"We go any time
Though I'm not always with you
Oh, I'm not far behind
Know I'm happy now
And I'm doing the best I can
With what I know how
Oh, I'm doing the best I can
With what I know now" - Dearest by The Paper Kites
As I sit here in the front room, a room I never really spent much time in before, I'm looking across into the empty dining room. Where there once was a table filled with friends and family, takeout dinners, home-cooked meals, stories about school and late night board games, there's nothing but boxes. There's a square of paint on the wall as a reminder of the hope I had of making this place a home, making it ours. But the stark white surrounding that one spot of color tells me that this was never going to be home. The half-finished projects feel much like myself. They were started with ambition and care, but discarded when they took too long or weren't quite what was expected.
And I know that isn't my fault. I know none of this was for a lack of love or trying, at least not on my end. But I'd be lying if I said it wasn't difficult to see my entire life thrown into boxes all over again. It isn't easy taking those first steps, but I've finally reached that point. I don't have the weight of "what if" on my shoulders anymore, and that's a feeling of freedom I hope everyone is able to experience at some point in their lives. Starting over isn't easy, but falling into yourself, digging deep, and finding that little seed inside that makes you, YOU, is something irreplaceable.
I lost myself somewhere along in this journey. I got quiet, reserved, beaten down, and just overall sad. Anyone who really knows me, who knows the person that I have always been, can tell you that I am not quiet, I am not reserved, and I don't like to be told who I am or what I should be doing. I'm stubborn, many times to a fault, and I can be difficult. I'm not afraid to admit that because I know it to be true. I've spent a lot of time being the girl who was scolded for talking too loudly, laughing too boldly, speaking out of turn, and sometimes being unintentionally hurtful with my blunt honesty. And while those aren't always things to be proud of, it's who I am. I've never wanted to fit into a mold and I've never wanted to just be like everyone else. I will give every last penny, every thread of clothing I own, and every ounce of love and effort I have to give to others. If I care for you, I will do everything in my power to make sure you know it, and I want all of you reading this right now to know that this includes you, too.
I finally feel like I have the freedom to be who I am again, and some of you might not like who that person turns out to be. That's ok. You don't have to like me. You can think I'm brash, sarcastic, even tasteless. I've been called the entire rainbow of adjectives and that's fine. I've reached a point in my life where I realize how important it is to always stay true to who you are. If the people in your life can't handle the person you are and ask you to be someone else, you can politely show them the door or just silently move along, collecting a tribe of those who appreciate exactly who you are. This isn't to say that you shouldn't apologize when you're wrong, take ownership of your shortcomings, or seek to change unhealthy or damaging habits. Never stop looking for the best version of yourself, but also don't ever betray the person you know yourself to be. The right people, the right partners, the right friendships, won't ever require you to become a block of clay that they can mold to their own liking.
If you are going through anything similar, or are even struggling with a past experience of the same kind, just know you aren't alone in that. Find your people and throw your arms around them. Squeeze them tight, hold their hands, kiss them with passion, be their rock, but let yourself lean into them, too. Tell them every day how much you love and appreciate them. Give them shit if they need it, laugh your ass off, and be comfortable with being yourself. Fall into place with the people who fit your puzzle, who just make sense in your life. Cliches on cliches, but they're cliche for a reason. They're all words worth being repeated.
All of this is just to say that things can be hard, they can be emotional and confusing and seem dark, but there is so much light in yourself and within others. Don't be afraid to follow that. Find yourself, find your passion, find your people. Chase after all of that and don't ever look back.