What makes you lovely?

"Automatically, I gave Ashley a lot of grief when she asked me to answer this question. I had no idea what I would say. How was I going to answer this question without sounding conceited? I hate having the attention on me. I hate taking up space. Et cetera, et cetera. But as I thought about this question for the past few days, I realized I had a hard time actually deciding what I was going to write about: Was it my innate value of giving back to others? Or that I’m finally pushing back on the years and years of being “the bubbly one” and thus, not taken very seriously? Was it that I moved across the country on my own and now live outside of my comfort zone every single day to discover what I truly want out of life? Or was it my optimistic responses to life’s daily (err, almost-daily) challenges? After Ashley asked me this question and me thinking “what am I even going to say?!”, I’ve found that I had too many things on the list.

So, I think my answer boils down to this: it’s a combination of it all. I like myself. I’m proud of where I’ve been and who I’ve become. I’ve learned how to give myself credit when I grow, and how to pick myself back up when I fall. After years of feeling this strange isolation that comes with always being “the bubbly one,” and then isolating myself even more by moving thousands and thousands of miles away (twice) on my own to escape that persona, and then trying to keep that optimism in the face of crappy friendships and relationships and stressful jobs and the struggle of “fitting in” to such a foreign, “hip” community when I feel like the dorky mom most of the time, I’ve become my biggest ally. I’ve learned how to do things by myself like going to the movies, going on hikes, and going to shows – and actually enjoy it. I’ve learned the importance of treating myself (commonly known as ‘treat yo’self’) and don’t hesitate to do so when I’m feeling the need. I’ve promised myself to learn how to approach loneliness less as something to be scared of, but more of something to embrace. 

And with that, I now officially feel conceited and feel like I need to take a nap because that was a whole lot of vulnerability. However, I wanted to use this opportunity to show that, as women, we shouldn’t always feel the need to be putting ourselves down, comparing ourselves to others, or not giving ourselves the credit we deserve. We face some pretty serious stuff, and we get ourselves through it like the damn champs we are. I am worth my own respect and care and friendship, and so are you. 

I’m lovely because I’ve become my own best friend.

(DISCLAIMER: I’m not a total loner. I have been lucky enough to make (or renew) many wonderful friendships during my time in Oregon, like thought-provoking do-gooders like Ashley and my roommate Sophie who puts up with those less-than-optimistic days and always lets me borrow her clothes like the dress I’m wearing today – thanks Sophie!)"