You Versus You

You know that saying that says the only competition you have is versus yourself? That you shouldn’t compare yourself to others? That’s advice we all got since we were young. Even though, ironically, from the day we are born we’re being compared to others. But when does the comparisons and competition stop? How do we expect to not juxtapose ourselves to those around us when it’s all we know how to do?

Even as a baby, we were all constantly being checked up on to see if we reach the benchmarks to tell our parents what’s “normal” and what’s not – how much we weighed, how tall we were, what age we started to talk, walk, and so forth. Our growth and development was being compared to babies similar in age. That’s how they determined what was common and uncommon for that age group. It’s what’s expected the first couple of years of our lives. Of course, these benchmarks are put in place to help the child. It also helps doctors and parents detect if their little one need extra care / attention for any reason. It’s necessary to ensure the child’s development is on track.

The comparing continues into our early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescent years. Are we performing well academically, are we meeting the standards for our age, are we on track to success? A lot of these benchmarks are set up for the youth, who will later be young adults, to succeed. So don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why comparisons are necessary for important things like education, health, and a person’s well being. As a parent, teacher, and caregiver, you want to make sure that you are doing your part so your child doesn’t fall behind.

But we all know that competition and comparisons don’t just end at the necessary benchmarks to ensure a person’s welfare. Growing up, you could’ve gotten compared to your siblings, family friend’s kids, cousins, other classmates, and other peers. The competition and comparisons are not just limited to education and health. Appearance based comparisons, athletic comparisons, grade comparisons, having your weaknesses pointed out in parallel to someone else’s accomplishments, financial competition, and sometimes even just personal biases, could’ve been put on your shoulders at a young age. It instills the belief that we need to do better, be better, and always be the one in favor.

On the bright side, comparing ourselves or being compared to others can act as motivation to better ourselves and our current situation. As the cringe saying goes, “Let the haters be your motivators.” We try to push ourselves to reach our maximum potential, and sometimes, it takes seeing your peers putting in work and being successful to give you that push. Having someone compare you to someone else can fuel you to prove them wrong. For some, hearing someone tell them they can’t do something is all the motivation they need to give their all and make it happen.

Yes, comparisons and competition can have its pros, but it can also have its cons. When you grow up to believe that everyone is competition, you will constantly think that what you’re doing or where you’re at in life is never good enough. It’s the toxic motivation that will fuel you, but also destroy you. If you’re constantly using others to power your drive, you’re no longer doing it for yourself. You’ll look back and realize that your motives were charged by negative feelings that someone else instilled in you. And when you let negativity steer you in life, you’ll always be left unsatisfied.

I feel the focus of our competition changes as we maneuver through life’s many stages. For example, if you’re a child, it could be who’s the best runner, the best in a subject, who gets the best grades. When we’re teens, the competition seems to focus around outer appearance – competition between who is more attractive, who wears the nicest clothes, who’s the best in a sport, who is academically rising above the standard. Though what we’re comparing to others changes, the fact of the matter is: we go through our whole lives comparing and competing to be better than our peers and those around us.

But since we are taught to compare ourselves to others at such a young age, it only makes sense that everyone eventually compares themselves in other aspects of life as well. And I know that there will be some people that will try to flex and say that they have never compared themselves or felt like certain aspects of their lives were a competition. However, we all can agree that who ever claims that is 100% full of shit. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, as it’s something we all do. What’s important is how we outgrow the notion that everyone and life is a competition.

As I reached my young adulthood into the present, I started to see a shift in what things I thought was a competition. I knew my ass was full on adulting when who was prettier than me, skinnier than me, or had a nicer ass than me didn’t really get my insecurities jumping anymore. It was when I started keeping mental notes about who was successful in their career already, who was making moves and going for their dreams, who was on the road to becoming financially stable and well that had me realize I’m entering new competition territory.

Especially since we live in the age of social media, where everything is posted about, celebrated, and in our face, it’s hard to ignore. How do we expect ourselves to mind our own business, only worry about ourselves, and stay in our own lane when we’re literally addicted to platforms that are meant to share and show off? It’s crazy how different accounts and people we know can trigger different insecurities: our appearance, our health, our weight, where we live, what level of education you have, your stability, your job, your relationship, your relationship with your family, how happy you are, how confident you seem, the list goes on and fuckin on.

I fell victim to the endless comparisons that led me to constantly feel shitty about myself. I would genuinely feel happy for my peers when they posted accomplishments, great news, posted a new job, etc., so it’s not like I would be hating. However, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t reflect on my own accomplishments and where I was at in my life. You can’t help but look at yourself and make it about you – we’re human, we be selfish like that.

I feel like my view on comparing myself and my life to others I know in real life and on social media changed after I graduated college. I was on cloud 9 after I graduated, but if you read and keep up with my blog, you’ll know that that feeling was very short lived. My greatest accomplishment was graduating college. But after I graduated I got the post-grad blues hard. I was very quiet about my real feelings post-grad. If someone was wondering how I was doing just by looking through my social media, they’d probably think that I was living my best life because I earned my degree.

Clearly that was not the case. I was struggling to figure out what direction to take my life post-graduation. Prior to graduation, it already dawned on me that social media is fake as fuck, people only post what they want you to see, you’ll never see the bigger picture, and everyone – regardless of how hard you try not to – try to uphold a certain image of ourselves from what we post. That was old news to me, and I had even spent my whole writing career on the magazine focusing on those topics. That was my niche. And my post-grad confusion helped confirm those theories that I already knew to be true.

Post-graduation made me realize that everyone is just trying to find their own way – regardless of how happy you seem to be on social media. And maybe that happiness projected onto social media platforms are genuine happiness, but there will always be something someone is working through, working on, or thinking about. I saw people I graduated with go down a completely different route than me. Some went the traditional route, some went into something completely different entirely, some worked on independent projects, some are still figuring it out – and that’s okay. We are all simply trying to see what works for us. There is not just 1 path to success.

I guess what also helped me not compare myself to others is simply being confident in my choices. It sounds easy to do, but for me, being confident in what decisions I chose to take post-graduation was a challenge. I was so hesitant and afraid that I would be making the wrong move for my future, and truly couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with myself. In those moments, I did nothing and stayed stagnant. But there is definitely beauty in the struggle. In fact, that’s part of the reason why this blog was revived. I didn’t know what the fuck to do with my life, and it was getting overwhelming. I was over thinking it so hard that I started to get frustrated that my lack of confidence in my decisions had my life at a complete standstill.

I figured that reviving my blog and posting consistently is a small big step that I could do for nobody else but myself. And I’m grateful I did. A lot of decisions had to be made post-graduation, and I was tired of living in fear. I figured a wrong decision is better than no decision. I couldn’t just wait for shit to fall in my lap, because it wouldn’t, shit doesn’t work like that. I had to get the ball rolling to see results, and if it’s the wrong decision, then so be it. My road to success is my journey alone, no one else’s.

We’re all on our own journey. No two experiences are the same. What works for someone else may not work for another. Or it may work, but it’s not what you want. Everyone has their own preferences and own personal road blocks. It’s hard to retrain your brain to not see others as competition since it’s what’s innate for us to do. You can try to compare your reality to someone else’s, but you’ll never really know first hand all the work, dedication, and complications it took to get to that point.

In reality, your biggest competition is yourself. Whether that be silencing the self-doubt, trying to find inner-motivation to get what you want, or forcing yourself to do the small steps. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy and #1 hater. Especially when you’re wasting your time comparing yourself to others. Yes, wasting time. It’s pointless to dwell on others and their accomplishments because they’re not you. No matter what, at the end of the day only you can change and direct your future. Nobody is going to come around and change your mindset, hand you opportunities, or do the work for you. So the sooner you realize that comparisons are the thief of joy is best. It’ll always be you vs. you.

When you realize that you are in competition with no one, that’s when you’ll start to flourish mentally. There’s no room for jealousy when you’re doing your own thing. And jealousy is such a consuming ugly feeling. It only breeds more negativity and self-hate. When you come to terms with the fact that everyone is just trying to figure it all out regardless of how successful they come off to be, you’ll see that everyone is working through their own forks in the road. And with that being said, instead of being your worst enemy, attempt to be your biggest cheerleader. It can be hard when all you know is negative self-talk, but negative self-talk will literally get you nowhere.

Understanding that no one’s life is picture perfect is such a humbling realization. It gives you the opportunity to allow yourself to just focus on you without pressure to out do anyone else. Because I’m focusing on myself, I am genuinely happy for those around me that are making it happen for themselves. I love seeing my friends, family, acquaintances, and even people I follow on social media that I don’t even know in real life, be successful. It’s an amazing feeling seeing other people go and get theirs, especially when it’s people close to me. Because I know first hand the personal struggle that goes into making your dream a reality.

I once knew a person that was so insecure that they thought everyone else’s accomplishment magnified their own lack of achievement. When it was time to clap for their friends’ success, they did so with bitterness in their heart. That’s something I never got – people being genuinely salty and offended when someone accomplishes something that they worked hard for. People that hype you can also be disguised as jealous haters. Haters not only hate you for getting / achieving what they want, but they also hate themselves for not making it happen.

We are all at different stages of life. Life isn’t a competition, even though it may feel like that sometimes. Your only competition is yourself. Only you will get in the way of your own success. Be happy for those that are finding genuine happiness in their own path. Clap for others when it is their turn, because your turn is coming up.

Trixi: My Post-Bodybuilding Journey to Intuitive Eating

Story 4 of 10. This Body Positivity series is a project I hold dear to my heart. For years, I’ve struggled with my body image, and since reviving this blog, LoveYourzStory, I’ve shared so many of my personal stories, internal battles, and insecurities. This time, I wanted to hear your stories. I took to social media and found 9 individuals who were willing to share their body positive journey with not only me, but my readers as well. I collaborated with two Bay Area photographers, Missdirected (Instagram: @missdirected.art) to photograph these amazing people. Missdirected did not photoshop / alter any of the models’ faces or bodies. These stories are entirely written by them and in their own words, because after all, who can tell their story better than them?” -Marinelle Cabillo, LoveYourzStory

This is Trixi’s story, written in her own words:

“Growing up in a stereotypical Asian household, I was expected to be above average. I had to be better than the best. I always felt like I had to give 110% percent to prove that I am worthy. Anything less than perfect made me feel like a failure. I meticulously planned and created lists to make sure I got into a good college, and secure a job after. I took the advanced classes, became board members for clubs, and made myself look like the best candidate in writing. The last thing I wanted was for my parents to think I was slacking. 

So ever since I can remember, self-doubt loomed over me like a dark cloud. I always had negative thoughts in my head telling me I couldn’t achieve anything even if I tried my best. After graduating college, I expected the negative thoughts would die down, but they continued to weigh down on me. Regardless of what I achieved, I still felt like I didn’t accomplish enough. 

Then, I decided I was over it!!! To overcome my insecurities and prove to myself I was capable, I decided that I would complete a challenge soo hard that if I achieved it, it would immediately squash all the negative notions I had about myself. This was the very first challenge I took on for me, and not anyone else. I was so used to performing to meet the expectations of others, but this is something that I wanted to do for myself. 

Disclaimer: We are not defined by our achievements! We are all inherently worthy. But, I didn’t know that then. lol So in June 2019, I signed up to compete in my very first bikini bodybuilding competition…and this is where the plot thickens: what I initially thought was simply a test to boost my self-esteem turned out to be the beginning of my body positivity journey and healing my relationship with food.

For 6 months, I followed a strict meal plan and training regimen. I completely cut out sugar and dairy (two of my fave things), I drank 1.5 gallons of water a day (which was already a challenge in and of itself) and gosh, I said no to pad thai more times than I can count, and I fucking love pad thai. Training included fasted cardio in the morning, about 2 hours of training in the evening, followed by 30 mins of post-training cardio. In addition to changing my physical activity and nutrition habits, I had to learn to better manage my money (cause bodybuilding ain’t cheap) and my time to juggle a full time job and somewhat have a social life.

I took it day by day. I showed up and eventually these tasks became habits. I began to see myself as an athlete and I started to believe that I could really win this competition. There were a lot of temptations (food, drinking, sleeping in). Executing the plan wasn’t easy, but making the right decision was simple. I know that most may have difficulty with following very strict rules but having a plan and checking off boxes was what I was used to. I had the mentality of “If I want this, then I have to do that”. And if I don’t, I won’t get it. This time, the goal was to win, and all I had to do was to execute the clear-cut plan that was given to me.

November rolled around and it was finally competition day. I placed 1st in True Novice, 2nd in Novice, and 4th in Open. But regardless of my placing, I already felt like a winner. I proved to myself that I was strong, I can show up no matter what, no excuses. Even before I hit the stage, I was so proud of what I accomplished. I didn’t even care if I didn’t win or not. No judge could have told me that I didn’t bust my ass to get here! While bodybuilding helped me gain confidence, it also brought to light my complicated relationship with food.

After my competition, my training and meal plan became more flexible. But this flexibility really threw me off. When I stuck with my meal plan, I wondered if I was being too strict, and not giving myself time to enjoy food. When I did enjoy food, I wondered if I was letting myself go. I fell in a loop. My mind would switch between “Follow your meal plan or else you’ll gain weight too quickly” then restrict myself from eating anything “bad”. But then I would think, “Enjoy some treats! Live your life!” and I would binge. I would eat and eat, waiting for my stomach to tell me that I was full, but it felt like my stomach was a bottomless pit that was impossible to satiate. I was waiting for my brain to tell me, “ok that’s enough,” but it never came.

This battle led me to explore my eating habits growing up. When my family went to restaurants, we would always order like an insane amount of food and get absolutely stuffed! Even when we were so full that we could barely breathe, we always made room for dessert. “Food is nourishment!” they justified. But rather than focusing on nutrition, food was mainly for comfort and celebration. Even when my body told me to stop eating, I ignored all satiety signals to continue celebrating. So even before bodybuilding, my satiety cues were practically nonexistent.

The cycle went on for two months. Restrict and binge. Restrict and binge. Restrict harder, binger harder. I looked in the mirror and saw I was no longer lean. Looking back, I didn’t gain much weight but at the time I hated what I saw. I felt big, I felt out of control. Mentally, I was slipping.

I knew this eating pattern was unhealthy but I felt like I couldn’t get out of it. It got to a point where I no longer trusted myself; the body that once triumphed on stage was now failing me. It felt like my body was hijacked by something else, and I was stuck in this vessel, just watching myself derail. Naturally, the scale started to go up and I felt like I was gaining weight all wrong. I spent so much time looking at myself in the mirror and criticizing myself. Front angle, side angle. I would hold and pinch my fat, wishing I was lean again because lean meant I embodied discipline and hard work. It meant that my behavior aligned with my goals. Back then, the goal was to get lean to win a competition. Now, the goal was to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle, but I had no clue what that meant! It isn’t so straightforward. There is no clear-cut plan for that.

People began to notice that I refused to eat and drink anything that wasn’t outside my meal plan. Comments like “Just one bite won’t hurt!” and “It’s only one shot” really bothered me, because at the time, I felt like one bite or one shot can really ruin my body. Following my meal plan gave me a false sense of security, and I didn’t know how to transition out of it post-competition. 

Christmas was my all-time favorite holiday, but that year, I dreaded it. Thinking about all the food that will be at parties gave me so much anxiety. And just my luck, that year, our annual Christmas potluck was held at my apartment. Even at my own party, I was so scared to eat the “wrong” thing. I felt overwhelmed and paralyzed, but on the outside, I pretended I was okay with not eating or drinking anything. I tied so much of my identity to being disciplined and put together that I was terrified my friends would find out the confident athlete they saw on stage just a few months ago wasn’t there anymore.

That night, I eventually caved. I started to eat, and again, I couldn’t stop. By the end of the night, I felt so uncomfortable that I went to my room to change to less fitting clothes. When I took off my shirt and saw how bloated I was, the self-loathe set in and I started to cry. Never in a million years did I think I would develop body dysmorphia. I was 10lb up my stage weight which actually put me in a healthier weight, but in my eyes, I gained too much. I hated myself for being out of control and I hated myself for having such a fucked-up relationship with food. I felt disconnected with myself and with others. I felt alone and overall a fucking mess.

My friends saw me breakdown. “I didn’t want you guys to judge me.” I admitted shamefully. But as one of my friends put it, “The people who love you will always be there for you unconditionally, and the people who do judge don’t matter.” Seeing my friends concerned was my wake up call.

After that night, I decided it was time to heal my relationship with food. The first step I took was to destigmatize foods as being either “good” or “bad.” I learned that restricting myself was just as harmful as indulging which often led me to binge. Opening myself to all foods lifted constraining thoughts. After this shift in mindset, I felt liberated and empowered to trust myself again.

Next, I adjusted my eating habits to not only be healthy but also sustainable. Fitness is a huge part of my life and to improve my performance, I need to fuel my body properly. At the same time, I love to hang out with friends over drinks, and eat with my family at the dinner table. Finding balance was a whole lot of trial and error. Eventually I learned I feel my best when I eat nutritious foods about 80% of the time. I meal prep most of my food and occasionally I use Door Dash (aka my best friend during quarantine). This may not work for everyone. It is completely subjective and depends on your own goals and lifestyle. 

Lastly, I evaluated and reset my intentions. I learned that my beliefs around food were rooted in self-loathe and punishment. I felt like I had to be perfect all the time or else my efforts didn’t count. It was an all-or-nothing mentality. Now, I see it as a journey of self-discovery. I know that I am going to slip up occasionally, and that’s okay! I have learned to respect my body and to love myself no matter what stage I’m in. If I am making an effort to honor my body, I know I am on the right path.

Despite the mental roller coaster that bodybuilding put me through, I would still compete again. I came in with the intention to build trust in myself, and looking back, it taught me to do just that and more. Next time around, I won’t be competing to prove I am enough, but simply for the fun of improving in this sport. I’ll be coming back with a better mindset, and a healthier relationship with food. It’s been a year and a half since my competition, and I am just now feeling comfortable with my eating habits and my ever changing appearance. While my relationship with food is a work in progress, I am really proud of how far I’ve come.” -Trixi

In the Eyes of the Beholder

I’ve always stressed the importance of being media and social media fluent. If you keep up with my writing, you will notice that the topics I cover somehow come back to social media and comparisons, and how we intake and perceive media.

With me, social media is either a good thing or a bad thing, no inbetween. It’s either I’m inspired and motivated, drawing information and shared beliefs from pages I follow and educating myself, or down the rabbit hole I go. Everyone knows exactly what I mean. The rabbit hole of comparisons and insecurities. All of a sudden you’re questioning your successes in life because you came across a certain page on your explore, and then you read through the comments, and stalked her life, her friend’s life, shit you even found her mama’s page through the tags. And then you realize, wow, I don’t even know these people. And they literally don’t even know who I am 🤣 But everytime I go down that route, I have to remind myself that this is social media. It’s so fucking curated and sometimes – let’s all admit it – fake as fuck. Said this before and I’ll say it again – people only post what they want you to see.

Before I started posting on my blog consistently, I considered myself a pretty low-key person. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been on social media. But I think compared to the average user, I was more private with my life. Yeah, I’d post here and there, once or twice a month, if not more, but I really feel like what I posted was nowhere close to disclosing parts of my real life to everyone. Even with stories on Instagram, I was never one to post about my daily life. I’m more of a “I’ll give you lil snippets here and there,” type of person. Of course, I’m not knocking the people that DO post all about their lives. I honestly can care less how you choose to use your social media platforms. It is truly none of my business. But I choose to keep my personal life under wraps. And it’s not until now that I’m posting my personal struggles on my blog that people see through the window of what I’m really like. And even then you still 100 ft. from said window, just sayin’.

I’m very choosy with what I choose to share and open up about, especially since this is with the public. It’s so weird that I want to live a low-key life, but at the same time I want to share everything to break societal norms. I hit a point in my life where I’m like… dude, fuck all this fake curated bullshit, show me something real, talk about some real deep shit, open up about those emo ass struggles we all face as humans. I was tired of seeing airbrushed, fake it till you make it, artificial ‘I’m livin’ my best life,’ type of content. So I started speaking my truth through my writing and journalistic work.

And at this point, I think we all know I’m not gonna front like I got my whole life made. Clearly, I’m so confused about my life and career decisions that I made how many blog posts about it just to vent. And to be honest, I’m probably not done writing about my anxieties yet.

Before I started posting consistently every week, I would occasionally post on my Instagram a blog post or article I wrote for SFSU’s Xpress Magazine. And that would seriously be like once every 2 months or something. Especially if it wasn’t for Xpress Magazine, and it was just me writing a personal blog post that was totally not school related, that shit would be like 1 post every 3+ months, if not longer.

I made this blog for school in 2016. At the beginning of 2019 I think I had like…. 33 or 34 posts. Maybe even less. More than half of those posts were blog posts I HAD to write for class / assignments / articles I wrote throughout my Journalism degree and thought, if I wrote it, might as well share it! Maybe less than 10 of those 33 ish posts were written ONLY for my blog and because I wanted to and felt like it.

So just picture how shocked and confused I was when this happened…

About 2-ish months after I officially graduated in December, I made plans to hangout with an old friend I’ve known since I was about 9 or 10 years old. Michael and I haven’t seen each other since our 8th grade graduation back in 2009, and briefly talked during our school reunion a year later when we were all freshmen in high school in 2010. So it was literally 10 years since the last time we saw each other and really caught up.

I didn’t know what to expect. Of course I was excited to hangout with him since we were super tight during our cringy years, but so much time had passed I didn’t know how it would be. But when I saw him, he started telling me about how he’s a crazy party animal, stories of how his life has been since being openly gay, and all the crazy shit he gets himself into! I was truly entertained with everything he was telling me. But rewind, before he disclosed all this information to me, we had to break the ice.

“Dude, so how are you! What’ve you been up to?” I asked.

Michael looked down in a shy manner, leaning on his hand, his elbow on the table.

“I don’t even want to say,” he said. “Nothing compared to what you’re doing. You’re so successful.”

My eyebrow rose in confusion. In my head I was like…. bruh…. I ain’t doin shit what’re you even talking about? 😩

I asked him to elaborate. He told me that he sees me doing “big things” with my blog, I just graduated college, and it seemed like I was very successful.

I almost choked on my Wingstop. I told him how insecure I was about my writing and making things public, how my life is in shambles after graduation because I don’t know what route to take with my life, and how overall confused I was.It really shocked me that he said that. Because he totally saw me in a different light than how I saw myself.

I visited my old journalism professor, Nancy, a few months after and told her about this incident. She pointed out that isn’t it crazy that I could be idolizing someone and comparing my life, but not even knowing that someone could be looking at me in the same light, even though I don’t feel that way about myself. Nancy explained to me that there will always be someone “ahead”of you and there will always be someone “behind” you, we’re all basically trying to make it at different paces. But that doesn’t mean that we are failures if someone is more ahead of us, and that also doesn’t make us more successful if we are the ones more ahead.

It made me realize that the people we think have it all together, probably don’t. In the example of me and Michael, he seriously thought I was so successful and secure in myself, when it was legit the opposite. Yes, I’ve made accomplishments in my life like graduating, and pursuing my writing career, but in my eyes, I’m far from where I want to be. But in the eyes of an outsider, without much context, it seems like I got my life figured out.

I think that’s why I respect Lizzo so much. She’s so successful, her career is flourishing, but she still remains transparent. She posts videos of when she’s depressed, and I think that’s very important to share your successes, but also your struggles. Especially being a famous person who people look up to, she promotes being real. She shows her human side, regardless of how much fame she receives.

A few days before the SFSU graduation ceremony, I met up with my friend, Ivan, to give him my extra Oracle Park graduation ticket. I originally was trying to sell the 2 extra tickets I had, but ended up giving both of them for free. “Fuckit, good karma coming my way,” I thought. In exchange for the graduation ticket, Ivan dropped me off to the crafting store, Michael’s, so I could get some last minute things for my graduation cap. And honestly, good karma did come my way because that drive with Ivan was exactly what my heart needed!

I’ve known Ivan since Skyline College. We are the definition of “started from the bottom now we hereee.” He’s like that gay best friend that always tries to hype you and remind you that you’re that bitch! And that’s exactly what he did during our drive to the craft store.

He could tell by the way I was venting that I was stressed. To the point where he was like “girl, we need to hangout, I could tell you’re really stressed out about this and need to talk!” Of course it was about the future and career choices.

Ivan reminded me who the fuck I was and what the fuck I stand for. It warmed my heart that he told me after all these years he still kept up with my writing. To the point where he described a specific story I did. A true king. I told him how scared I was about not making it in the industry, and how it’s hard to be a successful writer.

“Boo, you got this though,” he said. “You know what, I know you’ll make it. You’ve always been motivated. I have no doubt in my mind you’ll make it! You got the passion! I know you!”

I told him I do have the passion, and I do want to make a difference in this world with my writing. But I voiced my concerns about hoping that my passions can pay future bills. I told him I want to find a way or a middle ground where my passions and career collide and I can make decent money to live comfortably.

“Omg, yeah. That’s what sucks about being a humanitarian. You got passion and you want to make a difference, but you don’t get paid for shit.” And if that ain’t the fuckin truth 🤣🤣🤣.

But both of these conversations made me realize that we all come down on ourselves pretty hard. We’re always worried about the next job, next opportunity, next move, that we don’t celebrate the little victories. Also, you could be that someone that somebody else is stalking thinking, “damn, I wish I dressed / look like/ was as successful/ as confident/ as open/ as cool as them,” all the while you’re thinking you’re a failure and you ain’t shit. And social media plays a big role in that. Like I said a billion times before, people post their successes, but nobody really talks about the waves of emotion that comes with success. The person you are looking up to is probably going through it too. Whether they are famous or not.

We are all at different stages in our lives. What may be a major success to someone is something minor to the next. If you find yourself falling down that toxic rabbit hole and you’re comparing yourself and feeling mad insecure, just know that everyone is struggling in one way or another. Nobody truly has their life together. You’ll also never really know everything about someone just through their social media platforms. We’re all human. We all go through it. In reality, we all want to be perceived as successful and that we have our lives together. But it’s okay if you don’t. Success is truly in the eyes of the beholder.