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Just Be Yourself. It’s Easy, Right?

Wrong. Has anyone ever said these words to you? Chances are at least one person has. Maybe it was a pep talk for an interview, or perhaps a first date confidence boost. I’ve heard this advice being given out in multifarious contexts, and I’ve readily bestowed it on friends and family. This is even the encouragement I gave myself when I decided that blogging would be my next adventure. But, in the spirit of honesty, I admit to not always practising this wisdom that I’m so quick to preach. From my understanding, to be myself I must know and understand who I really am, and feel secure and confident enough to be just that around other people. Always knowing exactly who you are can be tough, though. Aren’t we all constantly evolving, or existing according to societal ideals? We live in a world that pre-defines standards: how to look; how to behave; how to live, etc. I make that sound like a really bad thing, and it can be, but I don’t always think it is. Pre-defined ideals like being fit and healthy, and holding ourselves up to high standards can make us better versions of who we are, and help us achieve a better quality of life. I still consider it important, however, to make sure those ideals align with our own beliefs and values, before adopting them. So, if being myself is not the walk in the park we make it out to be, then how do I do it?

Perhaps the first step is to acknowledge what I know for sure. I am a twenty-something Durbanite, trying to make a life in and around Johannesburg. I’m stubborn when I think I’m right. Sometimes in social situations I’m very reserved, and my quite disposition is often mistaken for sadness or even snobbery. In truth there are just moments when I need to slow down and take a deep breath. Have you ever been out with a group of great people, letting loose, having the best time, and suddenly it’s as if all the happiness is oxygen and there’s way too much in your lungs and your brain? Sometimes a breath and a minute or two alone is what it takes to get past the overwhelming and get back to enjoying the moment. That’s me. I love to read, particularly fantasy, adventure, romance, and science-fiction. If I am so blessed, one day I will have a dedicated library in my home. My idea of an amazing night is a soft blanket, a cup of tea and a great novel. One of my lifelong goals is to write one. I’m also fascinated by genetics, and it all started when I read Crichton’s Jurassic Park for the first time. Naturally, I also love dinosaurs and, by extension, birds. I enjoy baking and I love food, but not enough to be a real foodie. One thing I cannot function without is music; it makes my days complete. I’m not fussy about genres; if it sounds good or moves me in some way, chances are I’ll enjoy it. Strangely enough, I don’t need to be listening to music every day to appreciate it, because I’ve continuously got something playing in my head. I do wish it was a bigger part of my life, though. Every now and then I go through a short introspective phase; I question my life decisions and the path I’m currently travelling on, and I wonder if I should be doing things differently. Sometimes, during these phases, I put too much pressure on myself or convince myself that I am lacking in some way. Sometimes I take things too seriously. That’s me.

A path to self-discovery | Photo credit: Expanding Sapience

I want to take a moment to focus on my reasons for starting this blog. I’ve recently begun a new chapter of my life; a fresh start, if you will. I have spent so much of my life trying to do the right things in the appropriate and expected ways that I often get caught up in it all. I become stressed, and I burn out. I lost my sense of who I am somewhere along the way. When it came to starting this new chapter, I made a few promises to myself, the most important being: be happy. In the past I often viewed happiness as a destination; something to work towards that I would eventually have when all my hard work and major sacrifices pay off, that would make all the struggle and time without it worth it. I never really liked this perspective. I am now wholeheartedly adopting the view that happiness is also a choice I can make, right now. Funnily enough, I’ve always believed this notion, but I had never truly embraced it and chosen to live my life by it. Until now, that is.

Now that I know I want to be happy, my task is to figure out what exactly pushes all my happy buttons. And to do that, I need to figure out who I am again. This blog is going to help me do just that. I hope. I am going to embark on adventures of self-rediscovery: meeting new people; exploring different places; having new experiences; and testing the limits of my comfort-zones. I also want to reignite some old flames; revisit the things that used to make me happy, that I’ve somehow become distanced from. The path ahead seems inviting thus far. I’m going to write about it all here, and maybe someone reading this can help me along the way.

As far as my first ever blog post goes, this was more difficult to write than I expected. I struggled to sound natural; like myself. I’m working on that. I’ve had a few years of soul-searching, experience chasing and out-of-the-box stepping, and I still don’t feel like I’ve discovered all the different pieces in the mosaic that is me, yet. Maybe you’re lucky enough to know exactly who you are.

*January 3rd, 2021 Update

I wrote this first post back when my blog was called NerdBirdNest back in 2016, and it carried over to the next blog Routine Magic (2019). So much has happened since then, but more amazingly this post still rings 100% true. Life kept changing, but some things stay the same.

I burned out trying to study and work 3 jobs at the same time for a year: in a bookstore; as a Math and English tutor; and as a PA/occasional illustrator. I started reading Tarot and doing shadow work. I started a book subscription business while still working as a PA, Production Manager and Assistant Director, and then put it on hold. I had multiple, beautiful, psychedelic experiences. I began taking my art and illustration business more seriously.

I moved to the middle of nowhere and tried my hand at running a home bakery (it was satisfying, but far too much work for me to handle alone). I began sharing guided messages with the world on Instagram. I became a practitioner and met a male witch for the first time (it was delightful!). I had my first telepathic/clairaudient experiences. I searched for purpose. I ended, released and freed myself from a decade long battle of a relationship. I faced the most difficult resurgence of childhood trauma I’d experienced to date. I started, sort of, from scratch. I also finally shaved my head, haha.

This year (2021) I’ve begun yet another new chapter; in particular launching the Expanding Sapience YouTube channel after reworking my direction for this blog, and letting life flow instead of trying to control where I’m heading. And my purpose is now nothing more complicated than to love my life. The simplicity of that is admittedly deceptive, but who cares… I still love to read, though I’m more open to all sorts of literature now. My idea of an amazing night is the same. I still feel drained after interacting with most people. Jurassic Park is still my favourite, and my love for birds has only grown and deepened over time. I’m still a wannabe foodie, music is still important, and I honestly go through much more frequent periods of introspection now, but I usually come out of them with much more clarity than before. I no longer put so much pressure on myself, or entertain self-sabotaging thoughts so easily. I have more healthy boundaries. I’ve learned to strike a better balance between taking life seriously and enjoying it; I get a little better at it every day. I’m surviving the pandemic. Much has changed, but some things are the same.

Being myself was a challenge for so long, because I constantly questioned myself. I didn’t trust my inner knowing. It still has its ups and downs, but after releasing my hold a and allowing my intuition, my heart, and a little bit of magic, to help me navigate life, I’m so proud to realise that I’m the most authentic I’ve ever been, and it gets easier every day.

Expanding Sapience

Yonita is an illustrator and tarot and astrology practitioner with a penchant for science, spiritual experiences, fiction, food and obsessive studying.

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