Although I have always considered myself a “happy” individual, for most of my life a part of me felt constricted. This uneasy feeling wasn’t something I fully understood or could articulate, but I knew that I wanted nothing more than to feel fully liberated. I can remember this feeling as early as elementary school, moving to the United States at 7 years old and being told I can’t just get up if I have to go to the toilet. Being told I had to raise my hand first and be granted permission. I felt constricted. At age 11 when starting middle school I hung out with an “exclusive” group for a couple of weeks. This group only hung out together (as many groups do) and I felt both constricted and uncomfortable. I did not want to allocate such a large portion of my identity to this group and take on all of their norms/customs. At age 19 I was lured into joining a sorority by the idea of finding more community (aka unconditional love). Yet again I felt constricted. Feeling already suffocated enough by the norms of culture and society, taking on an additional layer made me uneasy. I disaffiliated from the sorority. During college I had my first internship in a corporate environment and I struggled. Again another layer of norms and culture to take on and learn how to navigate… at this point I was incredibly disappointed to learn that this was the “life” I had spent my adolescence preparing for. To cope with this realization I developed a superiority complex, thinking that I was above this game I thought I had to play in order to make a living. I tried not to identify with my internship but saw it as a means to make some extra money that summer.
I craved more life causing me to consistently seek new, different, and intense experiences. I was under the impression that intense experiences would make me feel free. I love dancing, feeling the music with all of my body and soul. I love bungee jumping and sky diving. I love climbing tall buildings under construction at night. I love pretty much any experience where I can feel things 100+++%. I now believe that my craving for more life fed my binge drinking in college. I craved to be completely liberated. Liberated from all of my conditioning by culture, groups, family etc. As a side…the catch 22 is that all of my conditioning was absolutely necessary for me to successfully integrate into society and be able to navigate group and organizational settings. If I hadn’t been able to do this, I would have likely formed an unhealthy ego/identity and could have very well suffered from mental illnesses.