The first week of spring semester is under my belt and as much as I love school, the first week I am always a bundle of anxiety. After the first assignment when I don’t go down in a fiery ball of fail, I relax. But until then, I assume I am the worst artist in every class and the prom scene from Carrie will be re-enacted when it’s my turn to share my work with the class. I don’t let a little thing like the fact that people are generally kind during critiques get in the way of my pity parties.
Eventually I realize I am being ridiculous and burst out of my funk. The thing that always wakes me up is realizing that the only person responsible for my feelings is me. We all need cheerleaders and people who believe in us, but did you ever notice how even after a great pep talk you still don’t feel that hot? It’s because even our greatest cheerleaders can’t read minds. They don’t know exactly what to say to pull us out of that self-pitying or negative mindset. You are the only one who knows exactly what words will work their magic to get you moving again.
If you use other people, your back account, your scale, your boy or girlfriend, or whatever as the barometer for your feelings (“My mom says I’m cool/I’ve got a gajillion in savings/I lost 6 pounds/He loves me today, etc.”) you will never be satisfied or happy. Those things only have meaning because we choose to give them meaning. You don’t get that giggly, butterflies-in-the-stomach feelings because the cute guy at Starbuck’s flirted with you. You get that giggly, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling because you assigned that feeling to that event. If he wasn’t cute you may be repulsed or embarrassed. My point is we can choose happiness or whatever feeling we want. Yes, crappy things happen, but we don’t have wallow there.
As Carol King sings, “You’re gonna find, yes you will/ That you’re beautiful as you feel.”
Now, someone please remind me of this post when I freak out again the first week next semester.