Thursday, July 6, 2017

I Belong to Myself

I started this post a few weeks ago, quite optimistic and determined to reaffirm the sense of being fiercely independent that I so value by reveling in the fact that I would be ringing in my birthday alone. I had never really celebrated my birthday as a child. My parents wouldn't throw birthday parties for me, saying they were costly or too much hassle. In fact, my mother eventually started saying that I should be celebrating her on my birthday because she gave birth to me. I stopped enjoying my birthday because it was a reminder that I owed my existence to someone else.

I don't owe anyone anything. To acknowledge that fact, I wanted to make my birthday my own holiday dedicated to myself, a celebration of my own existence for my own existence's sake. I wanted to enter my twenties a completely independent person. I wanted to work on self love, learning to appreciate myself, building a perfectly consolidated identity.

But what I've suddenly realized is quite simple — I've already spent twenty years being independent. It's time I break out of my shell and connect with people, difficult as that is for little introvert me. I'm not going to develop an identity in a vacuum, and what is a perfect idea of self anyway? Some people in life aren't meant to stay forever, but hopefully they'll teach me something about myself. It will be painful, and awkward, and I might get hurt if I trust the wrong people, but that's all part of the identity-building.

Maybe someday I'll need to reconnect with my sense of independence again. I have a tendency to overcorrect, so it's possible that I end up placing too much of my identity in my relationships with others, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I am confident in my autonomy, and I'm ready to enter a new decade with a new approach to my place in the world. ◊

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