• Allison B.

Just Different

I bought myself flowers the other day. It may sound rather sad and lonely from one perspective, but hear me out.

I have struggled a lot with being alone and doing things by myself. The paradox of my personality, however, is that I also quite relish the quiet time to recharge my energy without the distractions or demands of other people. The best days off are when I can lounge around, catch up on books or television shows, wear the comfiest clothes in my wardrobe, and semi-bask in the sun (note: Basking does not equal tanning. I do not need nor do I want to tan, and it's not because of I'm ashamed of my darker skin tone [shameless plug for previous blog post, "Being Unapologetically Yourself"] but rather makeup is expensive, and I don't have the luxury to buy the darker 1/3 of the Fenty foundation shades).

Anyway, the point is, I'm learning to be okay with being by myself. And with that, I'm learning how to sit in my anger, depression, anxiety, i.e. "not-so-good" feelings. Just sit. Which is actually pretty difficult to do. Oftentimes, I want to reach out and ask someone to help lift my mood, but I realize that sometimes I am running from an emotion that deserves to be heard. These feelings have to be telling me something, right? So I've taken the time to really reflect, to dive deeper into the "not-so-good" and dig closer to what the real reason behind them is.

I've come to accept that there were and there are going to be experiences in my life that I will never heal from. Little things in life I definitely get over, like being stuck in an hour of traffic in Philadelphia, anticipating eating at my favorite hot dog joint that I've been craving since I moved my hometown where the only other branch is, just to find out that said hot dog joint was not serving food due to a building-wide power outage (what are the chances? honestly). But bigger, life-changing events that impacted my perspectives and my sense of self? I may never truly get over those experiences, no matter how much I wanted to or how much effort I put in to try. I came across a quote by David Brooks, the Op-Ed columnist from the New York Times, which says:

"Many people don’t come out healed; they come out different."

As soon as I read this, I folded it up as tightly as I can and stuck it in my metaphorical back pocket to read whenever I need to. I hold onto these words because there's been a certain devastating disappointment when old issues that I think I have built bridges over come flooding back into my life. So now instead of furiously seeking for closure, I've made my peace with accepting whatever comes into my life and my reactions to those circumstances. If I stop putting all my eggs in the closure basket--if I stop saying, "If I do this, I will be healed from this, for good"--I stop waiting for the moment where I finally seize happiness. Instead, I take these experiences and study them, learn from them, and change from them.

What I'm realizing is: I may experience the same issue and all the emotions that piggyback onto it at different levels of my life. Rather than looking at some issues as linear, I see them as a spiral. I'm still going up, elevating myself every day, but I may encounter life events that trigger old sentiments of pain or grief. The catch is that every time I revisit familiar wounds, I confront them with the knowledge that I gained since the last time they reopened, which ultimately does not make me healed, it makes me different.

So now, I'm focusing on doing little things for myself that bring me joy. It's just going to be me throughout my life. I am alone, even if I have people who love me so dearly as much as I love them, and I mean this in the most optimistic way possible. My life is something that no one will ever experience for themselves, and no one will truly understand my experiences because they are not the person I am. Yes, I find solace in knowing that people have had similar experiences to my own. But I have to also understand that the only person who will make me feel better, who will help me push through the pain, depression, anxiety, or grief, and who will make me change is myself.

I'm the only person who will make myself happy. So, yes. I buy myself flowers.

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