Last night, I had a moment of clarity. I was lying in bed with a barista I’ve been seeing in Mexico City. We were being very loving towards each other. While he was resting his head on my shoulder, and I was cradling him, it hit me: I don’t often show this kind of love towards another person, but I can do it and I like to do it. And there are probably things that I could do, that I don’t do right now, that I don’t consider as part of my identity, but that I might actually be very good at. That might even reach beyond myself, and enable me to help other people.
I realized that my general mindset is very limited, and I’ve had it for such a long time. My limited mindset says: your tech career has failed, you’re not as pretty as those other girls with boyfriends, and you’re not the kind of person who understands money or who should have any kind of power. I don’t know where all of these thoughts came from, but they have been bugging me for a while. I have experienced some challenging things as an adult, like getting fired and fighting with my housemates and being given bad job performance reviews and having men try to chat me up on the street or just casually touch me on the shoulder in ways that I don’t want to be touched. And, lest I forget, having someone attempt to rape me at gunpoint. Over the years, these experiences have been building up, reinforcing themselves, and slowly wearing me down. It’s like a groove that’s becoming more defined. I’ve started to internalize everything. I’ve started to believe the thoughts. I’ve started to believe that I’m not good enough and that something is wrong with me. This probably comes from how the patriarchy has taught me and other women to view ourselves. When something happens, it just confirms the bias against myself that I already had in my mind.
It makes me sad to think about how little self worth I really have. Cindy Gallop has said, “As women, we are taught to undervalue ourselves from the moment we are born.” I feel this so strongly. But last night, I got a brief moment to challenge these thoughts: what if I ran a lab that created new solutions for climate change? What if I was the leader of a small country? I could do it. There’s no reason why I couldn’t. If not me, then who else would they pick?
While it was great to have this moment of clarity, I also know that this revival of possibilities is temporary. My baseline thoughts and mindset are generally limited, but are a couple really good days and really bad days every month. Right before I get my period, or even the first or second day, I feel incredibly alone, timid and shy. I feel self-conscious, hyper-acutely aware of all my mistakes in conversations. But the strangest thing happens at the end of my period, like now. I feel incredibly energized, and my thoughts become completely clear. It usually comes to me like a flash of inspiration on one night of the month. I can see crystal clear who I am trying to become, what I need to do to push myself that month, what I’m truly feeling about things, what needs to change. I can see that now.
I’m worried that after today, as the month continues on, things will just kind of slip back into normal again. I’ve been trying to repeat more of those meditation mantras to myself, with phrases like “I am not my thoughts”. Probably if I had a basic meditation practice, I wouldn’t be weighed down by these thoughts constantly.