Entering Year 21
READ TIME: 6 MINUTES
The day I celebrated my birthday, my friend asked me how it felt to be turning twenty-one. I told her, “It’s not like I have a choice!” On one hand, I feel shaky, scared, and unstable. There’s so many things I don’t know and so many empty answers to the questions I asked myself just a few years ago when I graduated from high school. On the other hand, I’m thankful for each and every moment. I’m open to learning more through experiencing life, and I’m actively loving and accepting of myself.
The latter has been the greatest gift I could ever give myself; the self-awareness of my flaws and the complete acceptance of how I perceive myself and how others can see me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this broken, yet so empowered, to meet the result of the person I’ve been called by many and the person I’ve called myself. I could spend all day, all week, all my life, worrying about how someone sees me —whether they think I’m nice, intimidating, mean, too much, too little, flaky, cold, etc. At the end of the day, I’m not even sorry that I’m putting my own happiness first. I’ve got more than enough people that I love around me and that reciprocate that love towards me.
2018 was so emotionally exhausting. I've had to come to terms with myself. I found myself constantly asking “If I didn't succeed in this, how will these people see me?” with every step I made. Because I don't share what happens emotionally when I’m catching up with anyone, mostly because I feel like I can’t live up the way I’d like to express my situations unless I write them, it's been an isolating journey of finding my identity and how it relates with others.
I'm thankful for the insight that I've gained so that I can make better decisions for myself as I grow older. As I've started to branch outside of myself, I'm thankful for the little moments I continue to make with myself, whether it's creating sessions consisting of free writing my thoughts at the end of the day, meditating and setting intentions in the morning, commuting to places while listening to music, or watching sunsets as I sit at the observation deck in the airport. Usually, I have spurts of socializing and getting out there which end in having to disappear off social media for however long and even telling friends I just need some time off. After a few months, I'm here with myself again, writing this part on my phone at 2AM, in the dark because I don't want my mom knowing I sleep this late, trying not to cry my face products off, checking in, and realizing that I'm okay.
I don't want to wait for anyone to say it, so I am. I'm proud of my resilience.
I truly believe that no one really knows how you feel and how you get through life unless they were you. I'm always making mistakes, because I'm always learning how to act better. I’m still processing the major academic changes I’ve had to endure last year —but hey, finding out that design wasn't for me could have broken me, but it showed me how much I love writing, how much I need it, and maybe, that I could actually be really good at it, if I choose to pursue it with all I’ve got. Everything I've done has always brought me back to writing and I’m glad that I realized that now.
*Me breaking someone else could have broken me even more. I couldn't help but see myself in another and I acted out because I wanted to heal the part of myself that I thought others kept piercing in myself. I wanted to fulfill the wound in myself, the gaping hole that could never be filled, because I wanted to see a happy ending. However, every part of me didn't allow for me to do that. Sometimes, it's just not there, no matter how bad you wish there was.
To be on the other side, after countless chapters of wanting and never receiving, or there always being some sort of obstacle in between, showed me how crazy I am to put myself through so much unnecessary heartbreak. Of course I knew. A lot of the lessons I learn are ones that have been repeating themselves for years. It's not until I give up do I change. It's when I realize that I've been approaching it all in such a stubborn way to the point of me going through the cycle of shaping parts of myself to fit how I think should be. Maybe it's a result of what I've been used to. It could have just taken a long time, but in the end, like all lessons, it's okay. I never realized how much I change myself for others. After 21 years, a new thought appeared in my mind. Wild idea. “What if, there is someone who will love all of you?”
Perhaps it was because the way I saw “You” or “myself” was through a lens of who I am not and not who I am.
I've exhausted the narrative of who I am not. Here's to the years of who I am.
One thing I know for sure is that I am worthy of the love I have for myself. And that love; the one that's been cultivated with endless streams of emotional and physical resilience, through everything it's endured and continues to endure, is the greatest I've known.
*A little postface, because I gave no context to the bigger love lessons I’ve learned:
It's about learning how to love myself. It's not about screaming at the top of the hills, that I'm an independent woman who doesn't need anyone, nor wants anyone. It isn't about another at all. It's about respecting myself. It's about feeling like I've renewed myself and truly shed the past. It's about acknowledging what I've been put through, whether it was a subconscious or conscious decision. It's about welcoming love, but respecting myself enough to honour the hard work I continue to put into myself to be better. It's about the love story with myself that will continue until forever, whether there's someone by my side or not.