Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself.” -Rupi Kaur
I felt alone. Two weeks into a new adventure and as many smiles and conversations that I shared during the day, I found myself reeling at night. No matter how many new friends I made, no matter how many people I desired to be close to, the friendship I was longing for the most was one with myself.
One summer night, laying under the stars in Texas, the world was asleep. All semester at home, I'd found solace in the dark of night and comfort in the dancing constellations. For so long, I thought that finding myself in those places was a consequence of being alone, of not having enough friends or the right friends, but suddenly I saw through those lies painted by my insecurities.
I was drawn to those secluded times because of the friend I found there: myself.
I tend to run away from cliches partially because they feeling embedded in a world of impracticality. "Love yourself" just seems like a phrase uttered by people that have far less insecurities than me. And trust me, no matter how many times in my life I've said, "I don't care about [thing that causes internal conflict]. I don't let [thing that bothers me] bother me," I was lying. My existence of reaching competitive success and perfection is mounted on self-disproval that I've felt as long as I've been alive. How could I just wake up one day and "love myself"? Isn't that just a fake facade to put on over and over, hoping that one day it will be a reality?
Here's the thing, I didn't wake up one day and suddenly love myself, but rather, I started treating myself the same way I would treat another person I loved. I took pictures of things, not to post on social media, but because I was keeping memories for myself. (And trust me, my most treasured photos look like a 4-year-old took them) I went on coffee adventures and journaled and woke up to watch the sunrise. I started making playlists that were as random as myself and I love them.
I found the things that are a part of my identity that don't rely on anyone else, and doing those things alone don't decrease the quality of the friends I have, they just give me an independence to thrive, even when those friends can't be around. I strive every day to make life better for other humans, but by finding a friendship in myself, I don't have to have an identity crisis every time I'm away from them.
For the first time in my entire life, I can say that I don't care what people think about most of the characteristics of me. It's not a big rebellious phase, but rather, it's an understanding that we all have our own little existences built on worlds of experiences that collide at different times. What I find joy in doesn't have to be the same as yours, and no matter what decisions I make, I will never find approval from everyone.
I hope I live a life that I can justifiably explain to my family and those closest to me. I hope I positively impact other people's existences. And I hope I continue to find happiness in sharing those experiences with both new people, and the wonderful people that I find in my life daily.
More than anything, I hope I can inspire you to foster a new friendship: one with you. I hope you find time to grow a relationship in silence. I hope you fill yourself with compassion and joy and love.
Wherever your adventure takes you, I will be cheering you along. It is my greatest hope that you will be for yourself too.