I graduated from school, did a few shitty survival jobs, ran out of money (damn, I wish I had that gene that makes you feel unashamed to ask your parents for money as a graduated adult), burned out, cried, screamed, puked (a lot of puke), and worried. Oh my goodness, I worried. What if I’m not good enough? What if I don’t belong here? What if I’m going down the wrong path? What if I made the wrong choices? What if, what if, what if! Paranoia, intrusive thoughts, my goodness. It’s overwhelming. It’s exhausting– this battle with yourself, these ongoing arguments to cave in, to believe these voices, your own voices, telling you you’re not good enough. The ugly truth no one else has the guts to tell you to your face. I don’t think we acknowledge how cruel we are to ourselves.
I know this is…unhealthy. But breaking down the fundamental way I’ve been treating myself for my entire life can’t happen overnight. I still worry. We all worry, every single day. It just takes up so much real estate in my brain, I’m surprised I haven’t noticed it until recently. I worry about fucking everything. Every little thing. I literally worry that my roommate’s dog gets mad at me when I don’t give her my food. I spend all my time worrying. Worrying things will fall apart, worrying about others opinions, worrying about the past and the future. And this worry, this foggy, vague little demon, is killing my creativity.
To be honest, at this point of my life, I’m doing okay. Yeah, I don’t want myself to believe that, but it’s true. I’m okay. That’s important to acknowledge. Working a job with incredible flexibility and freedom, making enough money to be financially independent. I’m living in New York, I’m doing the ‘thing’, and even here, with all the boxes checked off, I’m stagnant. I can just tell. I’m not trying new things, experimenting with my work, nothing like that. And when I ask myself why, why I’m still stuck with no excuses anymore, the answer I keep coming up with is that I’m scared. Me? A Capricorn? Scared? Yes, I’m scared. That’s what I’m feeling, and I’m going to acknowledge it instead of running away. I’m scared of the risks, I’m worried about messing up. And as I say (type) that out loud, I see how lame that is. I didn’t think I was that intimidated by life’s possibilities, but I am. And if I know this, I’m asking what I need to do to make that stop. Less worry about making a mess, and more worry about not making a big enough mess! Does that make sense?
I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground. I’m trying to stay above water. Rowena Tsai, an internet self-help icon, always suggests in these moments of fear and doubt to return to your ‘why’. Your north star. If you remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, why you’re going for your dreams, it makes all the fear and doubt less powerful. Why did I start writing? Why am I working to be an artist, even if I’m a little hazy on what that will actually look like? And who am I creating for? Her own north star inspired mine. She’s quite eloquent, so why not just share it in her words:
‘My younger self. For her to feel less alone, for her to feel like she’s not crazy for dreaming big. For her to have hope that things will get better. She believes in herself and something greater than herself.’
Humbly, I must admit, my younger self would be awestruck at how far I’ve come. I didn’t think I could do it, and if I’ve made it this far, well, there is so much more abundance to come. And with this north star in mind, I do feel a sense of purpose that will make me keep going. Yes, maybe experimenting through my work terrifies and worries me, but damn, what I would have done to see an Iranian woman writing about sex, Spongebob, and System of a Down as a kid…yeah. That’s what keeps me going. I’m doing me, authentically, and that gives this worry less influence.
Even if I’m still working on it, I have this sense of self-assurance that is really new to me and so refreshing to feel. Friends that I haven’t seen since before the pandemic tell me I’m different, that my personality has changed, and damn, is that great to hear! I hated myself back then! I’m less willing to let others walk over me and underestimate me. I’m learning about my value and my worth, and I’m learning what I truly care about in this world. I’m learning to speak up when I spent so much of my life trying to be invisible. I’m learning to take up space. I’m Mehrnaz, the baddest Persian Princess on these streets, and I am the moment!
Well, maybe one day I’ll be the moment. I’m working on it. In the meantime, I’ll stay in my lane, healing, learning, and making a mess. I’m really going to try.