Excavating And Exorcising: To Find Yourself.
Finding yourself is really, really hard. What is that, anyway? Taking a shovel to the dirt and grime of past hurt and present insecurity, excavating and exorcising it.
Over time, life experiences mold you into something. Abandonment by old friends again and again stacks up against you, until you don’t really want to make friends anymore. Past patterns say this will hurt, so you don’t really bother. Even if you change yourself to fit in with those people, it makes you miserable.
You aren’t living the life you want to, but someone else’s.
I know friends are essential. The good friends I have are wonderful, and they bring me a lot of happiness. I hope I can do the same in return, and their love is important to me. Another love was never as important — my love of self. I saw people shot down for self-love, named arrogant, self-serving, attention-seeking.
I used to think the same way, because I didn’t understand it. As I grew into a teenager, I started hearing people telling me and my peers to embrace my individuality and love myself.
The two ideas were at odds — love yourself and be labelled as selfish, or hate yourself and be pitied (and sometimes even encouraged and celebrated). Spending a lot of time with people who hated themselves fostered self-esteem issues that I’m still learning to let go of, even now, at the age of 22.
I’m learning not to automatically say Sorry, especially not to people who wronged me, just to keep the peace.
I’m still young and still learning. Having to learn to trust myself and rely on me when I need to is a difficult lesson. My friends are amazing, and I’m so grateful for them. I love my sister for not allowing me to wallow in self-pity. Achieving something always makes me feel so much better than negative self-connection.
As a poet, I have tried to transform my pain into art. I know I sound like a tortured artist, but I’m not, really, I promise. I’m just making the best of my experiences. Often I’m not sure what I feel until I’ve written it into a poem.
Sometimes mistreatment makes me angry, because I invited it by being too submissive. Sometimes it just makes me nostalgic for what was, or what I thought it was. Other times, I feel complete joy, because I got through it, and became stronger and loved myself better as a result.
People hold a mirror to the self like nothing else can, I think. I found things I wanted to change because I wanted to change them in others. I found brutal honesty hurt me in the moment but was necessary in the long run. Lately I’ve tried not to sugarcoat my thoughts too much.
People-pleasing is easy to do, if you sacrifice yourself in the process, but I no longer want to do that. I just want to be me and find people who love that soul.
I really, truly hope you love yourself. Seeing what self-hatred does to people and their relationships is absolutely heartbreaking to see. I want better for you. I want you to know that you’re secure in your body, that you can work together with your purest gut feelings to achieve what you want. I hope to see you on the road ahead.
Josephine Hicks is a poet living her best life and listening to the call of the Universe for her purpose. She longs for a questing existence. Challenge is something she embraces (after digging her heels in a little…) and she is a fighter at heart. She loves love. Unable to settle for long, she is an adventurer. She wants to honor those who are the best at what they do. Fearlessness is her aspiration, and nature is her teacher. You could contact her via her website.