June has been an interesting month for me. I disconnected myself from my entire roster of social media apps; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat, etc. I have been reading a book called “Be Free Where You Are” by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh from which I have realized social media in a sense has held me captive for quite some time.
In his book he speaks of mindfulness, and one thing he suggests is when we walk we should do so mindfully. By focusing on each step, we are more aware of our self and our surroundings. Before my detox, I was so focused on my phone that I would walk everywhere from point A to point B with my head down staring at the screen. I was never aware of anything else around me.
I’ve learned that when I walk mindfully, I also walk more confidently. When I walk with purpose I am immediately more aware of each step and the growth I have made between each one.
My goal is to constantly improve myself. I’m not critical of myself and don’t have unrealistic or unhealthy expectations, but I am always trying to change the things that I can that will make my life better. I began with my mentality.
I have become a happier person over the last few years. I realized this about myself a few months ago when I had to deal with my first really big disappointment in a very long while. Happiness isn’t a constant state of mind. You can’t control the factors that constantly affect your happiness, but you can control the effects you let them have on you.
I am always reminding myself that no matter what happens, I am still alive. I am free. I have a nice life in a great city with amazing friends and a family who loves me. I am at the beginning of a very long and hopefully, prosperous career. Maybe I’ve stumbled along the way. I’ve certainly made decisions that I haven’t always been proud of, but have learned from them – and eventually, somehow they led me here.
After staying with me for eleven days, my little brother flew back to Tennessee this morning. He’s fourteen, and it’s only the second time he has ever flown. He’s even doing it by himself. The way he projects an air of bravery when he is terrified reminds me so much of myself. I want to tell him that he doesn’t have to carry that chip on his shoulder. That it’s okay to be afraid sometimes.
I want him to know it’s also all right to be unapologetically happy. Rarely will your happiness come at the expense of someone else’s, but if being happy requires being selfish – you should do just that.
I thought that the next few weeks were going to be very difficult for me. A few months ago I reconnected with a woman who I thought I had found something really special with. She decided to move to California and wanted to explore our relationship. Against my better judgment, I began to fall for her – and then she disappeared the same way she had so many years before. I would be lying if I said that it surprised me…
She was supposed to arrive in LA next Thursday. Instead, now she is somewhere in the Midwest, pregnant with her ex-boyfriends baby, and I am here in Los Angeles trying to convince myself that I dodged a bullet.
I miss her. Still, I have no other choice but to carry on with my life. Now, my best friends will be flying in Thursday night instead. I’ll pick them up at the airport that night and they’ll stay through Sunday. Best Friends… they just know when they’re needed.
is a writer, artist and human/animal rights activist based in Echo Park- Los Angeles, CA. The Stephens College graduate loves poetry, camping with her rowdy friends and tequila of many varieties.