What Half a Bag of Chips for Breakfast Taught Me About Being Kind to Myself

If you’re reading this, Mom I promise I do eat regular meals with the exception of this particular day.

Last week, I had half a bag of chips for breakfast. Not because it was all I had to eat but because I went to sleep late, got up late for work, scrambled to get ready, and grabbed the nearest food item I saw before running through the door. I later realized I didn’t charge my phone the night before and was on 12% by 9:30 am without a charger in sight. So yeah, things were going great and my grumbling stomach and aching head agreed. Safe to say, post undegrad life has — been — Rough.

A couple months before I graduated, I ran into an alum acquaintance in a stairwell. She said post grad life was hard but great and I had no idea what she was talking about. Now, I get it. I’ve been looking at life post grad like, is this refundable?? Can I rewind? And post grad life has been looking at me like:

These past few months of working a full time job, being twenty something and navigating that ever-overwhelming feeling, trying to find somewhere to live, persisting when I just want to cry into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s red velvet cake and fall asleep watching Insecure has been a far cry from my initial expectations of what the near future would hold.

What I thought there would be a lot of:

  • Pinterest inspired cozy apartment furniture and home accessories
  • A blast of confidence
  • Brunches

What there’s actually been a lot of:

  • Crying, in almost any location
  • “How to teach English in ________ without a TEFL certificate or Education degree” searched through Google
  • Thoughts to impulse buy an entire Aldi ice cream cake for myself in hopes that it’ll make me feel better when I actually hate ice cream cake
  • Tension headaches

In Process

I work in my alma mater’s library and there’s this library term for books or any item that is moving from one location to another in the library called ‘In Process’. People often come into the library searching for a particular item in hopes that it’ll help them with homework or how they’re shaping their class. They come up to the front desk, search for the item, and are, at times, greeted with red letters that read, “In Process”. They stare down at the screen with questioning eyes asking me or someone else what the heck “In Process” means. I then proceed to tell them that they can’t get the item in the time frame they thought they could, they can’t start or finish what they thought they could, and they usually seem either disappointed or annoyed.

I’m realizing that I’m looking to my life, it the broad sense, like people who come to the library looking for an item they soon find out is in process , frustrated that the service I expect from God/life/people doesn’t align with my definition of on time. I’m hoping I’ll just get what I’m looking for when in actuality, the greater sense of self of in search of? In Process. Healthy relationships: In Process. Learning how to stick stuff out: In Process. Growth in Faith: In Process. Making Sure I Eat Breakfast: In Process (but I’m getting better at it!).

The good thing about this is that I’m recognizing no one asked me to be anything but in process.

Maybe other people have expectations for me, real or imagined, maybe I think I should be a certain type of person by now, or that I should have accomplished a number of things already but I’m prettyyy sure those unrealistic expectations contribute to this potato chip breakfast moment. I’m pretty sure I’m actually doing well for being in process, pretty sure my spirituality only calls for me to be faithful to the process, and the people around me are in process too but that theirs takes different forms and fashions.

The simple fact, at the end of every 90’s and early 2000’s young adult dramedy, is that I’m when made imperfect and tryna be perfect, the potato chip for breakfast days are inevitable — I’m setting myself up for failure when the goal is perfection.

I’m pretty sure I’m actually doing well for being in process, pretty sure my spirituality only calls for me to be faithful to the process, and the people around me are in process too, but theirs processes just look different.

When the goal is just to be — be in process, be twenty something not wishing for younger days or age, be in the thick of it, be messy, be emotional, be honest with myself, be thoughtful, be meditative, be myself, be kind. When I allow myself to be in process about these things more freely, the road makes way for me instead of me trying to make the road, or at least that’s the process I’m going for right now.

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