Baby Steps

By Danielle Leard

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. Mental illness has gotten the best of me this year, and that’s something I’m admitting for the first time. This means key traits such as passion and joy have flickered out like Elton John's Candle In the Wind, and were replaced with the thoughts articulated in Sara Bareilles’ Hercules. In other words, if my well-being was a line graph, you’d recognize the drastic, depressing decrease very easily.


I hate what I’ve become, so lately I’ve been trying to fix myself, or get others to fix me for me. I ask for help. I get antidepressants. I get psychologists. I get love. These aren’t really things worth complaining about, but they’re not working. Good days and bad days issue themselves upon me still, and circumstance is embedding itself into the patchwork of my reason for living.

Though through all of this fog, I have finally deciphered why I’m not getting better. Every step I take on my allegorical journey of “getting better” is too materialistic. I measure happiness with numbers: if I wake up at six o’clock on the weekend, I’ll be happy. If I have seven friends, I’ll be happy. If I paint one hundred paintings, I’ll be happy. They say life is a numbers game, but numbers don’t satisfy. You always want more when you measure with numbers. More money, more followers, more likes, more compliments; more, more, more. Satisfaction is literally unattainable through numbers—at least for me. An unsatisfactory, unfulfilling life is just something I cannot handle striving for.

This next year, my objective is to discover the possibility of being happy through things that aren’t physical. I’ll be reading more books, essentially expanding my knowledge. I’ll surveil the nature of humanity, and assemble my life philosophies as well as values how I deem appropriate. I’ll engage in conversations with elders, peers, and children. I’ll learn about life and what it means to live.

Yeah, right.

As if I’m really going to do any of this skullduggery. In 2016, I’ll be happy! Of course I want to be happy, but there’s only so much I can do to be as such. Yes, numbers and materialistic motives are a problem, but I can’t extinguish them at the flick of a wrist. Time has to run its course and I have to walk my path. There’s no instructional booklet for life, and nor should there be. The concept of sentience is so distinctly different for each individual that guidebooks wouldn’t even work anyway. We’ll figure life out. I’ll figure it out. A lot of life is out of the hands of humans, and that’s something I’m growing to accept. I’m assigned a certain gender, race, sexuality, and face at birth. Each day, I’m assigned particular weather and situations that I have to deal with. Some of these things I can change, others I can’t. Personally, I’m in an emotional state some might consider unhealthy or worrying. That’s not something I can change instantly, but I can work towards being healthy.

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