Is this what they call a quarter-life crisis?

I’ve had a lot of chats with a lot of people recently. Serious chats, I mean. Looong serious chats. I’ve been searching for answers so hard. I know that nobody can (or should) make decisions for you but seeking counsel is something I’ve never been afraid to do. Noticing this more and more, I’ve had to be brutally honest with myself. Why do I crave guidance so much? What is it about own my intuition do I not trust?

These are unsettling questions but I think I came to somewhat of a conclusion after much deep consideration. It’s not all that easy to understand (the mechanics of my brain never is), but allow me to attempt to explain. You see, I pine to be perfect. And as you and I both know, perfection is impossible – we’ve discussed it many times. But sometimes what you tell yourself and how your body chooses to react are two very different things.

Much as I try to change this, it’s seemingly embedded into my nature. When I make what is deemed by someone or even society to be a ‘mistake’, I punish myself. Sure, I’ll tell myself that I’m human and practise self-love but when I’m in bed at the end of the day, honestly, I still have all the same feels in the pit of my stomach.

Guilt, regret, shame and dread.

Since the age of 16, these are the sorts of feelings I’ve been riddled with. Call it anxiety – most people do. For a while I thought it was karma, for overlooking kind souls who reached out to me earlier on in life and for acting out against the undeserving. In more recent months I’ve become drawn to religion and have just this day realised why – a set of rules to follow avoids making mistakes, and if you don’t make mistakes you’re as close to perfect as you’ll ever get…

Bullsh*t. I know. I don’t actually believe that but there has to be something in my psyche that does, otherwise it wouldn’t haunt me like it does! We all have those little voices in the back of our heads, cycles we play out over and over… question is, how do you do something different? I’ve written before about unlearning (in order to unburden and induce transition) but honestly, it’s making me feel even more lost. The more my perceptions change, the more life as I know it begins to unravel.

It’s the small things that scare me. I’m confused and therefore contradicting, which is just as irritating as it is for me as it must be for others. For example, my recent ‘awakening’ for lack of a better word has given me a true understanding of authenticity. Yet, when I put makeup on or show-off on social media (yes, I said show-off and not share. Because that’s exactly what it is, isn’t it?) I feel good. 

I’m aware that when I wear makeup, I have ultimately manipulated my face to make it look ‘more attractive’ or ‘acceptable’ to the outside world. I’m aware that when I strike a certain pose, I’m adjusting my body to make it ‘appealing’. And I’m also well aware that the reason I think this false facade of self looks more attractive than my natural untouched features is due to socially constructed ideas of beauty and not much else. Again, what I’m not able to do is stop the reaction in my body. Looking at myself in the mirror, all done up ready to impress gives me a buzz, and it’s one my brain can’t seem to control. THAT f*cks with my head.

Who am I?

When I try to strip it all away – the abundance of negative influences from the Western world, my childhood experience and unique relationships – I struggle to find myself. Which parts of my personality are constructed to appease or impress others, and which parts are innately me. Would I have spent so much time and money on makeup products and fast-fashion items if I hadn’t been exposed (and possibly highly susceptible) to advertising? Would pink still be my favourite colour if the toys available had been gender neutral? Would I be bisexual if it hadn’t have been a woman who sexually abused me all those years ago? Would I act selfishly if I hadn’t seen narcissism rewarded, time and time again?

The questions could go on forever.

And I just feel like shouting “SOMEONE GIVE ME SOME FUCKING ANSWERS”.

But they can’t. You can’t.

Finding faith is different to following a structured path/religion because you simply don’t know where to turn or what else to do. I’ve come close to joining a commune, becoming a buddhist and taking part in several movements not because they’re ‘my calling’ but because I want to find hope again. I want to feel a sense of belonging.

I don’t ‘believe’ but right now I’d really, really like to. I’d like to have a survival handbook that I could trust to provide me with all the answers. I’d love to take comfort in the fact that ‘the Universe is looking after me’. I wish I could believe that everything truly ‘happens for a reason’, and things are just ‘meant to be’. BUT there’s always a big f*cking BUT.

Is this what they call a quarter-life crisis?

Someone at least answer that!


3 thoughts on “Is this what they call a quarter-life crisis?

  1. Hi Marie,
    The ‘handbook’ for life is the Bible. Not trendy but truly wholesome. Try and look for a Church that advertises the ALPHA Course. You can go there, in non-threatening surroundings, have a meal, air all your views. Truly you will find answers.
    I feel your pain, want to help you. Much love.

  2. Hahaha…yeah, I remember those days…there is a “quarter life crisis”. I thought it was just me, but as I came to discover it happens to everyone. There is a point when we come to realization we want more for ourselves, because perhaps we never got the chance due such life obstacles like the loss of health of a loved one, grief, sexual/emotional/physical abuse, the loss of a loved one, growing up in domestic abusive family… and now…now we want to make a new chapter in our lives. I mean yeah, it sucks cuz is all like, “Why did I have to think about this (creating goals) now? Why haven’t these thoughts and ideas and dreams come sooner? I would have been MUCH happier now!” I use to beat myself up A LOT of this especially when I was 25. I saw most of the people on Facebook, I’ve known since preschool get married and/or have kids, or have a significant other of over 2 years or they’ve had long term friendships. And I…I had NONE of that. I was like to myself, “what is WRONG with me?” and it didn’t help that my mom was reminding me EVERYDAY how I wasn’t at that “level”.
    While I don’t beat myself up that hard like when I was 25 (now I am 30), I try to learn to respect my journey—its ups and downs and its struggles and triumphs…to try to live in the here in now. Not to be looking to my left and seeing how my peers I’m living, looking up and thinking what life could have been life if it weren’t for my struggles and heartaches and not looking from a distance and think about all the possible “what ifs” that life has to offer me. Like will I find love again, be a wife and mother? Will I get a teaching job right after I complete my teaching credential? Will I find a place of my own again? That’s why in terms of the Bible, I try my best to reminisce it’s scriptures, on how I should focus on God and his righteousness and how the desires of my heart will be given to me one day or asking God… those sort of things keep me grounded so that if my fears and doubts do over take me again I can refer back to the scriptures and find myself in God and Christ again.
    In the meantime, there is no exact “survival book” apart from the experience you have acquired and religion you follow. Oooh…also in learning to love and accept yourself. Since you practice Buddhism, why not find a verse that helps restore you in your times of certainty?

  3. Marie!
    You did it again. Blew me away with your ability to reflect. Not just that, but writing in a way that strikes a cord with me. I’m sure lots of others will have the same feeling: That is exactly how I feel! And your insight in that perfectionism might be one of the underlying issues, in addition to the confusion about what is left of you, is so honest that it makes it easier for me at least, to feel confused too. I hope that Buddhism might give something to you. After all, even if there are rules, and a need to do things right, the religion also focus on being human. I will follow your journey with anticipation as I continue my own.

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