Motivation, the elusive beast.

Motivation mo·ti·va·tion mōdəˈvāSH(ə)n (noun)
– the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

The second time I tried to attend college I thought the drive to be out of my mom’s apartment would be enough to keep me going. I hated living in her living room with no privacy, no space of my own, and constant supervision. I had to get out of there and the only solution to that was to go back to school full time. So I moved out and went back to college in a different city, determined never to find myself in that situation again. It started how I expected, I had fresh notebooks, a shiny new campus to explore, and a brand new major to start in on so I was revved up to get some knowledge. And yet a month into the semester I started skipping classes, maybe once a week, then two, then three…then all of them.

The first couple of times I skipped I would ask myself, “Kendyl don’t you want to get your degree? Don’t you want to earn a lot of money? Don’t you want to live on your own, get your dream job, get married and not disappoint your family?” Yes, of course I’d say, but then I’d roll over and take a six hour nap.

For awhile I thought all I lacked was motivation (and maybe coffee.) I just had to find that thing that would get me going again. I looked for it everywhere, is it money? Maybe if I barter with myself and go to at least three classes I’ll buy a new shirt. That didn’t work. Maybe I’m motivated by the need for love? If I go to class I’ll take to that cute girl who sits near me and maybe we will become friends. Nope. So maybe I’m motivated by spite. That one guy in class laughed at my answer so I’ll go and get an A on the test and prove that asshole wrong. Yeah, not good enough.

I couldn’t find motivation anywhere and my lack of it started to escalate until it became obvious that not having a motivator wasn’t the problem. Spoiler alert, it was depression.

Except, even now, when I can confidently say I’m not depressed, motivation still eludes me. I obsess over it sometimes as if it’s a measuring stick on how I’m handling my mental health. Like okay I’m motivated enough to get out of bed, get dressed, feed myself and go to work but not motivated to go to Zumba. Does this mean I’m still depressed? Am I just lazy? Do I need motivation for every activity or life goal I try to pursue?

I think about it often, asking myself what motivates me and what could drive me to better my life and really the only conclusion that I’ve come up with is, motivation is bullshit. You read that right, motivation is absolute bullshit and I need to stop looking for it. Nothing motivates me and I’m aware of that. Accepting that and just finding the sheer will to still live the life I want is enough for me and isn’t that what motivation is anyways? The general will?

If you haven’t guessed, the answer is yes, because I defined it up there at the top of this post. You’re welcome. So that’s what I’m going to do, not rely on some external motivator to magically keep me going. My motivation is just…me. I want to live, and I want to live well so I will.

Then again I could be full of shit so my question for you is, what motivates you? Do you obsess over motivation as much as me or are you suddenly going to start to because of this question? (If you are I’m sorry, it sucks I know.) Or has your motivation changed over time? Let me know.

The top 5 of 2017; life version

I’ve said many times that 2016 was the worst year of my life, and I still stand by that. It was a year that swallowed me whole, left me traumatized and alone, depressed and scared. This year though, was a year of recovery. If 2016 hallowed me out, then 2017 was about finding my way to being a full human again.

So here’s a list of top 5 moments that made 2017 a much better year than last. Even if it wasn’t the best year ever, it was still a year of progress and I’m thankful for every moment and every person that made that progress possible.

1. Kendyl made her first big girl purchase.

I’ve never owned anything that was completely in my name. Even when I was off in Dallas living on my own my apartment had my grandma as a cosigner. Since my credit was nonexistent I really didn’t ever have an option to be completely “on my own.” This year though, after building up credit and saving my money for a down payment I was able to buy a car completely by myself. At the time when I was signing all the papers, and getting my car loan in order it didn’t really feel real but as soon as I drove off the lot a huge rush of joy filled me up. I turned up the radio, and screamed. I’ve had a lot of setbacks, dropping out of college, moving home, losing my independence but this? This finally felt like I was making progress back to being a full time adult.

2. Being alone won’t stop me from having a good time.

Last year I bought a ticket to go see Halsey in concert. I had no one to go with so I was planning to just ride it out solo. Unfortunately, I chickened out and ended up just hanging out at home, ticket wasted. THIS YEAR THOUGH, I traveled to Austin to see a Korean band I really like. I vaguely knew a couple of people from twitter who were going but had never met them in real life so I was showing up alone, in a city I’ve never lived in to see a band that I’ve love. I was extremely nervous, I’d never been to a concert by myself before and this time around I was actually going to wait outside the venue all day so that I could stand near the front for the show. I showed up to Emos in Austin at like 7 am and got in line with about 30 other people for a show that wasn’t starting until 7 pm.  It was a tiring, wild experience but I was able to make friends with people in line and ended up having one of the best concert experiences ever. This really taught me that I don’t need to be with someone I know in order to attend events for things I’m interested in and that was a really freeing lesson. I’m looking forward to more solo experiences in 2018.

3. California made my feet hurt but my heart happy.

This year my friends and I went to California for E3, a huge gaming convention that was opening up to the general public for the first time. Since gaming is one big way my friends and I stay connected this convention was a big deal for us. My favorite section by far from E3 was Nintendo. We got to play with a Nintendo switch and try out the new Mario game and wow I fell in love. The entire Nintendo area was just so colorful and gorgeous and put the rest of the convention to shame. After E3 we explored the Santa Monica pier and also got to spend a day at Disney. As a huge Disney lover this was probably my favorite day even though my feet were dying by the end of it. Overall, it was a great trip and I’m so thankful I’m able to travel with my best friends.

4. So I told my mom I like girls.

High key, I’m going to write an entire other post about this but it deserved to be on this list. This was the year I finally came out to my mom that I was bisexual and that was a huge deal for me. It was a step into fully accepting who I am and having my family accept it as well but like I said, more on this later.

5. My brain is finally back to being normal.

Towards the end of the year I was able to finally say, “You know what? I’m doing okay.” The past couple of years have been hard on my mental health. I was trying to overcome depression, trauma and loneliness but this year I think I finally conquered those demons.  I’m sure it will be an on going battle, my depression isn’t suddenly cured but I finally feel equipped to handle my emotions. I’m no longer swimming in a sea of despair and am actually looking forward to my future, something 2016 Kendyl could never imagine.

So there you have it, my top five moments of 2017. I’d like to thank everyone who made this year possible, my family, my best friends and the random strangers I’ve met on the internet. If 2017 was a year for recovery, I hope 2018 will be a year for success, whatever that may mean.

 

 

The year of 100 books.


– Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Throughout 2016 and in the months into 2017 I have said that 2016 was the worst year of my life. Even though there were bright spots of beauty and life that happened that year, it was also a year full of loneliness and trauma. Really, the only way I was able to deal with all that I was going through, was reading.

Books have always been a crutch of mine, a source of stability and escape that I’ve sought out ever since I was kid. My mom always nurtured my love for reading and never censored the content that I read, which looking back on, was a huge blessing. Growing up, my family moved around a lot and as cheesy as it sounds, I found my home in the books I read, and the characters I grew up with. There are books that I read as a middle schooler or high schooler that I’ll still reread today because it takes me back to a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Last year though, reading became a lifeline, or a drug. I had dropped out of college and moved home at the beginning of the year, after a traumatic death happened in my family. My mental health was the worst it had ever been, and I was really overcome with depression. It was a struggle to get out of bed every single morning, and as soon as I would get home from work I would crawl right back under the covers.

I was depressed and numb, and extremely lonely. So as always, I turned to books. I read with an intensity that I have never felt before. When I read, I became so enthralled in the world I was reading about that the characters were able to make me feel the full spectrum of emotions that was missing from my every day life. I would read in every spare moment, riding in the car, while eating, on breaks at work, and until I went to sleep. I filled every moment I had to myself with words, as if I was afraid to be alone with my own thoughts.

My go to genre was fantasy novels, worlds so unlike my own, with characters that had amazing powers and strength who would have to overcome ridiculous obstacles in order to survive. I love the “chosen one” concept, and romeo and juliet type love stories. I love warring kingdoms, and magical battles, I devoured it all.

There’s probably a conclusion  I could draw here about the strength of the characters I read giving me the strength to overcome my depression but that’s not really the conclusion I want to make.

Reading was the healthiest way I could escape my life. It was a door that was always open to me, and I don’t think I could’ve survived 2016 without walking through that door every day.

When I tell people that I’ve read 100 books in a single year, they’re so impressed and say things like “wow I wish I could read like you do, or had the time.” I usually say something like thanks, I love to read so it wasn’t a big deal. Really though, I want to tell those people that I hope you never get to the point that you need to escape your life as much as I needed to. I hope you can live with your thoughts without seeking someone else’s. I hope you can find strength in real friends, and not fictional ones.

But if you do get that point, let me know, I have plenty of book recommendations for you.