On Being Myself: Why I Will Not "Calm Down"

November 18, 2015 ~ Demetra Szatkowski
poke berries. from the most beautiful garden in Maine

poke berries. from the most beautiful garden in Maine

I do not need anything else.

This is logically obvious; an oft-repeated phrase in self-help books and memes.

It’s something I have said to other people lots of times: “you do not need anything else. You are enough.”

But tonight, I fully felt that for the first time in what seems like forever.

My family surprised me last minute by wanting to go to a early birthday dinner yesterday, both to celebrate and to wish me luck on my journey today. I sat with people that I love and dinner took over two hours because service was so slow but I didn’t care because I was surrounded by so much love and laughter. Everybody sang happy birthday ten days early and the waitress gave me a free dessert to take home since I was too full to eat it there. I got home and spent time with my boyfriend and had the most honest conversation.

And he went home and it hit me: I have enough.

I am totally content with my life right now. I am totally content to be where I am. I am ecstatically happy to be with the people that I love in a place where I feel comfortable and safe. I don’t need anything else.

I don’t need to “find my one true passion” or “grow spiritually” or discover what my life plan is or be gentler or go anywhere or do anything in particular to “better myself” at all.

I am happy right where I am.

Of course there are things I want to do. I want to travel to help refugees and I want to go back to school and I have a lot of other plans that I do not feel like making known just yet. But I do not need to do any of these things in order to be happy and completely at peace.

I am tired of searching for contented-ness. I am tired of always wanting more. I am tired of thinking I “should” be this or “should” be that. I am tired of feeling like I should care about what anybody else thinks of any of my thoughts or actions.

I have met some resistance lately from people who think I need to calm down, that my words are too harsh, that I need to be more compassionate and love the world and whatever else.

I don’t need to be anything other than me, thank you very much.

My irritation and my anger will not ever be expressed gently. Maybe that is someone else’s role; that is not mine. Someone literally messaged me and said, “I read what you wrote and can tell you are not coming from a compassionate place.”

Really? You know from my words how I feel inside? I believe I can have compassion and anger at the same time. I feel both of those things. I feel angry for the injustice in the world and I feel compassionate for the world as a whole. I do not believe “everything is perfect just as it is.” Sorry, nope. Please take those beliefs elsewhere.

I am not open to being reprimanded like a child. I am open to intelligent, thoughtful, honest discussions that include facts and are free from belief-pushing.

There is a difference between being kind and being kind while not accomplishing anything. I will be kind to refugees and be kind to people around me, but when someone makes a racist comment or bombs a country, I am not going to be kind and loving, I am going to say hey, I think that is wrong. I am not going to pretend that stepping back and sending love out into the world is helping other people. We can send love, sure. But we more importantly need to take direct action to help heal humanity. Nobody who is starving wants just love. They will choose food over love any day. Why not give both love and food? Why do some of us just stop at “sending love?”

People who are taking direct action to help humanity in whatever way already are coming from a place of great love and compassion. They don’t have to say it or spread it around. They just live, and it comes through their actions

Love is a fucking magical force. But there always needs to be a combination of physical action and energetic action. My brother crashed a car. Our love has helped him in his recovery but it is the physical effort put in by doctors, therapists, the community, and our family that has been invaluable. Damon won’t walk again if we all just pray and he does nothing. He will walk again if he puts a lot of effort in, and possibly if we pray. But, again, that last part is a belief.

Similarly, it’s nice to send prayers to Paris and send love to the world. But it’s nicer if you can send love and do research and spread factual information. It’s nicer if you can pray and send clothes or money or sign a petition or stand up for those who are victims.

So I will not be quiet and I will not be more gentle. I think we need to help the world. The world doesn’t change through selfishness. It changes from people actively helping one another and fixing the problems that run rampant here today.