Maybe it’s out of habit or just in my personality to over-apologize, but when I first sat down to write this post, I had every intention of starting this post by apologizing for our absence for the past ten weeks. Maybe it’s because I’d like to think that people actually care about this blog and about what I have to say, but the truth is no one but me and Brandon really care whether this blog is active or not. And since I’m already being honest, the truth is that I’m not sorry for having taken this time off. The way events unfolded at the end of last year forced me to really reflect on and confront the consequences of my actions that I put into motion years ago. I needed that time off to step back so that I could move forward.
For those of who have been on this journey with me since my last blog, Transient Withdrawal, you will remember that after a five-year relationship had ended, at 22, I was desperate to reclaim my independence and discover who I was. I was bitter and panicked that I had let a relationship make me miss out on many critical milestones in my early twenties, and so I felt compelled to do a crash-course to catch up with my peers. I was finally able to do college the right way during graduate school where I found friendships outside of my hometown circle. I was finally able to have those awkward dates and quick flings–both of which quickly turned into funny stories I could finally share with my girlfriends. And last year, I was finally able to move out into my own space. I was so adamant to get a quick and easy claim to independence that I felt so strongly that all of these experiences and milestones would bring me up to speed with my peers. Looking back now, at 26, I was naive and impatient to think becoming independent would be so quick and easy. It has been neither. Just like with a plant, you can’t rush growth, especially when it comes to personal growth.
j: skylark pleather jacket, brandy melville striped t-shirt, zara distressed skinny jeans, mansur gavriel mini bucket bag, dolce vita kadie boots, raybans sunglasses
b: blk dnm jacket #5, american apparel striped t-shirt, rag & bone jeans, rag & bone boots, raybans sunglasses
For the majority of my life, I prided myself in being selfless and thoughtful. I figured that these were good qualities in a person and in a friend, and I wanted to be a good person and a good friend. I also figured that if I put others before myself that others would do the same. Likewise, I thought that others would give as much as they received. Looking back now, I can’t be too sure if my intentions were entirely pure. I’d like to think that I gave without expecting anything return, and that I was selfless because I was humble enough to put others before me. After seeing myself in this way for so long, I distinctly remember when Brandon called me selfish for the first time. I got so defensive. I felt like he was attacking my character. This positively great quality that I was so sure I possessed was being more than just questioned–it was being dismissed by a person who I loved and who loved me in return. It bothered me for a long time, and I’d be lying if I said that it still didn’t haunt me or make me second-guess my intentions and decisions of today. No one ever wants to be called or seen as selfish, especially by a loved one. I am thankful that he still loves me despite my selfish tendencies, and that he is patient with me to remedy them. Back then, I mistook being independent for being unapologetic. It was empowering not having to be sorry for what I did and for what I wanted. Still very much like a child, I thought this was what it meant to be an adult, but it’s irresponsible to think and live this way. What I slowly learned was that there’s a very fine line between selfishness and independence–and that fine line is intentionality.
I’m embarrassed to admit how slowly and unwillingly I realized my selfish tendencies, especially in 2015. It took a great loss of friendships that I never thought could be lost to make me realize and confront who I had become since my quick declaration of independence in 2012. It’s not that I took these friendships for granted; rather, I thought that these friendships, that have withstood the test of time and distance, could withstand my need to break away and discover who I was. But in just looking at that last sentence alone makes me feel even more embarrassed that I didn’t realize that I no longer put others before myself, and that I was receiving more than I was giving. Almost as if it were like accruing store-credit, I think in a way, I felt entitled to having this time to take more and give less because I had been so selfless and thoughtful in the past. I felt that last year, after all this time, it was finally my time to cash it all in. I guessed, or rather hoped, that my friends would’ve understood that I needed and wanted to put myself first for once, because I’d like to think, especially now, that I would’ve understood if they needed the same space for self-exploration. I needed to be selfish then. I thought that this understanding was the ultimate demonstration of being selfless, and therefore, of friendship; and maybe they did understand, but it might not have been what they needed or wanted from me as their friend. Through all of my self-exploration, I didn’t give much thought to their needs or the journeys that they were going through themselves. I assumed that my intentions were clear and harmless, but you know what they say when you assume things…I definitely made an ass out of myself, and maybe out of them too.
When my friends and I finally hashed it all out, I accepted blame because I wanted to be the bigger person and take responsibility for my actions. I also needed them to understand that my intentions were never to hurt them. Thinking back now, even my apology had some selfish agendas to it: I needed to clear my conscience. I wanted us to patch things up and thought an apology was all they needed. I guess what everything eventually comes down to is intentionality. I was still not thinking of them, but of myself more. I was being selfish, rather than unapologetically independent. My actions were a truer representation of my intentions, and in the end, my friends made their intentions clear. I was deeply hurt. I beat myself up for it for months and was scared to pursue new friendships. It felt like a horrible and painful break up–I had to take time to grieve; I had to take time to reminisce; I had to watch their lives go on without me on social media; and eventually, I had to let go. It still pains me that friendships that had begun in elementary and middle school ultimately came to an end at my own hands, but just because I miss them sometimes doesn’t mean that they have to belong in my life now. This casualty of friendships has simultaneously humbled and empowered me. I’ve learned to accept the mistakes that I made and will always be grateful for how these women have shaped my life. I will take it as a lesson and try my best to keep moving forward. Ultimately, everything I go through will grow me.
I guess the biggest takeaway from 2015 was that I needed to start living more with intentionality and less out of habit. I want to be intentional with my time. Wherever I am, I want to be all there–mind, body, and soul. Whatever I do, I want to do it completely and wholeheartedly. Whoever I am with, I want to be with them deeply and passionately. No longer will I hang out with someone out of obligation. Life is too short to spend it with people you don’t connect with or doing things you don’t enjoy. I feel that I am now starting to surround myself with people who inspire me to be better: creative souls who are passionately and fearlessly pursuing their dreams. In 2016, I am going to do my thing. I am still going to be unapologetic about it, but this time, I will be aware of my intentions and how they’re reflected in my actions. I feel in order to do this completely and wholeheartedly, I need to be honest with myself, including my selfish desires and needs, and patiently accept myself despite those selfish tendencies. This year, I am going to do things intentionally with the understanding that the outcome may be different than my intention, and with the faith that everything will happen the way it’s intended to.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is intentional.”