I have always felt really strongly that I know who I am. I’ve never cared what people thought of me; I wore what I wanted, I did what I wanted, I wasn’t afraid of letting my opinion be known, and I have always done what I felt was best for me. I was a bright high school student who has always fostered a love of books, and I still read voraciously.
I used to draw, I painted, I constantly rearranged and redecorated my college dorm rooms and apartments into what looked best in my eyes (that last habit hasn’t died, just become less frequent). Until my third year of college, I pursued my hobbies in abundance. It was what I did when I had free time between studying and sleeping. However, that third year, after some interesting and sometimes surreal experiences that I will possibly share another time, I found myself having less and less time to do what I felt made me, me.
Thinking about it, a painting comes to mind that has been sitting in my closet, basically untouched, for at least two years, probably more. I still tell myself that I’ll finish it one day. I haven’t drawn anything in just as long. I still read, and I still love to write and I do as often as possible, but for two years there has been a wall separating me from my life, and how I would like to live. That wall seems to be adult responsibility.
I’m not saying that I don’t want responsibility. I love that I am (mostly) financially independent and can be comfortable in the fact that I’m on my own. What I do want is to create.
I started noticing a downward slope in my artistic energy in that third year of college. My classes were demanding, and a lot of the time I wasn’t studying or working, I was in this terrible state where I was too exhausted to move, but couldn’t sleep. I had a little bit of a social life, a couple friends, but the time I spent allowing my mind to wander while I was working to create something (hopefully) beautiful, was dwindling, and as a result, I began spending more time stuck in my head, lonely, even when I was around people. I felt isolated, alone, and perpetually exhausted.
This feeling did not leave. At times it’s so bad that I can’t do anything but go to work and, when I’m home, lay in bed. Other days it’s manageable, but I only manage to do something creative about once a month at the moment (excluding my writing, which still is touch and go at best.) As my responsibilities have grown, and as I’ve transitioned into adult life, I find that the time I have to myself has continued to dwindle, and now I find myself in an awkward place.
It feels like a battle between feeling like myself, and feeling like an adult. It’s definitely a conflict that I don’t feel alone in struggling with, so I have to wonder, what everyone else who struggles with this does to cope.