You belong here: feeling grounded even when you think you’re failing

You belong here 

The three words that were etched onto a wall as I sat on the bus back to Hoxton. Sometimes we see what we need in a simple split-second moment. I didn’t realise how much I was craving that sense of belonging or assurance. Times have been difficult recently, an underlying feeling of overwhelm has categorised and nested itself comfortably into my routine, and only now am I beginning to reassemble. 

For much of my time in London, I have felt like I have floated from one moment to the next. There’s no denial on my part, I have felt liberated by not having things mapped out and by living in a blurry haze but I can’t help feeling like I have neglected myself in the process. Spending time with others is what I need, I’m not so extraordinarily extroverted that a lack of social interaction drains me, however, I definitely think I pick company over time for solo self-reflection. A lack of personal space to figure my shit out has frankly made me feel more frazzled than when I started. I don’t think this is helped by the fact that I have a lot of time on my hands. Yes, I know I should be channeling most of my waking hours towards reading journals and crafting my unique stance on complex topics relating to the Southern Cone but sometimes (in fact often) the days don’t always pan out like that.

I hate being bitter but I can’t help feeling disappointed that I’m not in a financially stable position. You can be frustrated but also happy with what you’re doing (as oxymoronic as that sounds). There’s no way I would change what I’m doing but I would be lying if I didn’t say I envied those who have their glossy LinkedIn headlines. Meanwhile, I’m transferring money between my accounts and crying because I can’t wrap my head around a 40-page journal that hasn’t got a 6-page bibliography (reducing what I actually have to read). Even though much of my life hasn’t always been linear, it can still be a hard thing to accept. 

“Cut yourself some slack” 

This is what my mentor said to me after our last call.

As someone with clear goals, it can be hard to swallow a lack of perceived success. I don’t particularly like wallowing in my own self-pity, my mom will call me an Emperor when I do this (a reference to Emperor Kuzco in the Disney film The Emperor’s New Groove) but I also think denying yourself time to be a little whiny can make you feel worse. Everyone needs time to take stock, yesterday I had a katsu curry and watched The Women, I found out that I hadn’t progressed onto the next stage of an application and I felt jarred- so I resolved this by eating my feelings.  

Having a job is something that I both need and want but I also need to carve out time for myself where I can exist freely without having to mold myself to what others need me to be. An issue I find is that I focus so much on pleasing others that I neglect myself, a typical issue that we can find when we spread ourselves too thin. Self-prioritisation isn’t selfish. Having this time alone even if it feels alien actually makes me feel better when I’m with others because I don’t feel like I’m forcing myself to interact when I’m actually just burnt out. 

Not getting this job has made me realise that I definitely need to reorient my aims and be specific about what I’m wanting. I’ve tried so hard to attach my interests to what I think I should do that I think I’ve lost sense of what actually satisfies me. Bold as this statement may be I know for certain that I’m just ready to embrace the current uncertainty I feel until the next opportunity I go for works out.  

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