For those of you who may know me, you know that I am constantly busy. This past year I have been juggling two to three jobs while going to school full-time and trying to keep a healthy and happy relationship with my husband.
At the end of last semester, I had gained 15 pounds, felt horrible healthwise (as soon as the semester was over, I was sick for three weeks) and felt generally unhappy. Most of my life, I have felt that I needed to do more, that what I was doing wasn’t enough. Even while working three jobs and going to school, I still felt that I wasn’t doing enough, I wasn’t as good as another one of my classmates that everyone loves.
I couldn’t identify why I felt this way until recently: I don’t want to be forgotten. I did all of these things because I thought that if I didn’t do these things, people would forget me as soon as I wasn’t in front of them.
But this semester, I noticed that I still felt the same way. I was working three jobs, on the slam team and going to school full-time. But I still felt like people were forgetting about me: my classmates were always talking about someone else and the great things they were doing. This told me that I wasn’t doing enough, that I needed to do more to be remembered.
My brain started to catch up: I couldn’t do more. I could barely keep up with what I was doing right then. I came to another conclusion: people generally don’t talk about someone in front of them. I had no way of knowing if people remembered me or not. Also, people remember how other people are more than how they remember what they do.
In trying to make other people remember me, I had forgotten the most important thing: myself. I wasn’t taking into account what I wanted to do, I wasn’t taking into account what I needed or what I was capable of. Instead, I was letting all of the passing opinions of other people shape what I was supposed to do with my life.
This is no way to live. Although I am hesitant to admit it, I am doing a lot of great things. I am studying to get a degree from a prestigious school. I am working to become a published author. I have a successful and fulfilling relationship. I am a poet. I feel deeply. I love as much as I can. I am human. I am flawed. I am beautiful.
When I listen to what the forces around me, I forget all of these things. I’ve also noticed that those other classmates that everyone talks about do what they feel is right for them. They don’t move with the changing voices of the world. They stay strong and do what is important to them. And people notice that.
More importantly, people remember that.
I have cut down significantly on my outside responsibilities. I am focusing on school until I finish and I am focusing on my writing because that is who I am at my core.
I will live the way I feel is right. It’s going to take a lot of work to stop listening to all the forces around me and I know I will slip up. But remembering myself is worth the effort. And in remembering myself, maybe others will notice it too and remember me.
Maybe they’ll even start to remember themselves.