My Timeline

I’ve always been told I have a problem with envy. I’ve always known this. It’s my vice. It’s my greatest obstacle. It’s the source of my insecurity. For too long I have let envy control my entire outlook in life. Someone I graduated high school with is starting a family? I panic. Someone I used to be friends with has thousands of followers on Instagram? I get mad. My first crush is getting engaged? I feel hopeless. What kind of person gets upset at someone else’s positive milestones and accomplishments? Not one who will thrive in this world. And it took me a very long time to realize this. It’s odd, because I’ve been told my whole life not to compare myself to other people, but I never really listened until now. What changed to make me suddenly hear this advice? Honestly, heartache. Hard work and heartache. Working full time. Making memories with friends despite my agoraphobic exhaustion. Falling in love with someone and having to learn to let go. Learning and living and becoming a well-rounded member of society despite my mental shortcomings.

Now that I’ve shifted my thinking from envy to acceptance everything in life feels better. Has my life changed? No. Has my attitude changed? Absolutely. And I know it sounds cliché to say that you create your own reality but it really is true. My circumstances have not magically changed overnight, but over the course of a month, all complimented by the previous years of learning how to grow up and overcome multiple mental illnesses, I see my life as nothing but uniquely perfect to me.

There were always roadblocks that kept me from accepting myself and being at peace with myself. Then suddenly, after months of stress and heartache, one word seemed to be the magic that dissipated all my roadblocks…  timeline. That was it. Timeline. My timeline is not the same as anyone else’s.

I’ve always looked back on my life and been in awe of how perfectly timed every single moment of my life has been to sculpt me into the human being I am today. Accepting my past was never a problem. Accepting my present was. Accepting the future was. I had so much anxiety when I thought about my where I “should be” by now in life. Why haven’t I been in a serious relationship yet? Why haven’t I moved out of my parents’ house yet? Why haven’t I become a famous author yet? And every one of these anxious thoughts can be extinguished with the sole belief that my timeline is not the same as anyone else’s timeline. My life unfolds as it is meant to for me and does not adhere to anyone else’s standards. This was the antidote to the envy I have let control me throughout the entirety of my life. My timeline is mine. I know I am not meant to be in a serious relationship right now, so who cares when it happens? Who cares if people I graduated high school with are getting married? Seriously, who cares? How does that have any effect on me? It doesn’t… unless I let it. And that’s where the choice comes in. The conscious choice to say “I will not let someone else’s path in life govern how I perceive mine.” There is literally no point in being jealous of someone else. And I could say I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out, but the truth is I wasn’t meant to up until now. My life and my successes or idiosyncratic and unique to me. I cannot be compared to anyone else. My life cannot be measured by someone else’s timeline. To do so is to be a slave of envy. And I have no room in my heart for that.

I can confidently say that ever since I came to this “timeline” epiphany I have been able to eliminate all of my anxiety about my place in this world without a second thought. This has been the key. I am infinitely happier with myself than ever before. Worrying about where I am or where I will be truly feels like a waste of time. I have trust. I have faith. I have acceptance. All because I was able to rid envy from my life.

playing dress up

– Valerie Parente (8-13-2019)

The Concept of Destiny

To those of you who do not believe in destiny, please take a moment and turn your attention to what you are grateful for. Grateful for a friend in your life? Think about the fact that you met this person, remember that there is literally an infinite amount of circumstances in the universe that could have prevented you two from meeting. You could go on forever and still never compile a complete list of all potential occurrences that could have happened to prevent the occurrence that you are grateful for. The fact that your life has unfolded in the way that it has is truly remarkable beyond anything you’ll ever be able to wholly fathom. How could you not believe you were meant to be here? How could you not believe that your story was meant to transpire exactly as it has? You are miraculous, and everything wonderful in your life is miraculous.

– Valerie Parente (8-4-2019)

I Am My Own Savior

I have had a major breakthrough in the past few weeks.

Before I get into the details of this breakthrough, I need to reiterate the warped thought patterns I’ve had throughout my entire adolescence. Ever since I hit puberty I drilled it inside of me that finding a romantic partner was the key to happiness. And this deeply rooted belief affected me in literally every area of my life. Instead of helping me progress, it stunted all of my growth.
“When I fall in love I’ll be able to start my life.”
“When I fall in love I’ll be able to move out.”
“When I fall in love I’ll be able to stop being anorexic.”
“When I fall in love I won’t be afraid of germs anymore.”
“When I fall in love I’ll feel satisfied with my experiences.”
“When I fall in love I will have a purpose.”

And it took me a hell of a long time to realize that all of this was complete and utter nonsense. Yes, I was told over and over again that it was nonsense, but that didn’t stop me from believing this fallacy and letting it dictate my life.

I can’t tell you what exactly happened the past few weeks… but suddenly… it’s over. Those feelings are gone… and not “gone” in the sense that I kept telling myself I didn’t need someone else but in the back of my mind still longed for it; “gone” in the sense that I completely and irrevocably do not feel like I need someone. Do I want someone? Honestly I don’t really care. But do I need someone? No. Not at all.

Maybe this epiphany hit me because I started reading a lot of nonfiction and expanding my mind and forcing myself to go out and do activities on my own and be my own date for the day. I’m not sure. All I know is that beyond any fraction of a doubt I have had a major spiritual awakening. I can’t explain the “how” of it happening, but I can tell you the outcome. I, for the first time ever in my adult life, feel like I don’t need to be saved. I feel completely satisfied and at ease with the fact that I am my own savior. I am the one who is going to be with me at the end of every single day and I am going to be there for myself and I am not scared of this fact anymore because I am whole on my own. I have everything I need inside my soul and I feel truly connected to the force that created me, whether you want to call it “God” or the “universe” or whatever. I believe in myself. I believe I am made of unconditional love. I don’t need love, I am love. I can rely on myself. I refuse to wait for someone to start my life because my life is here and now and in every present moment and I truly feel like I am never alone. Something inside me feels protected and loved and so far from being on my own while paradoxically feeling like I am a soul that can rely on itself to feel complete.

Now I am just sitting content; looking back at that teenager who numbed herself with mental disorders and I cannot believe I wasted an entire decade thinking so little of myself and putting so much on hold for wait for a savior… and I am in awe that the savior my ego was crying for was me all along.

I am not afraid anymore. I am full and happy and truly in awe that I get to be me.

I do not need anything, I have me.

– Valerie Parente (8-4-2019)

Love Without Reason

tulip feet

The most authentic love is the kind that you do not understand. You could spend years trying to piece together a formula that could sufficiently explain this love but never come to a satisfying conclusion. When someone asks you why you love this person, you cannot give one definitive reason why. You cannot pick out a particular feature of this person that summarizes your attraction. You just feel it. Something indescribably gravitates you to this person and you do not know why or care to know why. It does not matter. There is no making sense of this feeling with logic or reason. This love and any abounding comprehension of this love transcends beyond the human brain’s capabilities. You know your love is in its realest form when you cannot understand it no matter how hard you try. We see undeniable proof of this marvel in our love for our family and, periodically, in romantic love.

– Valerie Parente (4-11-2018)