With all of the Zen I’ve read, and all of the “just be” mantras I’ve got scribbled all over my home and notebooks, I’ve yet to find being myself any easier. I know how to swag it out. How to smooth the edges so the presentation is slick while my brain rams against the walls in my head, demanding everything and nothing of me. I’m better at sorting through the pile of mixed messages in search of what should stick, though even when it sticks, the noise can grow so loud that the whispers of truth are lost.

There are days when I wonder what exactly I need. A dramatic change of scenery? Medication and therapy? An entirely different approach to my life in its current place? I have no answers, but I carry on.

It is hard to be myself. And it shouldn’t be, but it is. To cut through what is me versus what I’ve been groomed to believe versus the self-loathing, and pinpoint what is authentic. Some days, none of it feels real. Other days, everything is so real and violently tears at me to the point I wonder how I’m able to convince people that I’m in one, stable piece.

Most days, it feels like I’m not.

But then I stop and look in the mirror. And touch my skin. And breathe the air in my apartment. And turn on the lights. And cook the meals. And get to work. And laugh with friends. And flirt with the boys. And write the blog posts.

Despite the persistent screaming in my brain that would like me to believe I am one step from blowing my life to bits, when I touch things, I see that they are okay. That I’m okay.