If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.

C. S. Lewis

It was when I found this quote, right after I began my path to self-discovery, that I felt an irksome intuition that my journey would not work out quite as I thought.

I had no idea how right I was.

My name is Mariana Weisler. I am a professional actress and singer, as well as an amateur writer, who has always sought higher meaning from life. But my career choice left me mostly frustrated, and my personal relationships suffered from my sometimes overwhelming introversion and loneliness. So I decided to embark on a journey of enlightenment, of fulfillment, of self-love and forgiveness. I was thrilled, joyful. I collected inspirational quotes like stickers that I slapped all over my Facebook wall. I was determined. I was going to be happy and fulfilled. I signed myself up for therapy and stacked up my to-read list.

But at each turn instead of enlightenment I found anger, resentment, ferocious envy, and a billowing well of pain that I could not name nor bare to face. Not so slowly but surely my quest for my true self smothered me down into a pile of ash from which no phoenix would dare poke its beak. And instead of emancipated I became more and more depressed, until finally I was grasping at any quaint little proverb that would get me through the day, give me some sliver of hope.

It was my journey to free myself that imprisoned me. It was my search for myself that left me more lost and confused than I had ever been in all my life.

But it was this imprisonment that helped me begin to understand who I am. Who I truly am. As well as understand that most people out there probably don’t know who they truly are. They only think they do, as I did. We all pretend to seek truth, but really we seek comfort. We are taught that “finding yourself” means becoming happier, but really it means finding more ways to disguise the real you, the you you can’t face. So people are left with the niceties of life, only soft soap and wishful thinking. To find the real you, to grab onto the truth, the journey is far more perilous and painful than any of us millennials have been taught to imagine.

So this is my diving off into the murky waters of self-actualization. Maybe through what I learn, I can offer some little piece of truth to the world. And maybe that will bring some humble, though hopeful, seed of true comfort.