Being comfortable with myself is something that has been difficult for me. It effects my ability to be confident in my appearance, to take pride in the work that I do, to be secure with the relationships that I have forged, etc. But this is something I’m learning how to deal with.
I am a member of a youth activist organization with a set ideology, education platform, and actualization process. The first two years since I stopped being a kid in the eyes of a movement, but a leader, I was driven but lost. I did the work that I needed to do, I was present at all the right times, and I participated in important discussions, but it took a lot out of me. I was stressed and sad, I felt inadequate, lonely, and misunderstood. Looking back, I realize that most of that was because while working in an extremely intentional environment was fulfilling to me, it also was very draining (physically and emotionally) because I did not take the time to figure out what I needed to take care of myself and my body – so I didn’t know how to ask for support from my friends and partners.
Last year during my third year as an organizer and leader, I talked to a lot of people- those who had been my mentors in the past, people who were supposed to be my supports but hadn’t been stepping up or I hadn’t relied on, and people I didn’t even realize I had as partners until I talked to them. It was overwhelming but extremely helpful. I was able to acknowledge that I wasn’t giving my body/mind the proper attention that it needed and then lay down a foundation for myself so that when I did movement work I knew myself better and I wasn’t going into it alone. Something that helped a lot was that a big theme for this particular summer was self care. With the help of others, I learned that the intentional spaces (where my focus is supposed to be on taking care of others, pursuing my passions, and running an educational program) could also be safe spaces (where I was able to make sure I was doing okay too, and had the things that I needed to function in a more positive way).
I’ve realized over the past few years that actualizing my values is important, but that it’s also destructive to put a lot of energy into something I’m passionate about without the balance of putting energy towards myself as well. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach a point where I’m completely comfortable with my body/self but I think I’m getting a little closer.