For so much of my life, I have felt alone, more so, I felt like a girl that didn’t belong. I was the girl that had a book in hand as the class walked single file to the cafeteria or recess; the girl who didn’t have much to add regarding celebrity drama because I didn’t follow it; the girl who (to this day) hadn’t worn a designer shoe and never felt the desire to do so; the girl who did not go to the parties at the skating rink or the kickbacks that spread through the school in misty whispers. Those ventures didn’t appeal to me and no matter how hard I tried to fake my interests to mirror that of my peers, I found myself alone. Even in college, I still felt like I was searching for my circle, and while I made memories with many people, I don’t feel as if I made connections. In the same breath, I also admit that I wasn’t always a good friend to others and that my tendency to be alone was repellent to others. Surely, I thought, there is something wrong with me if so many people can connect with others and I still found myself struggling.
When I began my spiritual journey, I did not know in the beginning that I would also embark upon a healing journey that pushed me to deeply explore this feeling of not feeling part of something. The part of not feeling accepted started with me never being comfortable enough to accept myself as was at any given moment. My personality and behaviors easily mirrored those around me. I could be a chameleon flowing in and out of spaces, changing my exterior to match whomever I was around. I truly didn’t know myself though I wanted so desperately to be like others.
The exploration of myself allowed me to lean into a more accepting position regarding my present reality and how I operated within the behaviors and narratives I created in childhood. I was a unique child, and I resisted the deep-seated difference I felt within me. Not surprisingly, this carried into adulthood, and without awareness, I operated in my younger self despite being in new environments. Even still, my goal was to feel like I belonged somewhere, even if it required that I put on a mask. But here’s the thing about healing and learning yourself—the mask has to come off. The last two years within SHYNE have been my first experience in embracing what it means to belong in the fullness of me, and not being afraid of potential rejection by simply being who I am—the nerdy, artistic, quirky woman. In this short amount of time of learning myself, I’ve gained the most authentic relationships that I have in my life. For the first time, I’ve been able to safely explore my idiosyncrasies without fear of judgment or the fear of blending in for the sake of “like-mindedness.” I can expand my awareness, speak on negative emotions, and come back to myself without wondering if I am being talked about when I leave a room. I can learn and accept what it truly means to be me.
I thought gaining friendships and romantic relationships required a bit more of a struggle. Disagreements, trauma bonding, and superficial connections have marred my previous companies, but my current reality is creating a new narrative that as I get more comfortable in myself, and as I learn to love myself, I attract people that are similar in nature, and they care about me and my well-being. I still am exploring this new road and I am curious how my healing journey will unfold and attract individuals that are not simply “like-minded” but individuals who care so deeply about their personal healing that they choose themselves, too.
I am grateful for the journey and for the people that I continue to encounter. I was never alone. I always had myself. It simply took healing for me to see all those valuable and wonderful things within me, and when I saw myself, I saw my reflections in others, and it is perhaps the most beautiful process I have witnessed.