Raw and Unfiltered Me · The Journey of Self-Love

On Self-Love and “Growing Up”

This year is proving to be an interesting… learning experience. So, why not write about the jumbled thoughts in my brain about what I’ve gained (besides weight) so far.

One important thing: you never stop learning.

I used to think back when I was a teenager that by the time I reached the age of twenty, I would have everything figured out. Magically. Maybe it’s the movies I watched, maybe it’s just the weird illusion/stigma that every kid has ingrained in their mind. Which is that adults have it all put together.

Well? They don’t.

WE don’t.

If anything, I think it’s worse. Suddenly, you’re bombarded with problems you never really had when you were in high school. Back then, all you ever thought that about was whether you’d pass a subject or a grade. But the moment you graduate, it’s about whether you pass life or not. There’s this pressure to BE somebody and you had to do it fast.

“You spent your youth figuring out who you are and what you want to be! So??? What are you waiting for????”

I don’t know.

“Well, BRENDA is going to be a flashy stewardess and she’s going to travel the world just like she said she would when you two were kids!!! How great is that? And what about YOU???? Don’t YOU want to travel the world???”

I mean, I guess. But my eyesight’s poor, so I think becoming a stewardess is out of the question.

“And have you heard that Martha’s getting married??? She’s got a baby on the way too! How unexpected was that!!! Maybe having a boyfriend now isn’t so bad now, huh?”

I don’t really… care?

Those were my usual answers. For approximately four years, I didn’t really care about these things. I was nineteen when I graduated college. I was just glad I was done with studying. I was done with dealing with professors who scared the crap out of me. I was done memorizing all sorts of terms that weren’t related to my course. I was done with having to wear a uniform at least five days a week. But who knew that what lied ahead would be an even shittier time in a shittier place?

When you’re lost in the haze of all societal pressure in the form of small talk or careless comments, it tends to get to you. You start to question if you’re doing things right. You start to compare yourself to people your age, some you don’t even personally know thanks to social media. You start to wonder whether you’ll get through another day without feeling inadequate. Then, all of a sudden, some of your friends follow the same path as everyone else. Forward. Whether it’s a better career or a new family.

So, how do you score in the standards of society again?

At that point, it wasn’t hard to believe that you’re going nowhere. That you’re some lost slug, just yearning for some sort of epiphany in the muddy route you chose. And truthfully, it wasn’t a pretty sight. I also had personal issues to deal with.

Stillborn career, terrified of commitment, not getting any younger, still does not know how to cook or drive, and gained weight. Not to mention, there were (and are still lbr) problems in this country that ached both my head and heart.

For a long while, I wasn’t okay. I felt like a fraud. Here I was, talking about loving myself and not caring about how other people would view me for almost two years, but one minor slip-up like weight gain and I’m immediately turned into a fucking mess. Back to square one. As if I never even thought about liking myself ever. As if being kind to myself was a sin.

But I had to suck it up. After all, there really was no use in everyone else knowing what I was going through. When you’re an adult, it’s always “better” to deal with things yourself. You should take responsibility for your own prissy ass concerns. Faking a smile or a laugh wasn’t something new to me either. And days passed in a blur. I didn’t really want to talk or see anyone, in the fear of making my internal crisis worse. Which definitely didn’t bode well for me as my depression almost got out of hand. (Interact with your family or friends, kids. You don’t wanna go through the trouble of attempting to take your own life!)

Funnily enough, I started to feel better with this drastic change through yet another drastic change. Or a difference in perspective rather. I’m not going to go into too much detail about it, but it made me realize something: that we see things the way we want to see them.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaattt though??? Right?

We see things the way we want to see them, even if it isn’t necessarily true. I used to think that a certain guy from my past liked me, but just didn’t have the guts to tell me. I actually liked him (A LOT. Like first love kind of ‘a lot’), but was way too naive, stupid, and scared to say anything. We basically ACTED like a couple, but shrugged it off as a close friendship. Even if almost everyone around us used to say that there definitely was something more to it. Your typical childhood cliché.

Whoops.

Might’ve revealed a little too much there but oh well.

For the LONGEST time, my brain believed that he never made a move, because he was chicken like me. That we never took it to the next level, because our friendship was way too good to be upgraded to something more romantic or that maybe we were too young to understand, let alone act, upon our feelings. But hey, guess what? Life’s a bitch. And she slapped me across the face, told me that this guy actually liked a really close friend of mine. Not me. So, I better get my head out of my ass before I start doing things I may regret.

I did. A little too fucking late, but I did.

And because of that? That one tiny revelation? It’s as if I woke up from this nightmare of negativity. Everything still isn’t clear to me, but at muthaeffin’ LEAST, I know my worth. Also that, perhaps, we’re not supposed to have everything figured out as adults. Possibly, that is the beauty of life.

I may not know where I’m going, but what I do know is what I have right now is making me happy. My career doesn’t have to skyrocket and I know I’m growing with the work I’ve been blessed with. I don’t have to get with an old friend, because of I’m afraid of commitment. Because people change and there are literally more than seven billion human beings on earth. And who’s to say that not one of those is someone I can connect with like I did with an ex-best friend?  I don’t have to know how to cook and drive right away, I just need to know that I’m willing to do it someday.

Who CARES about what age you are? It’s just a fucking number. Who CARES if you put on a few pounds? You can always live a better and healthier lifestyle whenever and wherever you want. And in your own way, because you’re doing it for yourself. No one else.

Like I said, we see things the way we want to see them. And not one person in your life is going to be able to change that except you. At the end of the day, it’s all on you. Sure, it helps to have a positive support system. But they are there to provide a helping hand, not a piggyback ride.

Most of all, I learned that there is no one straight, clear-cut, shiny way of achieving self-love. As you can tell, it’s hard work. Some days, you’re going to like yourself. Some days, you’re going to hate yourself too. And that’s okay. I think a part of the journey urges you to see, acknowledge, and eventually, embrace your flaws in order for you to become unapologetically you at some point. The internal struggles are never going to stop. But better to be at peace with that than suffocated in it, right?

Everyone is a work in progress, even at the age of seventy. Because each passing day is made for learning and growing. If we stopped doing that, then we’d be Trump. HAHA JK. But not really.

And as the great Lee Jieun once said, “I got this. I’m truly fine.” 🙂

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