17 June 2012


Four months ago, I was convinced I was finally moving on after being trapped in Flagstaff by debt. I was convinced I was going to begin my life and do what I wanted -- something that had been denied to me for years.

I moved in with Riley and after three months of being in Washington, I realized nothing had really changed in my circumstances from my life before I moved. My work hours were shortened and I went from a long distance relationship with my boyfriend to a long distance relationship with my friends; but as for feeling fulfilled or productive, there was still a sense of emptiness.

I'm still not doing what I really want. I'm only working to pay the bills and possibly have a career in something I'm good at. I'm happy to be reunited with Riley, but he's the only reason I'm here in Washington.

However, within the last three months, I've "shed a skin" so to speak. I have changed, while my circumstances haven't. I've had time to analyze my own thoughts and figure out who this 22 year old woman in limbo really is.

I've had the free time to rediscover myself, something I haven't done in four years. Before, I was working 70 hours a week and the little free time I had was spent with friends or sleeping. It was as if I had put my personal growth on hold and threw myself into a robotic rhythm of daily life.

Since I only knew Riley here, I can step back and see myself independent of my friends' influences and expectations. I had that feeling any person has when going somewhere one hasn't been and doesn't know anyone.

Instead of reinventing myself, as I did my freshman year of college, I rebuilt myself. I rediscovered sides of my personality that I hadn't unearthed in years. Pieces of my character that I had suppressed for reasons ranging from lack of time to insecurity.

It's a beautiful thing to finally know yourself without influence from others. To finally know how to "be yourself" instead of what you think people, society, or divine beings want you to be. Someone's opinion of you only matters if you let it; and if you agree with it and it's negative, change it.

I've embraced that I'm a free spirit, like my late older brother, who left this world three years ago tomorrow. I always thought it was weird he didn't want to be "rooted"; he was constantly on the move and in search for knowledge on topics like cultures and spiritual beliefs.

I've embraced that what I want isn't necessarily traditional; my life has taught me that I'm not a traditionalist anyway, so why try to be one?

I've accepted subjects I'm interested in that seem "off" and learned to cherish them as special things I can enjoy on  my own.

I've learned being alone isn't something to be lamented; it's something to enjoy because it doesn't last long.

I've learned to be okay with who I am and where I am, even if it isn't my first choice.

Be who you are. Forget about those who you want to be like and don't appreciate your quirks and interests. There's bound to be someone out there who accepts you for who you are. Those who don't simply aren't meant to be your friends.

Take advantage of the circumstances that you have, good or bad. There's either a lesson, objective, or reason you are there.

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