It's July 4th, 2015.
I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 3 years less than a month ago, and I am sleeping with a friend of mine. I am trying to turn it into a relationship, denying the unavoidable grief and pain of impulsively smashing down the notion of a happily ever after with my fairytale Englishman.
I am numb.
I am seeking meaning, seeking purpose, and seeking love.
I am avoiding eye contact with myself in the mirror.
I am looking up at the fireworks, standing alone both physically and emotionally, questioning the meaning of it all.
Did I make a mistake?
Am I ever going to stop self-sabotaging?
What's the difference, anyway?
I am always going to be alone. I feel anchored to this truth.
Even in the closest of relationships, we are alone.
But why is it that we don't always feel lonely?
It's January 11th, 2017.
It is now.
I'm listening to "Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and Courage to Stand Alone" by Brene Brown on Audible. She is quoting Maya Angelou, and a particular statement stands out to me:
Dr. Brown is deconstructing this statement. At first, it made her angry and confused. Don't we all seek for belonging, and only feel whole when we belong to someone, to some place, to some group of people?
We consistently jeopardize our integrity and ideals in order to feel a sense of belonging.
We tell ourselves we aren't good enough and change our appearance, our values, even our dialect in order to fit in and feel as though we are a part of something.
So what would belonging to ourselves look like?
Right now, I belong to myself.
In this second, I do not belong to my relationship, to any particular friend or group of friends, to any society or culture or human construct of normalcy.
In this moment, I belong solely to me.
When I take off my headphones, re-enter the world, and leave the comfort of the zone I have put myself in while I am home sick and removed from social media in this moment, I may seek for belonging again.
I may scroll through Instagram and Facebook, subconsciously or overtly comparing myself to my peers or celebrities who appear to "have it all together," and I will feel lonely.
I will stop belonging.
Maybe, just maybe though, I can stop this cycle.
Maybe I can write about it, speak about it, and hold myself accountable to my own ideals and integrity, one moment at a time.
Maybe we can belong to ourselves together and apart.
Maybe I can remind myself that I am already whole.
Maybe I can stop myself from engaging in gossip or judgment around people who are doing so.
Maybe I can set boundaries for myself to not be surrounded by toxicity and chaos.
Maybe I can continue to belong to myself.
Because in this moment, I am whole.
And I would not trade this moment for anything.