It’s Tuesday, October 4th, 9:36am as I write this. I have a couple midterms to study for, work I need to catch up on, etc.

But I want and need to get this off my mind.

I woke up today feeling deeply unsettled. Like overnight, a storm had swept through me and left me unrooted and feeling on edge. I can’t seem to discern what exactly is leaving me feeling that way though. Was it a bad dream that I can’t remember? Maybe I’m just nervous ahead of midterms season. Or perhaps it’s the anxiety on waiting to hear back on an important meeting.

I read once that cognitive dissonance is separation anxiety from yourself. The way you’re living doesn’t line up with who you truly are. Your head is 9000 ft in the clouds and you may or may not recognize that you need to touch grass (lol). Even if you’re cognizant of how ungrounded you feel, you don’t know how to pull the parachute and land, the wind is blowing this way and that, your hair is all up in your face and you can’t see a thing. I’ve felt this sense of dissonance strongly more than a few times in my life. This ain’t my first rodeo, baby!

Times where I felt pressured to pursue a traditional career in banking or consulting. Times where I watched coding tutorials and read articles on machine learning algorithms, because it felt like everyone else around me was a pro. Times where I researched and shilled the utility of web3 even when deep down, I knew I wasn’t that interested in the space. Times where I’ve sat amongst groups of people and witnessed how ugly people can get, with the way they spoke about or treated others, mostly behind their backs.

And it’s not always just external factors and your environment.

Maybe, world, sometimes it’s not you, it’s me.

I’m waking up late even though I value feeling high-agency. To be honest, last week I ordered takeout more times than I’d like to admit, when I know I value my health and cooking nourishing food on my own. I’ve felt myself getting sucked into the vortex of unwinnable ratraces: comparison contests and caring too much about social media games and validation for my thoughts. Each action that contradicts who you are uproots your identity a little bit each time.

When you live inauthentically, you are constructing a feeble straw (wo)man when you’re a sculptor that can chip away at marble instead. As I wrote in my last piece, you’re both the potter and the clay.

I don’t want to one day look in the mirror and realize what I see is a self-constructed lie. A straw woman that can just fly away and fall to pieces at the whisper of the wind.

I’m of the belief that above all else, to live earnestly and authentically is a duty you have to yourself. Not just a nice to have. I owe it to myself to live authentically, and I feel guilty and lose confidence when I don’t.

In this moment, I feel anxious and like I’m not living 100% earnestly.

I’m only 20. I don’t really have it all figured out (case in point: this rambling piece of writing), but does anyone ever really? To be honest, sometimes I still feel like a kid: young and naive. I think that’s okay! I don’t ever want to trade an earnest life to grasp for the vapours of sophistication.

What are my roots? What did I love as a kid? What would I spend my time on, even if no one in the world ever saw the outcome? What makes me feel whole and not whole? These are all questions top of mind.

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