I found love in the deepest, darkest, loneliest, and most hopeless place. In a place that was covered in ashes and buried far beneath the surface. A place where love was least expected to be uncovered and the light of happiness was sure to never shine. I found love inside of myself.
I spent an entire year peeling back every destructive, insecure, damaged, and broken layer to find the love within myself. I spent twelve months riding my mind of all the negativity, clearing my life of all the unhealthy and toxic relationships, and throwing out all the senseless insecurities. I spent 365 days doing more enjoyable things for myself, exploring new interests, taking chances, being bold, and ultimately learning to dance with my confidence. This year has been one of the most challenging years I have faced. Every year comes with different struggles, and previous years have not been a walk in the park, but there is something about this year that has made it harder than usual to stand on both feet. I was tired of trying and I gave into the world. I believed that I wasn’t beautiful or I was too fat to love. I believed that I didn’t have the effort or grades to finish college and go onto graduate school. I believed that my depression was too much to overcome and I was destined for a life of loneliness, misery, and hopelessness because of it. I truly thought that I was not meant to have a life of happiness. But now, love has begun to sprout through. I am no longer crippled by the fear of other people’s judgments. I can leave my apartment without an ounce of makeup on and go about my day, I can wear Nike shorts for two weeks straight and not feel lazy or like a slob, and I can go three weeks without shaving my legs and still wear shorts in public. But on the other hand, I know that I can rock a romper with my well-loved converse, I get happy any time I can break out my eye shadow pallet, and I make my style my own without breaking the bank. I am CONFIDENT in what I wear and where I go because I don’t need the approval of others to feel comfortable in my own skin. I don’t feel self-conscious about my weight, my natural face, or the possibility of being overdressed because I am not here to please people or impress them. I started doing life for me and dressing for me and it has been the most freeing thing. I haven’t ignored the fact that I should shower, shave my legs, and lose more weight, because those things do need to happen, but they will happen on my time frame and for me, not because you think that I should. Because of this mindset, I have learned to love myself and I have learned what I deserve. Several people have walked out of my life this year, and others have come in for a short time before deciding not to stay. I have the ability to take this to heart and take it out on myself. I could look for every flaw within myself and become miserable over the fact that I was not good enough for that person, but what good would that do? I am a great person, and an even better friend. If people chose to walk out of my life that’s not something I am going to work myself up over. I know who I am and I am confident in that. I used to think that I needed the approval from the world, affirmation from a man, and a blessing from my family before I could feel confident or like I had the ability to be happy with myself and love myself, but how wrong was I. So, even in one of the most challenging and hopeless years of my life, I discovered one of the most freeing and beautiful things within myself, love.