“You do you.”
Simple. Admittedly, this is (when I think about it) one of my favourite lines and a mantra to which I try to live by. “Be yourself”, it says; “trust that what you say and do is for yourself, because the only way the world will learn to accept who you are is by giving them a chance to see you as you are”. And my goodness, even if obit recently, I have started to at least do right by myself.
Given the intermittent nature of my postings, I tend to forget what I’ve already mentioned in my previous posts, so I apologise if I repeat myself; earlier in the year, a closer friend and I had travelled together for almost 2 months. Prior to departure and even during the process of planning the trip, I (more often than I am proud of) questioned whether he wanted to do this. Well, more specifically, whether I was the right person to travel with. I could go on and on about my insecurities which were amplified based on the fact that I didn’t want to tarnish our friendship based on whatever I did or didn’t do, or however I felt. And it sucks, but you know what? I’d let it get the better of me.
I’m not saying I don’t have any find memories. But rather that I’d sabotaged myself in making many, many more. I’d let anxiety and my thoughts snowball, and when it got to the bottom of that hill, I crumbled. I’d like to think that I got better after a certain point, but I guess that’s debatable.
But here’s the thing: it got worse once we got back home. Not necessarily in the same way, but we were both going home to some level of uncertainty; myself having to find a career after spending so long studying and hopefully a place to move out to soon after, and him having to sort out his own living arrangements and license (and consequently his job). Sadly, many of these and other concerns are yet to be resolved, but what made it irrefutably worse was his coping mechanism of shutting himself off, and mine of needing someone who understood the circumstances to be there within reach. Essentially, one thing had led to another; his distance made me question our friendship which was further shaken by the fact that his “lack of time and thoughts” were able to be suppressed for long enough for himself to find a girlfriend. I daresay this wound was eviscerated by how I’d found out and what little was ever done or said regarding it between us.
Since then, our friendship has been borderline non-existent, whether he’d care to admit that himself. Even though I haven’t had the courage to address this in person on the extremely rare occasion that I have managed to see him, if I did, I’d want to apologise: for my weakness, but also for how I had gone about these things. This isn’t to say I apologise for them altogether, because if there is one thing I’ll shamelessly confess, it’s that the underlying message (whether or not he knows or not) holds true for me, which is that despite the friendship we had shared, to even pretend that we are remotely close to that way now would be insulting, and that my questioning had been justified.
I have since then carried on with my life because I have to. I have wallowed in its loss and I think about it, and continue to miss him. But I have followed the you-do- you principle, and I’ve continued to work and partake in extracurriculars, and worked to keep my other friendships going. Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, he has continued with his life; I’m not in the position to say whether he is as happy as he considers himself possible (or at least as far as the elements under his control have it); I sincerely hope that he is and I regret that we’re not as we once were. But I can tell you the following: I wasn’t and am not happy with the way I was in dealing with my uneasiness, self-consciousness and insecurities both during the holiday and with the distancing of my friend. That was, technically, me doing me. And just like the next person, I continue to have habits I’m not proud of dictate so much of how I act, think and feel. Again, this is me doing me. But (in need of a better way of phrasing this) I’m not happy with that part of myself. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you-do-you is a great life philosophy of accepting others and owning yourself, but please, if the version of yourself is not the person that you want to be (at least with regards to your mental tenacity) in its entirety, don’t settle.
If there’s something within your action and right to do, say or feel to improve yourself and optimise the situation, please do it (this isn’t to say do these things impulsively). Using my friendship example, in essence, I’ve told him I’m there if he needs it and that I’d welcome the friendship if the efforts are reciprocated. But much like a lot of things in life, I can’t force my way; can’t throw a tantrum to make things happen. I’ve done what I can within my power to keep the line of communication open from my end, and have caught up and carried on with other aspects of my life.
I may not always be happy with the way things are, let alone with all of the components within my life at the same time, but I’d like to think that I’m at least on my way to fulfilling what I consider to be the you-do-you principle by doing what’s within my power to be the person I want to be and making sure I don’t give myself the chance of asking “would things be better had I said or done something?”. So, be the best version of yourself you can be and it’s okay to be afraid (not only is it naturally, but that’s how you know it matters), but don’t let the fear, anxiety or paranoia steal your opportunities.