Now I know it’s cliché, but it all started with some boy. And then another boy. And another. And by the end of high school, a time when everyone was busy trying to figure out who they were going to be, I had spent more of my time between classes and dates and friends than with myself – and the addition of a job in my senior year only added to the pile. My senior year boyfriend, a boy who was the most understanding and mature of those I’d dated, only dated me for three months. I can say now, with confidence, that his presence in my life was a gift unbeknownst to me at the time. He gave me something I will not be able to hold in my hands, nor take a photograph of, and that is a lesson in self-love.
When we dated, my emotional instability would be our downfall. I despised myself. A short list of things I didn’t liked, not unique to me: my lack of feminine curves, my acne, my boring brown hair and eyes to match, my tan skin that wasn’t tan or white enough, my teeth that weren’t white enough, my nails that were too short, my temper that was too short, my self-doubt that was too large, my lack of clothing that made me feel good, my disorganized mind and life, my stress, my choices, my words, my voice, my entire self. A short list, really, but something to start with. It was this, and our disagreements on all the topics above, the insecurities leaking into the relationship, the doubt of all I did – it became too much. When the end came, he was unhappy – as to be expected. When the end came, he was understanding. He told me to be happy, he told me that above all else, he wanted me to work on myself, to take the time I needed, and that even in an ending, he was prioritizing my happiness.
Time away from him was difficult, but after speaking to him and getting closure, I felt liberation. He was exactly what I needed. In the aftermath, all the rest came naturally, or so it seemed. I could look in the mirror and dislike what I saw, yet I knew I was going to change that. I knew I was making change necessary. I knew that I was on the right path, and this made me so happy. It was a feeling which the only word that fit it just right is “indescribable”, but I can sure try, for it was: light, love, bright, profound, contentment, fiery, intense, passionate, and all good things. It was the best I’d ever felt. And so, I was on the path.
I began visiting my school psychologist about the things that I felt, the things I could not help but think. Though I had no diagnosable psychological issues, she took the time to speak to me and understand me and make me feel listened to. I began to throw out old clothes, buy new ones that when I put on in the morning, I felt good in. I began to clean out the old, the tattered, the stained, the ill-fitting, and the unhappy thoughts and things. I bought a new planner, I began to journal, I watched videos and listened to music and did only what brought me joy. I took a new attitude on life, found out things about myself.
I found that I love the color yellow, that I like v-necks and skirts, that I love to wear heels, that I love listening to musicals in my car and that I enjoy tea. I found that doing my makeup in the morning could be a simple pick me up, and that a nice bubble bath was just so relaxing. I found that I loved reading again – but now I could read self-improvement books, I could read about science, I could read about productivity, I could make myself excited again.
I began making plans and dreams again, and I could see, even in my darkest nights, that there was another sunrise and another day. I found things to inspire me, things to make me proud. Though my journey is far from finished, I have found a path to happiness, and I believe anyone else can too, with the proper mindset.
image from weheartit