford to waste another second.

This is deeply personal. And I am going to leave all literary artifacts aside because I want to make it as simple and raw as possible. It's my life, but maybe also yours. So I am here. Writing it. Putting it on the “bottle” of social media and throwing into the ocean of internet. Enough of preludes, let me get into it.

I grew up with two metrics of personal worth. The first: A person only deserves to be alive if they are brilliant in all (or most) areas of their life. The second: My lovability had to be endorsed by a romantic relationship. If it doesn't sounds horrendous yet, let me tell you that just those two believes were enough to make me miserable for most of my life.

I developed into an overachiever, but I was never really able to savour any of my achievements. It just felt like “It was my duty”. That anyone could have done that. The damage is so critical that when doing therapeutic exercises where I have to think about my “happy memories”, I get extremely distressed. My last fully happy memory, one that has no overlay of anxiety and sadness, is now more than 25 years old. It's been many, many years since I've developed a strong sense of uneasiness that I can't quite pin-point where it comes from, how it formed, and why it is even there.

My relationships, or better put, my attempts of relationships, aren't an exception. They have been a mine field since I can remember. And although I never quite felt unhappy (more than usual) when I am single, I couldn't stop getting involved and entagled in those slippery, conflictuos and just generally unpleasant relationships. I have accepted behaviors that I wouldn't advise anyone to accept, let alone someone I loved. I have minimized flaws of characters that should have made me run away as fast as possible. And worse, I didn't even know why. Because I wasn't, for most of the time, even sure I liked those people. Well, one thing was clear: I wanted a badget, a stamp. I wanted the “relationship: achievement unlocked” moment. I wanted a endorsement that I could be myself and I would still be lovable. But I didn't know why I couldn't just decide for myself that I was lovable. Why I enslave myself to the opinion of random strangers.

It was just yesterday, when I bought some Miró paintings for my wall that something clicked. Just the sight of the paintings freshly hanged on the wall brought me a spark of joy. And suddenly I realized how long it has been since I have done something for me, by me. Something I genuinely enjoy, because I enjoy, and without endorsement from outside. I then realized that the lack of authenticity I had been feeling was precisely because I was measuring my life and self worth with a metric that wasn't mine. I had all of those boxes of achievements to tick and an endless pursue to equate my imagine with the one I had of a deserving individual. And none matched my internal metric. Nonetheless, I followed the path designed to me, without ever questioning.

I never cared for medals or prizes. I get bored by perfection. I never needed people to think I was perfect and like me. And yet, there I was, acting like I needed and cared about all of those things. No wonders I felt extremely uncomfortable underneath my skin.

When I think about my idols, my own metric was very clear since ever. Beethoven, Tesla and even Jesus, they all have something in common. They were people that were very true to their core values. It costed them A LOT, but they didn't conform. I think this is my most basic metric of admiration. And looking back to my life, the moments I felt the most happy where when I acted accordingly to my core values. When I spoke up against unfair decisions at the university (Justice/courage), when I helped my friends through tough moments (compassion/kindness) and when I could chat to homeless people and have a good time (Non-judgment/equality). I did those things here and there in my life, but I never prioritized them. And that is the issue.

Conforming, for me, is extremely painful. I thought I could ignore this fact to become more maleable. To have more opportunities. And yet, while it can be easier from some aspects, it’s so much costly from others. The biggest cost being of not having the chance of doing something extraordinary, something original, authentic, that can be pursued with passion and dedication. To feel enthusiastic about life, and to really feel it worth living. I need to love what I pursue; that is non-negotiable.

This also extends to relationships, I'm never going to be happy in a relationship I have to make concessions that make me feel like I'm not me anymore. Women are so often forced to make so many conssesions in the name of relationships that hardly make them happy. Hardly satisfy their needs. And why? Because a lot of women feel a pressure to be in a relationship. Because it’s still a thing that “something must be wrong with you” that you can’t get a partner. I certainly felt that. I certainly wasted a lot of time because of that. But I wonder, if my non-negotiables will turn me into someone difficult, however in peace with myself, maybe this is the right path. In the end, logically, I am the person who will spent most (and all) of my time with me.

Now, knowing that the world might not be as pleasant as it is for very long due to climate change, I think of all the meaningful, powerful things I could be doing and I hope I'll hurry to do them. There is so little time to waste with all of this meaningless bullshit. To live by someone else metrics of success. To need endorsement. To try to be pleasant. To try to fit in.

I can't afford to waste another second.

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