I often say that I’m a paradox. Google defines a paradox as a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.
Oftentimes, I feel like I have contradictory thoughts that should not coincide, but form such a crucial part of my identity. Two aspects that seem like polar opposites combine to become the eclectic, sassy person that I am.
Confused? Let me explain.
I love being alone, but I also love people.
Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I am a homebody. I keep to myself on the weekends and prefer a night in to going out. I still have fun and lead a fulfilling life, but I do not need to always be around people to enjoy myself. And yet, I crave a sense of belonging. When I am alone in my bed watching Netflix, I always welcome the company of my friends. I will stay on FaceTime for 12 hours (true story), just to feel like I have someone there with me. I belong to organizations on campus to get that sense of belonging, but rarely attend group functions unless I’m feeling up to it.
I love trying new things, but dislike adjusting to change.
Traveling is one of my favorite activities because I can meet new people and indulge in a different culture and lifestyle. It is a new environment and change of pace, but going to a new country and adjusting to time differences and a different way of living is challenging. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world though.
Another example of this is when I try a new hobby or activity, and then have to find a way to structure it into my daily life. I may love my new activity, but my day is structured and finding time to fit it into my routine is tiresome; but the experience from a new activity is liberating.
I have a hard time getting close to people, but I am sentimental.
I have kept every card I’ve received since I was 5-years-old. I have gifts from people I do not even speak to because I find sentimental value in them because they remind of the person I used to know. I’m a sappy person, but it takes a while for me to build up to that point. I am hesitant to let anybody into my world on a deep level, so I tend to maintain surface level friendships outside of the people I have known for years. But when you are finally let in, I won’t ever forget you. I cherish those in my life.
I love the way I look, but feel pressure to adhere to a beauty standard.
I try to radiate confidence in everything I do. I walk with my head held high and try not to let the opinions of other people break me. People frequently tell me that they love the way I carry myself and that I inspire them to not care about petty opinions. I love hearing those things because it makes me feel better about my insecurities. For years, I would straighten my hair because I was never comfortable with my thick curls. I would go on crash diets to lose weight when I was only 128 pounds. I even contemplated bleaching my skin, but even with these thoughts that permeated my brain, I still manage to dress up everyday to prove to myself that I can look good and be beautiful.
It can be difficult having polar thoughts combine to create the person you are. I think everyone struggles with conflicting ideas about how to live and what to do, but when every single thought that invades your brain conflicts with the next one, it is stressful. My tips to anyone who can relate to anything I said would be to follow your heart and trust your values. When your brain can’t make up its mind and you experience cognitive dissonance, your moral compass is what should guide your decision-making.
Feel free to share your experiences in the comments if you can relate!