Questing

I’ve been on this quest to discover who I am for quite some time.

I think it started with my move to Germany. There I was in a brand new country with absolutely nobody who knew anything about me. That type of situation is just ripe for a new start, to begin again and truly start learning what makes up a person.

In that time, I learned that I can be bold when I need to be. When put into a situation when I really needed to start making friends and meeting people, I practically invited myself to this restaurant/bar-hopping event that led me to this wonderful group of people I’m still so lucky to get to call friends. Similarly, I had to navigate through train stations and countries that I had never been in before, knowing almost nobody. I was going to meet friends in both Paris and Switzerland, but much of my time in France was spent by myself. I learned that I can figure out solutions to almost any problem, which is an incredible feeling after thinking for years that I was just some hopeless waste of a person.

During that year, I also really started to cultivate my love for the written word. I started journaling almost daily and began to realize that when I actually tried, I had just enough natural talent to make an impact on others with my writing. I got several very encouraging emails from friends I hadn’t personally seen in years, and that support meant everything.

When I moved back to Texas, things were a little different. Looking through last year though, I’ve learned a few more things about myself. I’ve learned that I’m resilient. Being around people who actually knew about my marriage and who learned about all the actions that lead up to the divorce helped me see that I’m much stronger than I give myself credit. I can defeat those monsters and still have the ability to continue believing there is more for me out there.

I’ve also been a lot more emotional this past year than in the several years prior. I used to think of emotions, especially expressing them, as a sign of weakness. Even in the last twelve months, I’ve been so embarrassed when crying in front of someone. As a very wise friend told me once, after I apologized to him for losing it during a very difficult night and bawling my eyes out, that it was a real moment and I should never be ashamed of that. I was in tune with my emotions and trusted him enough to show how I was actually feeling. Learning my emotions has also made it possible for me to read other people’s emotions easier as well, which in turn allows me to help them through an uncomfortable situation or just to provide comfort.

So here I am, a bold, impactful, resilient, sensitive, and introspective person. I’m proud of those adjectives. They aren’t words I would have ever used to describe myself a few years ago, but I’m trying to be more confident, to be more invested in learning to appreciate who I am. People constantly preach “love yourself!”, which has always seemed like a selfish act, but I’m realizing that nothing can truly fall into place, nobody can really see the person that you are, if you aren’t willing to do that for yourself.

I typically don’t address any readers in my posts, because I like to think of this as a way to just get all of my thoughts out on a page, but if you are reading this, I encourage you to really sit down and practice this: get out a piece of paper, think through any hardships you’ve had in the past few years, act like they happened to somebody else, and choose words to describe that person after they’ve made it through to the other side. We often encourage others far much more than we encourage ourselves. Try to encourage yourself. It works wonders.

Israeli West Bank barrier - March 2014
Israeli West Bank barrier – March 2014

listening to: Tame Impala

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Self-Living

A year ago today, I had huge hopes and dreams.

A year ago today, I was leaving part of my heart in Germany, but I had a plan. I was moving temporarily to Texas as a stopping point until moving to Alaska at the end of 2014. A year ago today, I was in love.

Those close to me know the story. I had finally gotten out of a marriage that was only doing me harm, and I had reconnected with someone who was the first person I had ever liked. We hadn’t gone into anything with the intention of a relationship being the outcome. We were both still recovering from abusive relationships and found comfort in having someone to talk to who could understand those wounds. What started off as casual emails turned into long Skype sessions and eventually just constant conversation during those precious hours that we were both awake. I visited him that August, and those twelve days were spectacular. Nobody had ever understood me that wholly before, and I had never understood someone else on that level. I thought he was it. The end all in partners.

Becoming involved with someone so soon after my divorce wasn’t something I had planned. I was still in the stage of not wanting to ever be with anyone because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to truly trust someone again. I hadn’t given myself time to heal, because part of my moving to Germany was a way to run away from the problems and allow myself enough time to gather my thoughts before dealing with the serious issues lurking in my subconscious.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise when I moved back to the states, but everything almost instantly fell apart and I had no idea what to do. Suddenly, I found myself unwanted in Alaska, unwanted in Texas…unwanted practically everywhere I wanted to be. However, as I struggled though most of this, I began to realize part of the issues was that I was putting my value in terms of how other people viewed me.

I’ve been back from my reality break in Germany for exactly a year now. For a year, I’ve been trying to learn how to see my value outside of others’ opinions, outside of how people act toward me. It’s been a struggle. A massive struggle. It’s been something that I fail at on almost a weekly basis. The person I thought could actually love me through all the monsters changed their mind. Losing that love has caused a down-spiral this past year, but it’s thrown lesson after lesson straight at me.

In a week and a half, I’ll be getting yet another fresh start. I’m moving back to the only place in the states I’ve moved to solely for myself. I’m returning to school, I’ve got a new job, blah, blah, blah….the only important thing to me in this moment, in this reflection time leading up to my move is this: I’m moving to continue my growth as a person. I’m moving to learn more about myself, to prove that I can survive on my own, to fight my own battles, and to discover what I truly want out of my life.

In my life so far, I’ve tended to live for others. I’ve concerned myself so much with pleasing those around me that I’ve lost sight of who I am and what I can accomplish. If I could condense different advice I’ve gotten from a multitude of friends this past year into one phrase, it would be “you have to be more selfish”. I hate that advice mostly because I’ve been taught to not be selfish my entire life, so the idea of living more selfishly is completely opposite of what I’ve known forever. However, living that way has cost me so much in the past few years. Living that way has prevented me from doing things that I can truly be proud of. Living that way has stifled the life I want to be living.

So this year, I still have huge hopes and dreams. This year, I’ve got goals. I’ve got direction. I’ve got a version of me who is finally learning to be strong on her own. No more outside influences, no more giving up what I want for other people, and no more relationships until I can get myself on the right path. This is probably the most intimidating step I’ve ever taken in my life, but with great risk comes great reward, right?

Alaska - August 2014
Alaska – August 2014

listening to: S. Carey