You're Not Missing Anything
Except maybe the chance to be yourself.
On a recent road trip through my own personal hell, I received a flurry of messages on Instagram during the drive home. Equally heart-opening and heart-wrenching, they were in response to a relationship-focused Q&A session that T. and I did together over a 24-hour period. If you missed our collaborative moment of self-sharing, it is saved to highlights on my Instagram under “LOVE Q&A”, though I will also be immortalizing it on Substack in next week’s letter to you.
At this point of the trip, T. and I had surpassed the peak of our journey together. The village had more or less burned down (I did it, it was me), and both of us were in a state of quiet, deep reflection. As we headed west, our final hours together felt like driving carefully through the aftermath of smoldering ash, taking stock of what remained, unsure if we would bother to rebuild or put roots down somewhere else.
I accepted how important it was for me to go inward (see: dare to put headphones over my ears despite being in someone else’s company), and though I usually hold myself to a standard of no work, social media, or phone-looking when I’m with T., I made an exception and checked my DM’s. Sometimes my work is what holds me, and sometimes social media is what reminds me.
The messages showed me that I was not alone in my habit of occasionally performing like an emotional terrorist because of my own internal resistance. They showed me I was not alone in my inability to have fun, lighten up, or let go, especially when in partnership. They showed me how hard everyone is being on themselves, and how often we listen to “should” instead of “want”. The messages showed me the pervasiveness of self-rejection, and how actualizing love for oneself feels cagey, or at best elusive.
The messages also showed me that Instagram, for all of its tricks and troubles, is still just people. As long as it remains people, I will continue to advocate for the strange but meaningful connections that can succeed having an honest and realistic relationship with it.
As I combed through my inbox, pausing between each note to look out the window and witness the unfolding Mojave, I felt what I’d describe as a spiritual download enter my consciousness. I subsequently shared these thoughts with my followers as quickly as my fingers could type. As per request, the missive is also saved to my highlights under “TLC”, and you guessed it — I’m immortalizing it here today because I need the reminder, and maybe you do too.
I feel a deep resolve to break down the barrier to entry that lives between me and the love I give to myself. Maybe a full demolition is far-fetched — and maybe a little resistance is useful for inquiry — but I could at least stand to open the gates a little more, and maybe you could too.
So here it is:
It is okay if you feel like everyone else has the hang of something that you do not. It is okay if your partner or your best friend or your sibling can enjoy things that you can’t seem to and maybe never will.
It is okay if you like to stay home right now, most of the time, or always.
It is okay if you are the most serious person in the room. People have been cruel. People have been unpredictable. People have expected you to show up for them before you were ready.
It is okay if you have pushed people away because the pressure you put on yourself to be a friend or lover, only to feel like you fuck it up at every corner, is worse than just being alone. More people will come.
It is okay if you told yourself you would dance every day during a 3,000 mile road trip because you know it grounds you, and you danced on none of the days.
It is okay if you opt out, even when everybody else is opting in. The only thing you could ever miss out on is the chance to be yourself.
No more fear of missing out, only the fear of missing the chance to be you, unconditionally.
“A direct line to one’s audience has obvious benefits, and freedom is one of them, but to me what makes the bond here between writer and reader so powerful is the attention they warrant each other. A subscription is a mutual pledge. Your subscribers read you, really read you, and you will continue to write just for them. That is what a paid subscription is, by the way, not a transaction but an act of love.”
This essay by Tasshin that theorizes Heartspace Practice, “the belief that our hearts can connect across space and time. More broadly, we believe that our actions have consequences, that what we do matters—not just our physical, embodied actions in the material world, but also our immaterial actions, our thoughts and feelings, our intentions, our beliefs, our ways of seeing.”
I am careful not to fall into the new year, new resolution game, but I am relishing in what feels like the start of a new chapter. As I’ve mentioned multiple times, the road trip that ended on December 30th blew my heart and brains to bits. I saw things I can’t unsee, I felt things I can’t un-feel. As a result, I’m prioritizing spending more time with love, privately — for thirty consecutive days. I’ve been doing one of Tasshin’s guided Metta meditations every evening before dinner. It’s day 6. I feel better.
“You are allowed to unlearn who you’ve been if it isn’t who you are anymore. I’ve shared this before and it continues to be relevant as I find myself morphing and changing, older parts of me becoming more unrecognizable and new parts emerging that I’m just starting to get to know. There is so much pressure to be one thing, to stay consistent, to maintain the image we’re used to maintaining, to play the roles we’re used to playing, to do the things everyone expects or wants us to do. It is an act of self-compassion to know staying the same is what makes others more comfortable… and choosing to let ourselves change anyway. Change can be scary — and it can also be the thing that allows us to live a little more honestly, a little more free, a little more us. And we all deserve that.”
“You are allowed to give yourself permission to release the excessive compulsion to get better, to out-do yourself, to become the ideal. You are allowed to let go of the pursuit of perfection. You are allowed to not optimize every meal or opportunity or open spot in your schedule. You are allowed to rest in your humanity, in your complexity, in your flaws and not-so-cute quirks. You are allowed to let yourself be.”