For the past 24 hours I’ve seriously been considering leaving Remote Year. I know, I know, I just got here. No, I’m not homesick. No, something bad didn’t happen. No, it’s not the travel (I’d just travel on my own actually). It’s me. As in…I’m still me. Unfortunately.
I wasn’t naive enough to think that there would be a magic wand in Spain to turn me into an improved version as soon as I stepped off the plane…but last night while chatting with all the new people in my life I realized that everything I was insecure about in Memphis is magnified here tenfold.
It all started when the loveliest, sweetest man called me voluptuous and I freaked out. He meant it as a compliment but in my head I heard fat. That’s my insecurity. And I need to take ownership of it. If I want to change how I look, I actually need to do something about it.
And that goes for everything in my life. I rolled my eyes when people repeatedly asked what I was searching for with this trip or inquired what I was running away from…and it dawned on me last night that this entire time I’ve been running away from me.
There is an Elizabeth Gilbert quote I love that says, “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.”
Well, I’m finally tired of my own bullshit and it is time to do something about it. I have always been accountable when it comes to work or friends…but never for myself. This has left me desperately needing some TLC and feeling like a shadow of a person.
That cliche that you have to do something you’ve never done in order to get something you’ve never had is true and applicable so I’ve come up with a few goals to hold me accountable for the year.
1. Finish my book and give it to Waheed
My dear friend is an extremely talented writer, director, and producer. He’s also been asking me to give him my finished book for over a year. It’s coming to you by the end of 2016.
2. Send photos to Alex in every city for her fashion blog
Alex is one of my favorite people on earth and my biggest girl crush. I want to be her when I grow up…even though I’m older. I’ve flaked in the past mostly because I didn’t feel worthy of collaborating on her blog. Which brings me to…
3. Follow through on all promises
Most people would agree that I do what I say…except when it would somehow benefit me. I feel unworthy and shy but that has to stop.
4. Finish my master’s in journalism
Still working on that thesis four years later…
5. Lose 2 dress sizes
I don’t want to hate candid photos of me anymore, refuse to be in a swimsuit without a sarong to cover my thighs or delete photos of me off my friends’ phones. I’m tired of popping my arm out to look leaner…I want to be lean. I guess that means exercising and not eating whatever I want…bummer.
I need to see this vision and passion project through. No excuses.
7. Fluent in Spanish
I’m already in classes and love it. But I pledge to study every day for at least 30 minutes.
8. Be comfortable by myself, accept that I may never find “The One,” and stop dating/crushing on complete jackasses
The hardest without question. I so identify with Before Sunrise when Julie Delpy says, “I always feel this pressure of being a strong and independent icon of womanhood, and without making it look my whole life is revolving around some guy. But loving someone, and being loved means so much to me. We always make fun of it and stuff. But isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?”
I honestly don’t know how I’m 31 and still single but this trip was to make me happy and finally do something for me so I’m going to focus on that. So often I pick the guy who makes me feel like crap about myself or minimizes my feelings…oh wait, maybe that’s why I’m still single…
9. Mark as many things off my bucket list as possible
So you’re probably asking why would I leave a program with 70 amazing, talented, interesting people? Well, it’s a bit difficult to focus on a self-improvement journey when you’re constantly comparing yourself to said amazing, talented, and interesting people.
But I did just pledge to follow through on my promises so…I guess I’m staying.
Photographs: Valencia, Spain ©Joelle Pittman