A Word on "Finding Yourself"

“Finding yourself” isn’t really how it works. You aren’t a ten-dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. “Finding yourself” is actually returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.” - Emily McDowell

reading bana Photo by Fabiola Peñalba from Unsplash

 I have felt so unlike myself lately. Screens have completely consumed my life to the point where I’ve forgotten what it feels like to really live. My family has always called me an old soul, so you can only imagine how difficult it is for me during this time of very little human interaction and real connection. I’ve fallen into an unhealthy routine of laziness and can feel my mind constantly going through the motions. It almost feels as if quarantine took a part of myself with it. 


Well, that’s a scary thought… As I pondered that idea and was on the brink of an identity crisis, I decided that I need to revert back to the basics of my life. We’ve lost so much normality. I continued to find myself missing who I was before the pandemic. Reader, when was the last time you asked yourself what makes you happy? I hadn’t asked myself that question for a very long time. So, in the hopes of returning to my “normal” self, I decided to go back to the most basic thing I can think of: calling my mom. 


Hearing her voice gave me instant comfort and her words gave me clarity. 


“Kelli, you need to take a step back and take some time for yourself.” 


So, that’s exactly what I’m setting out to do. 


I stumbled upon that quote (shown above) from Emily McDowell, and I’ve been looking at myself through a different lens ever since. I was never lost and I never needed to “find myself.” I’ve been here all along. “Finding yourself” implies starting from scratch—a clean slate, never having been discovered. But we don’t need to discover ourselves. We are alive. We are young. We can see, listen, walk, dance, think, and experience the world in our own unique and beautiful way. 


So, what makes me happy? Remembering who I am makes me happy. Flowers make me smile. Candles make me want to create art. I am organized, yet messy at all once. Scary movies are my favorite. I love to write, and I’m smiling as I type this. I am passionate. I am sensitive. I have so much capacity for love. That is who I am. I may not feel like myself at the moment, but I refuse to let the current situation redefine who I am. As the world seems to be spinning out of control all around me, I’m trying my hardest to find the eye in the middle of this hurricane. Checking in on yourself is so important. So please, do something that makes you happy today. Remember who you are. Smiley face on the street Photo by Jacqueline Munguia from Unsplash