For a seed to reach its highest potential, it must first come completely undone. It must let go of its exterior; it must prepare itself for the leaves, veins, and organisms that are to come. A seed breaks itself down, recklessly like I did, only to change into a flower someone wants to pick from a garden. Within this past year, I learned lessons that broke me down so feverishly, I had to learn to pick myself up more than I thought I was capable of doing. I was unfamiliarized with growth until I realized that real transcendental change consists of precisely this, a beautiful, complete destruction that rises from the ashes.
My last year as a teen was the peak of gaining wisdom, insight, and the power my words held. It was the storm that brought all the clouds and commanded me to take reign of the thunder. It was learning to choose who stayed in my life and who left. It was a time where I forgave others for my own sake, and where healing was finding the peace God gave me when I was alone. It was understanding that life does not happen to me, but for me to grow, to prosper, to reflect, and to preserve my time for the people who make me happy that I am alive. In this time, I very well did the best thing I could do for myself; I let everything go, to see what stayed. I freed myself from the chains of conformity, prejudice, regret, and overthinking to breathe. I did this and trained on a diet of a solely positive mindset by asking myself the same question, “Are you happy?” when I hit a wrong or indecisive turn. I landed on the truth every time I asked myself this and absorbed more reality than I’d admit to myself. So while this age centers around choosing love partners and friends wisely, it is also meant for you to grow. For you to not worry about dating, or taking life too seriously, but discovering how beautiful life is when it revolves around protecting your happiness.
1. Social Media is Not All Real
Yes, there are beautiful and inspiring posts on DIYs and makeup gurus who have worked relentlessly to reach their dreams. It is not meant to make you envious of what you already have. The media exists to connect with family or those who may live long distance relationships when they haven’t spoken in a while because of responsibilities. Everyone is dealing with their demons, and no one’s posts reflect the entirety of truth behind who they are. I took a three-month hiatus from social media, and I felt like Ralph Waldo Emerson from “Into the Woods.” Just me, and my journal. I would document observations of funny conversations, comments that stirred up in my head, and my phone kept its battery on full for the first time. So, try to put your phone down, and go for a walk. We are full of wonder, so walk into the universe you carry for a bit. Your phone will be there when you get back, and soon maybe you’ll find yourself needing it a lot less.
2. Freedom is a beautiful State of Mind
It was one day while I was spending the day alone in Los Angeles that I noticed how incredibly alive I felt. I was living through these streets with a pose that felt invincible, and a stride that conquered. I realized then that being alone isn’t bad, as long as you face it head first. Going out with friends, or with a significant other might be a hundred times better to you, but the person you need to get to know the most in this world is undeniably you. So spend one on one time with yourself. When you set apart time to connect with the world, not just sucky wi-fi, you come to see that being in tune with your fears, worries, and ambitions are what makes you happy to conquer those mid-day negative thoughts.
3. You are Worthy of Love
During this time, I was in what I believed was a “healthy relationship” that ended up being one of the most borderline abusive. It brought down my self-esteem for a while, and it made me think for a second that happiness and love was not something I was meant to have. I came to understand that it was never that. It was just the person who was not right for me, showing me his way out of my life. I flew to New York that year in efforts to unwind, and when I landed, I realized how much bigger the world was compared to the relationship that was mistreating me. I wrote an email and broke it off while I was there, and it was the best decision I ever made. So send that message if you have to, and don’t let anyone treat you less than how you would likely treat yourself.
4. Memories Overrule Money
You only get small windows of chances in this life, and especially when it comes to making memories with loved ones. As you get older, sometimes the things you probably thought you’d still do become less appealing when the stress of responsibilities is overbearing. So if you want to go to that concert, go. If you’re debating on taking that plane with your best friend, go for it. Money is something you cannot take with you when you pass on from earth, but memories are something that you keep close. They are like therapeutic doses of love you can pump when you feel down. I feel that as I take a look back at moments, I created with loved ones who I don’t see as frequently, or the colors of festivals I have sown to my eyes. I thank myself for allowing my heart to guide me when it comes to making memories vs. not spending money. It is these times I am attached to the most and the instances where I can find pieces of who I am, in the most honest form.
5. People Come into Your Life for A Reason
I dwelled on this for some time as I loved my last year as a teen. I do believe we all have soulmates. However, some are for different areas of our lives. We can have a spiritual soulmate, a romantic soulmate, and a friendship soulmate. The String-Theory ties into this, which states that everything is connected to everyone. I met someone at the end of the year who did the most damage in my life, but also someone who I was destined to meet for me to become a stronger individual. I am convinced I met a soulmate, who like me, wondered like a mystique in the world. I keep this as a reminder though: not everyone you let goes off you need to keep a relationship with, but they are essential for adding experience to your life. Those memories, whether bad or good are untouched in time, and all that exists their moments, and what you took from the time you spent with them.
6. Trust Yourself and be Your Best Friend
I mean, (talk to yourself) about everything! You are your worst critique, and I tend to hate confronting myself, but when I started doing so, I came to a more desired, unfiltered version of who I was. Someone who I unapologetically want to be for others too. It made it easier to speak on issues of mental health, emotional abuse, and heartbreak. It made me accepting of loving too hard, or having a trauma-filled past that did not set me apart from others, but untied me, with the courage of speaking about it. I learned it is these exact things that I thought set me aside, that will allow me to make deeper connections with everyone around me. Not only friends and colleagues, but the influence on my job interviews, and the confidence to write with an authentic voice. Keeping in mind that you can only meet people, as deep as you’ve met yourself.
7. It is Not Your Job to Heal Others
Healing comes with time. Everyone’s experiences of healing occur at different intervals of their life. There is not one correct way to heal, nor is it your priority to make someone love themselves. Love pours into someone when they learn their lessons when they find the peace within the mess on their own, and when it is their time.
8. Keep Friends Who Only Help You Grow in Some Aspect of your Life
Along with my journey of learning, flourishing, and discovery friends have been an essential piece of life. When you’re younger, friends are the close people who you can pass the time with, and who naturally help you make new memories. Now, the friendships I have created deep-rooted connections with are the ones who add positivity despite the daily routine of our schedules. They have become the ones who won’t mind a FaceTime call to and from my car as catching up, and the ones who have taught me that compromise in friendship is indeed a long-lasting form of love. Friendships may grow apart, but building stronger ones with those same people is the beauty of the growing up.
9. Let Go, And See What Stays
When things fell apart, I continually tried to fix what I thought I took apart. In relationships, feelings may get clouded, and that is normal because love is anything but easy. Cooking up the right relationship takes spoonful’s of commitment, dashes of dedication, and a healthy amount of devotion. So, when things do not go the way you picture it in your head, breathe first and foremost, and be still. Let what is dragging you down go, and let it grow. The things that are meant to be for you fall into place at their own pace. God is leading you into the path that you need, not the one that you think will benefit you. Since I adopted this mindset, letting things, people, and useless problems go has allowed me to walk into my future, and step away from the past.
10. Pray Every Day and Be Thankful
Prayer is like food for the soul. That is a motto that sticks with me, under any state of mind. When I doubt, when I am weak prayer has been the key that opened possibilities. We fall into ungratefulness when we compare others to ourselves. We begin to acquire and possess objects of seeming value so we can feel as though we are who others want us to be. The real answer to sublimity is not in possessions, it is within us, in nature, and in God. The more thankful you are with what you have, the more your blessings manifest into greater abundance.
These are the reminders that through a day in and day out, have been worn on the palms of my hands. Having faith in God, and myself taught me that through the madness the beauty to start over exists, and once you understand that, the limits in surrendering to happiness are endless.