What a year 2019 was. So many ups and downs, I learnt so much about people in that year. I feel like the whole time I was on a long journey to finding the one thing I’ve always felt like I was missing. A place I truly belonged.
I went from thinking I’d found it early on in the year, to feeling like I’d lost it and the many low days that followed led to self-deprecating thoughts of being a failure, of being someone that wasn’t good enough or interesting enough for anyone. Landing me right back where I’d started, in a place where I was beginning to accept that I would always be alone, that the only person I could really rely on was myself. But, like we all have to, I kept going, because when it comes to life, there really shouldn’t be any other option.
I built relationships back up again, refusing to give in to the temptation that it was perhaps oh so much easier to just embrace being alone. I knew I could never be happy that way, I needed to keep trying until I found the people that got me, that could love me for who I am, baggage and all.
In so many ways 2019 was the best year of my life, but also one of the most difficult. I had achieved everything intellectually that at that point I wanted to. I knew anything in the academic arena I could have done if I had gone for it, I had enough confidence in myself to know that when I was determined I could do it. It wasn’t educationally that I felt inadequate. It was in myself I didn’t feel enough. I didn’t know who I was anymore, I had a complicated relationship with my Mum which neither of us wanted to revisit for fear it would make our relationship even worse, unsalvageable, and I felt like I didn’t have many close friendships that would look past the cracks and see that despite my mental struggles I wasn’t weak, I just needed a friend.
I was scared of being misunderstood, of people assuming things that weren’t true, I was scared of being treated differently, like I was fragile, when in reality I was anything but that. I was just tired of pretending all the time.
2019 did that for me, it sent me searching for the thing I thought was out of reach. It gave me a place in a world I had started to doubt was even made for me. It gave me people that wouldn’t judge, people that understood how struggling felt and wanted to stand by my side rather than try to save me like some superior heroic figure. It gave me people I could rely on, but also people I could laugh with. 2019 gave me back my relationship with my Mum, I worked through some of my biggest fears, and had conversations that I never thought I’d have the courage to do.
Maybe it was the right time, the right age that meant I stopped being so afraid of what would happen if I was more open, if I became ‘real.’ I was always the girl at school that had to be perfect, have perfect clothes, perfect make-up, be talking to guys, have an exciting, adventurous life. Perfection gets tiring. Leaving and going to university I let go of that, I became a truer version of myself, and I struggled with friendships. Then, I found the real friends, the ones that didn’t care about perfection, I found a place where I belonged.
So many people struggle with friendships and home life, they feel like they are completely alone in the world, like no one could ever understand them. It’s different for everyone of course, but loneliness I can understand, I think we’d be surprised by the amount of people that can. Unfortunately, we are often our own biggest obstacle, and we have to overcome our own fears and insecurities, figure out who we are before we can tell other people, and expect them to accept us. It’s not an easy world, it’s a judgemental one, but if all the lonely ones were to come together and form a friendship, I have a feeling we’d outnumber those that aren’t. So, remember that the next time you feel alone, because in thinking that, you’re not really alone at all, and someday if you keep going long enough it will change, and someone will really see you for who you are.