Do you believe in finding yourself? Do you believe that you have a soul that most people don’t see until they get to know you? I believe that every day we are not just working to live, we are learning to be ourselves and who we are inside.
The most important part of living is feeling free.
My life. One year ago today.
I spent almost a week driving from the border of Mexico and Texas to the San Francisco area of California. I was with my dog Tyler, but I was on my own time. I’d climb down from the drivers seat of the 10 foot Uhaul I rented, to take the time to calmly stare into the mountainous distance of the vibrant bouncing sunsets. I stopped at rest stops, National State Parks, and benches outside of little town cafes, focusing on what my thoughts were trying to tell me. I’d listen to the voices of others around me and I would think, why were they so interested in whatever they were saying? What experiences did they have in life to think that way?
Aside from being a thinker, I’m a writer so I’d document these thoughts. I documented what I was passionate about while I was alone, because I thought… “No one is influencing me to do this, I’m doing this all alone.” I love documenting my days, my life, through photos and writing and have loved doing so since a child.
One year ago today, those days on the road, I was 100% completely comfortable with being alone with my 4-legged buddy. The 2 years reaching to those comfortable days helped me end what-seemed-like-a-forever-hiatus of feeling lonely. Why was I feeling that way? Two years prior, I separated myself from a mentally abusive relationship that lasted longer than it should have. I felt anxious due to some stress we were dealing with as a family. I felt stress from leaving the full-time job I wasn’t rightfully fulfilled at. I felt heart-break from my best friends moving, or me moving from my best friends. There was a lot going on.
I spent those 2 years living in Mexico, most of the time in a virtual world of friendships as I sewed Bird Trouble bags behind a sewing machine on the 8th floor of my ma’s Guadalajara apartment. I dove into my interest in yoga, and medidation. I listened to podcasts and Ted Talks on how to live happy, on how to know if you’re making the right decisions, on nurturing the artist in you as you grow into an adult: a stage where most forget how to be an artist. Like I said, there was a lot going on, but whatever – there’s always a lot going on.
These stretch of days I spent driving alone, I thought about who I wanted to be a year from that moment. I wanted to be more independent. I wanted to be stronger. I wanted to be myself. I wanted to find a community that respected me, that supported me. We all want to belong, and I just wanted to find my rightful place.
Focusing on my nostalgic moments of reading my previous journal writings, or looking at previous photos I’ve shot, the current Alexz is in fact, freakishly, the person I saw myself becoming.
I didn’t stay in California for long, but I did learn so much about myself, and I learned how to protect the new person I became before moving there. While I was in California, I had a number of experiences where I had to stand up for myself and who I was – to my employers, to friends I had just made, and to those conniving humans who, to me, were only lookin’ to bring others down.
It’s important to stay true to yourself and to find a community that will support you. This community will easily accept you. One that will treat you with respect in return of you giving them respect. In fact, life feels easier when you find this. My father would say this one sentence to me, as a child growing up in the cookie-cutter suburban neighborhood I stomped on. He used to say this, all the damn time, and now I know why:
“You are who and what you surround yourself with.”
Today. My life.
I’m still running my own small business, while still creating daily. I’m learning new ways to make money from my art so I can continue planning on reaching a point where travel is apart of my life, my job and my art. I’m learning how to focus my energy on more productive and entertaining activities or studies. I’m not letting the intrusive energies of others get me down, and I’m not letting my own bad days get others down. Most of all, I’m learning to accept the stress of being a true ass 28 year old adult in a functioning community and I’m learning to work with it so I don’t rip my eye balls, or other eye balls out!
It’s really fulfilling knowing you followed your own choices, your own heart, no matter how stressful or scary those choices may seem to be. If you follow your intuitions, there’s a chance you’ll never regret your decisions.
This was my own personal practice of understanding the way I wanted to live, and I’m sharing it because I think it will trigger inspiration in my readers cute little heads. I’m not telling you that you must move out of the country and then go on a solo road trip to find out who you want your future-self to be. Don’t live like me. I know for a fact that I am very unique and I gain my energy in many ways others could never.
I’m telling you that taking the time to disconnect from your external self (the person other people see you as), to recharge and to practice YOU (the person you are inside), can help you come to certain conclusions of what will make you YOU. Yes, read that sentence again. In fact, read it over and over. This time you disconnect may take a couple days out of the week, it may take only 2 weeks, it may last a month, or even a couple months… but the time IS there, for you choose it.
If we choose our own surroundings, if we learn to eventually understand our emotions, and we choose who we want to be… would it solve a lot of the self-doubt, the anxiety, the depression, the post-depression, the addictions, the anger that us humans naturally suffer?
Lets take a moment to answer some simple yet thought-provoking questions.
- Where is your future self?
- What is your future self doing, if it was 100% up to you today, and no one else?
- Most importantly, what are you doing TODAY, TOMORROW, NEXT WEEK, NEXT MONTH to become who you want to be in the future?
- Is it mental preparation?
- Are you portraying yourself in a different way?
Let myself and the Bird Trouble readers know in the comments, or get it down in a journal. It helps to share our current dreams, our personal endeavors, our knowledge either publicly or privately. If we do, in the future, we’ll have proof of who we were then… and how our experiences and thoughts blossomed our external self into who we are now.
xx, Alexz Sandoval
Founder and maker of Bird Trouble.
All photos and writings by Alexz Sandoval – Founder of Sustainable Fairtrade Bags at Birdtrouble.com & community warrior Editor at Birdtroubleblog.com
Bird Trouble is here to listen and to create a community of thought that is good for the soul. I hope you love being apart of our creative and reflective community! If you’d like to contribute to the blog, send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org