Will, Desire, Bravery, and Shit Like That

When I was twelve or thirteen, I started getting these prescient dreams. I’d start dreaming about things that ended up happening a couple of weeks later. Not big things, but certain situations, events. I’d dream in snapshots. They weren’t terribly useful sorts of dreams, because how can you prevent or prepare for the arrangement of bottles or boxes and where people sit in a room? Why would you want to?

These days, the prescient dreams are more emotional than situational, and have veered away from fortunetelling to pure subconscious anticipation. I had them a couple weeks before relationships ended this year; they’re more about relieving emotions I must know, on some level, are coming down the pipe. They deal with fears I already have, situations that are yet to be that I’m sure some part of me can see coming.

But at twelve or thirteen, back when they were situational, what concerned me about was that I seemed to be living the same life over and over again. If I was predicting situations – people sitting in certain arrangements, objects situated in particular ways – then I must have already lived this life. I’d been here before. And if I was living this life over again, it probably meant it was because I’d done something wrong the last time.

We all create belief systems based on our experiences, and in my experience, I was reliving the same life over and over again.

I wanted that to stop.

I didn’t want to know what was going to happen before it happened. I wanted big, bold, uncertainty. If I took enough risks, maybe I’d do something right this time around.

So I decided, in my later teens, that what I needed to do was live my life differently. I needed to take risks, follow my heart, do things I was afraid to do, live a life I could not predict.

This is the life I’ve lived since then. I left the house three days after turning 18, moved back home six months later, bought a one-way ticket to Alaska eight months after that, went to grad school in South Africa, moved to Chicago on a whim. All the choices I’ve made – relationships, living situations, world jaunts, have been things I’ve done on a whim, risks I’ve taken, because they felt right in my heart, in my bones (this gut-feeling system went severely haywire for a year when I was dying – you can’t listen to a gut-feeling properly when you’re crazy, cause you can’t sort out which is which. Another reason I take really good care of myself these days).

When I take too long to think about things, I get scared and cowardly. I want to hide under the bed. It takes an active effort, everyday, to live a life that’s worth living, to me. Most days I want to stay home, eat something full of carbs, and feel sorry for myself.

But the more days I get out from under the bed and get out and do what I need and want to do – despite the fear – the better I feel, the better I am, the more I’m the person I want to be.

I read once that the first step to becoming the person you want to be is to start acting like the person you want to be. You say, “What would a strong, confident, kick-ass woman who was incredibly brave and intelligent do right now?” She would not hide under the bed. She would not settle, would not lead a dull, stale life.

I don’t always succeed. Sometimes I don’t want to go to the gym. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to get my heart hurt. Sometimes I want to eat donuts and drink beer and hide out in my room watching “Titanic” all night.

But, as with all things in my life, I come back. I’ll break down and give up for a night or three, and then it’s back to writing and gymming and French and low-carb tortillas that don’t give me headaches, and building something to get me to where I want to be.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen next. I don’t know how things will turn out.

I do, however, know what I want. I know the sort of person I’d like to be, and I consistently take the steps to get there. I act like the person who already is there.

Most days.

One of my favorite shows to watch while gymming is MTV’s “Made.” Pick something you want to be. Do that.

Not everybody has the ability or force of will to get there, but you know what? Aim for the stars, and you’ll hit the moon. Aim for the moon, and you’re still just stuck here back on Earth.

Not that it’s a bad place to be… I just want something more.

Always wanting something more. Knowing what I want. Stubborn desire.


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