September 10, 2021.
Something I’ve come to learn and accept about myself during the last few years is that I am, in fact, an introvert. As much as I wished it weren’t true at times, there will always be that part of me that needs to take a step back to breathe and be alone. When I ignore this, I often struggle to be clear-headed and present. So, I have been making a more active effort to nurture this side of me.
Being left alone with my thoughts, emotions, goals, etc. has been intimidating and really hard sometimes, but it has given me the chance to truly get to know myself. I finally began to answer the questions I’ve asked for quite some time now: Who am I? What do I want out of life? Who am I when I do the things that make me feel alive and happy and strong and loved and inspired?
I naively thought I had it all figured out before I came here. With so much time alone during the COVID lockdown, I thought I had finally become My True Self. And maybe I finally was My True Self in a safe, loving, home environment where I was comfortable, but was this way of being strong enough to hold up when all of those external variables changed?
Well, these last two weeks have definitely put that to the test. Not because they were extremely difficult per say (although shopping for basic necessities with every label in a language I don’t understand was at times so frustrating I wanted to cry)…but because my excitement and desire to do and see everything immediately meant that I was constantly on the go. I didn’t really leave any time to just be alone, or to process all the ways that my life was changing. Being here has challenged me because I tried to neglect one of My True Self’s most essential core needs: alone time.
I found myself trying to be a social butterfly who goes out any time her friends say they want to. I found myself constantly around people because how does one get alone time when she lives with 5 roommates in a town she has yet to know well enough to feel comfortable walking alone in? I became exhausted because I tried to push myself to be someone I wasn’t.
Like clockwork though, my body started to remind me of who I am all at once. It begged me to do something alone. It whispered, listen to me and slow down and it’s okay. I took my first solo walk to the beach. I floated in the sea. I took deep breaths. I journalled. I called home. I felt better. I felt better because I listened and found my way back to myself.
I see now that as hard as it had been to find and trust myself at home, my next challenge will be learning to trust and listen to myself in a foreign place, with new people surrounding me. I want to continue showing up in this world as my most authentic self, and that means recognizing that the foundation of who I am doesn’t change just because I live somewhere new.
I look forward to continuing to learn about who I am from my new home, new friends, and new experiences.