April Awakening: Day 6
When I was a kid, I used to suck my fingers. There’s a photo of me and my two cousins all sitting together, sucking our respective fingers in the exact same manner. It was just my self-pacifying gesture. My ring and middle finger would go in my mouth, index finger up my nose, my other hand grabbing at my ear. I don’t know when I picked up this habit, but I did it for years. It threw my teeth out of whack, which is why I needed braces between sixth and eighth grade. Obviously I stopped doing it, and if you were to ask my mom, she’d tell you I broke the habit overnight. But I don’t remember it quite like that. It took me multiple tries to stop. We tried everything from putting band-aids on my fingers, to slathering them in vanilla extract, to even bribing me to stop. Then one day, the habit just broke, and I never looked back. But for some reason, I feel as though my habit breaking isn’t valid because it took me so long to make happen.
It’s like with smoking cigarettes. This August will mark seven years since I last had one. But so what? You don’t think I tried to quit a million times before that? Sure, I finally did it “overnight” so to speak, but what about all my failures before that? I went long stretches without one, only to “try” a smoke and buy more the next day. I’d stop buying $14 packs in New York City, then end up rolling my own cigarettes, then get those thin “girl” ones before graduating back to my Camel Turkish Gold. It was a vicious cycle until it wasn’t. I eventually made the right choice for my health, but shouldn’t there be at least some kind of acknowledgement of just how shit I am at trying?
I’m not sure why it feels like to me that everyone else are the perfect ones who get it right on the first go around. That can’t possibly be true. Just because they’re successful doesn’t mean that road wasn’t paved with hardships. But something keeps me feeling like all my efforts mean nothing because they weren’t done right the first time. I’d rather see myself as a failure because it makes it easier to digest these feeling of unsatisfaction and disappointment. This is something I sincerely need to let go. I can acknowledge the missteps an character building moments, but I don’t need to live with them as the norm. As my dad always says, there was only one perfect person and they crucified him. The mistakes and failures are what makes us human. Is expecting perfection the thing holding me back from whatever it is I’m meant to do?
Someone once messaged me after a long stretch of not speaking, “Where do we keep going wrong?” they asked. I suppose if I had been brave enough to really say what I was feeling, we could have gotten it right one of those times. Guess I’ll have to wait for another life in order to try again.