Learning to Love My Own Company.

June 6, 2018

“to heal you have to get to the root of the wound and kiss it all the way up.”

In the last 4 years I've hit "rock bottom" twice. Initially, it wasn't something that I was brave enough to talk about. But as I've learned in the last few years, you go through many hard things in life in order to be able to help others in their time of need.

The first rock bottom:

4 years ago I had to face an unfathomable tragedy, the death of a sibling. Growing up in a family of 6 I always had a "buddy". I never dealt with anxiety or the fear of being alone. I always knew that I was in good company with my siblings. Flash forward to 20 years old and my BEST friend on this good green earth is now gone.

From the moment I got the news, I didn't want to be alone. The majority of my senior year of undergrad was spent sleeping on the living room couch of my Track & Field teammates. I honestly probably owe them rent money for how often I stayed there.

This new fear of being abandoned seemed to carry over into my friendships, family relationships, and my romantic relationship.

Fast forward to somewhere in the last few months + years :

-Single. (the second rock bottom)
-Graduated from undergrad.
-Living far away from all my friends.
-Working 3 jobs.
-Trying to figure out what's next in terms of school.

It's hard to lose one best friend, let alone two in such a short window of time. 

Looking back I know hitting rock bottom for the second time was one of the best things that could have happened to me at the time (minus losing all the weight, not eating or going to class for 3 weeks).

It triggered this insatiable desire to be happy.

I realized that I attached my happiness to a lot of people.

People are fleeting.

LIFE is fleeting.

Everything could be fantastic today and then you wake up tomorrow thinking "Nahhh, this isn't it for me."

 It sucks, but it happens. Everyone is entitled to their own happiness, ESPECIALLY if it doesn't include you.

It's a dangerous mindset to attach your happiness to a person. A person that could be gone quicker than they entered your life.

In the last 10 months (we'll round up) I've made a conscious effort to do the things that make me happy. There are so many things I used to do that I just stopped. No real reason behind it I just stopped.

Things like :

  • playing the piano
  • leisure reading
  • running
  • writing (I revamped the blog and this time I'm being more consistent. Now if only I could start journaling daily we'd really be in business!)
  • going out with my friends.
For the most part, these things require me to be alone.
  • working out alone (CONSISTENT exercise really does affect your mood!)
  • sight reading and playing piano by ear
  • curling up in bed with a good (or bad) book.
  • writing my blog posts. (I will say that I always have the urge to write up a storm when I'm at work and it's hectic.... read as VERY LOUD)
All of these things are so simple, but I forgot how much they bring me joy.

Don't confuse this with hating myself.

I just didn't like being alone. When I open up to people + make myself vulnerable to them we essentially become magnets. You know so much about me now + I'm terrified of losing you, so now we need to spend as much time as possible together because I need you.

 I could literally spend the whole day, 12-16 hours with my boyfriend at the time or my best friends and still cry the whole drive home because I didn't want to separate, even if I was going to see them the next day.

Traveling alone has helped a tremendous amount with becoming comfortable in my own company.

Places I've traveled alone:

  1. Miami, Florida
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. Austin, Texas
  4. Hickory, North Carolina
  5. Boston, Massachusetts
4 of those being flights and 1 solo road trip to NC.

I won't lie though, many times I wished I had someone with me. It's always nice to have someone to make new memories with.

I took the healing process one step further and started taking myself on dates.

 I love love. I'm a  milk chocolate covered marshmallow. I want to feel all the mushy feelings. I love spontaneity, I love proposal videos, I love surprise flowers + edible arrangements, I love the cliche twitter posts where the boy picks out the girl's outfit and tells her to get dressed for dinner, I love it all! One day I came out of work and saw a coworkers car covered in roses and I melted.

So knowing that I'm emotionally unavailable, I made the decision to start taking myself on dates.

  • Pedicures
  • Ice cream dates
  • Dinner dates
  • Massages
  • Shopping trips
  • Movie nights
The list goes on.

Point being: I'm not going to wait for some man to do all these sweet things for me and then be "disappointed" when none of it happens. Why create problems that can easily be avoided?

As weird as it sounds, being alone has helped me be more social. It also sounds crazy because I want to go into healthcare, a very social field and I used to be deathly shy.

Now, I have no problem making small talk, holding eye contact for longer periods of time, INITIATING CONVERSATION, and expressing my feelings.

Back in February, I went to an open house for a nursing school that I absolutely loooooved! I introduced myself to The Dean of the school, talked to professors, asked so many questions and on the drive home I thought to myself, "Wow, you really did that! And you weren't nervous + shy once!"

For a solid 3 months (mid-August - November) I just kept to myself. I essentially fell off the face of the Earth until I could really tolerate being around other people. I needed this time to really work on my codependency. Initially, it was the feeling of:

  • I can't even tolerate being around other people right now without getting annoyed or wanting to burst into tears.
Even today, 10 months deep in this journey/process/ whatever the hell you want to call it, I still have to catch myself at times.

In order for me to make necessary changes, it really took me getting to a point and thinking "I'm getting the way of a lot of amazing things I want from this life."

I'm too old to be shy clinging to other people like my life depends on it. At a certain point, it's no longer an excuse or cute. It's different when someone has known you since you were 14 so they can justify you being shy. I'm 25, no man is going to think that's cute, because it's not.  Not even thinking about a man, it's simply not cute. At what point do you stop making the excuse "I've always been shy," and start accepting responsibility/ the reality that:
  • Talking to strangers makes me extremely uncomfortable, but that's ok because that's something that can be changed! However, it's ok only if I'm willing to work on it. and not use it as a crutch. 
It's been a long process, still working through this process, but a very necessary process. Being vulnerable isn't a bad thing. More specifically, being vulnerable to the right people isn't a bad thing. Getting hurt is inevitable. But sheltering + isolating myself doesn't help. I firmly believe that learning to enjoy my own company has made me a better friend and will one day make me a better girlfriend + spouse. I hope this can help somebody, even if it's just one person.

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