I love to learn. All kinds of things- about programming languages (Python, lately), and about video games, and new languages (Spanish and Hawaiian right now), and anthropology and history and the names of trees (most recently learned about monkeypod and rainbow shower trees)… And everything in between.
I want to learn yoga and surfing and scuba diving. I want to learn how to dance and sing and I want to conquer mountains.
And right now, I’m embarking on the adventure of learning the violin. Really learning the violin. I love music. I love, love, love music. And I want to learn how to play music!
This video shows a little bit of the things that go through my head when I’m playing. Especially if other people can hear me.
This isn’t even the worst of it. I struggle. I have PTSD (although I always say “I’m fantastical! whenever anyone asks how I am, no matter how I actually am). And I struggle with a lot of things. Anxiety and panic and flashbacks and nightmares and… I hate it. I don’t want to be that person that’s so haunted by all this negativity.
And low self-esteem, feeling worthless, hating myself. That’s something I am fighting to overcome.
It isn’t just with violin, but with anything I do or try, or when I’m around other people. I’m always struggling. In my mind I’m thinking:
I’m worthless. Why am I playing? I sound awful. Why would I post a picture or a video of myself? I’m ugly. I’m fat. I’m disgusting.
I look awful, and I sound terrible. I should give up. I should just quit. I’m worthless.
I can’t play the violin.
And I can’t yet. That’s what learning is all about. No one begins as an expert. Make mistakes, play horribly, sound terrible, and have fun!
But it isn’t just with violin. When I’m around other people, coworkers or friends, or anyone really.
And I have to fight that every day. When people ask me, “How are you?” I give them a bright happy smile and exclaim, “I’m fantastical!!!”
I try to fight the bad things with positive energy. I want to be fantastical. And I am a happy person most of the time. And instead of focusing on what other people think of me, I can focus on being a positive force in the world.
So whenever my brain is like:
I’m worthless. Everyone hates me. I don’t deserve to even breathe the same air as these people. I don’t deserve to be alive.
I just try to chase those thoughts away. And it’s hard for me to think positively about myself, so instead I think:
How can I treat everyone with compassion? How can I bring joy to the people around me?
Because it doesn’t matter if I’m worthless. If I’m letting that negative thought have power over me, and letting the bad things from my past define me, then I’m channeling that negativity into the world. And I refuse to let the bad things win.
So instead, I focus on positivity! And being fantastical! And having compassion. And trying my best to bring joy and happiness and cheer to everyone around me.
Everyone has scars. And you can let those scars define you, or you can fight the sadness or fear with positivity and compassion. Be a positive force in this world! And if you can’t be positive for yourself, be positive to help other people. Making the world a happier and more compassionate place is all of our responsibility. (Or, our kuleana, the Hawaiian word for responsibility.)
Have a fantastical day!