As a kid, I always thought something was wrong with me because I was happiest alone, being creative… and was made fun of. I never had a “group.” This went on well into high school, and as I got older I finally realized I didn’t want to fit in with those people anyway.
I graduated high school a semester early to avoid prom, the senior party, our class picture (who would I sit with?), and another six months with people who were judging me. I found comfort in my boyfriend who was three years older than me and took a couple of trips to the University of Arizona to visit him. I spent most of my time working at the restaurant on the bay where we met, saving money to escape Traverse City and to amplify my wardrobe. I always loved fashion, but dressing up was yet another thing I was bullied for. Running away and avoidance were my only true coping skills for years.
Things got easier once I went away to college. I had a fresh start! Unfortunately, I lost sight of my most important asset: myself.
I looked for acceptance on the outside, not the inside. Bars and alcohol made it easier to tolerate being in groups. My sensitivity began to slip away as I lost my self respect. My relationship with my boyfriend got worse, I couldn’t keep track of my lies, and my life started to become unmanageable.
All to fit in.
I didn’t even know who I was anymore once I finished school. I have been relearning that these past couple of years.
We aren’t taught that we are perfect and whole just as we are. That’s unfortunate. Self acceptance is huge. Something happened when I went away to college- I started seeking approval on the outside and stopped my creative flow.
I wish I would have realized the root of my pain long ago- it would have saved me a decade of moves, failed relationships, addiction and lost jobs. A deep rooted need for love and acceptance lead me to seeking approval in all the wrong places.
The good news is, it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf. Every day is a new start. Every morning you wake up is a new opportunity to work on yourself, be the best you can be and find the joy that fuels your soul.
So, go do those things you love by yourself. Travel solo. Spend the day with yourself. This is all easy for me to say as a single only child, but being independent doesn’t mean being lonely or alone.