Autobiography

Instincts

"Fire." © Matteo Paciotti, 2011. CC BY 2.0.
Fire.” © Matteo Paciotti, 2011. CC BY 2.0.
There’s a disconnect between the things I want to do and the things I think I should be doing. Expectations that I make up to project on other people. A constant disbelief doing what I care about—what makes me happy—is enough for those around me. The obvious flaw is that even if it wasn’t good enough for them, why should that matter to me? I don’t light fires in my heart to keep you warm. I do that for me. Don’t I?

I find myself regularly doing the things I think other people want me to do. Constantly hearing things that aren’t being said, picking up on cues they never meant to send. My whole life becomes wrapped up in doing what I think would make people comfortable. What would make them able to breathe easy. I can make myself satisfied in the process, yes. But it will always be only satisfactory. It’s lacking heart. 

I try to fake it, manufacture it. I try to convince myself that they must know best because I’ve obviously never known what’s good for me. Is it true, though? That I’ve never had a clue what I need to do to keep my engine running. That these assumptions I come to through other people will somehow serve me better. That I can’t trust my gut. My gut has always betrayed me.

Doubt. Even in that there’s doubt. The belief that my first instinct has never been the right one refuses to stick to anything. No matter how many times I’ve done something I hope to never do again. No matter how many times I’ve made a decision only to wish I’d made a different one. No matter how many times the waves of my choices have smashed me back into the rocks. I refuse to believe it’s because I can’t trust my gut.

No, not because I can’t, but because I don’t. It always loops back. My decision making process involves what I would like to do. That is quickly followed by what I assume other people would like to me do. Then I find some place in the middle that we can all compromise on, even if it’s not really what either party wants. Which is especially not beneficial when the two parties are me. One I’m aware of and one I don’t know is make belief.

Over and over I catch myself agreeing to all sorts of things that go against my instincts. And then I say that I can’t trust myself to do what’s right for me.

Maybe up to this point that has been true, but never for the reason I think. Not because I don’t know better. Not because I’m fickle or I don’t know what I want or what I’m trying to be. But because I constantly tell myself that my ideas are invalid. That my heart will never lead me anywhere productive. My running script is that I have no idea what I’m doing and that I can’t be trusted.

And that’s where the real problem lies. Not in an inability to know what will fulfill me, but in a refusal to believe myself when I say I do.

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