A few days ago, my sister and I had a talk about typical conversation-opening topics. One of them being about traveling. We exchanged ideas of places to go like Greece for the scenic views, or the beautiful beaches in New Caledonia, and Vietnam for the infamous Pho. I expressed how much I wanted to travel at least once in my life, alone. The idea of me roaming the streets of a new place where I couldn’t even understand the language is daunting enough to be honest, but I do dream of traveling solo. Her face displayed slight confusion and became curious as to why I’d ever want to do that (considering my safety, of course). I told her it was simply because I wanted to be happy being somewhere (anywhere, really) by myself. After I said that, she had the biggest smile. “You go, babe. Love yourself!” was what she said. I turned away and made the most factitious smile. It was so fake that she definitely could tell that my mind was in the state of discomposure. “Yeah.” That’s all I could reply with poise. That big smile I told you about, faded quickly after I said that. She asked me, “You do love yourself… right?” Nothing but silence flooded the room; I heard nothing. I was even slowly losing sight of what was around me. Then this plangent voice roused me back into reality, “NO!” Then I realized, I don’t love myself. Not the way I’m supposed to, at least. I lavish myself with pretty clothes, shoes, books; material things, really. But no, I don’t adorn myself with the kind of love that makes me feel like I’m not alone even if I was surrounded by family and friends; or the kind that allows me to sleep at night without constantly worrying if tomorrow will go bad for me [again].
I want to be happy with myself. Whether if I was alone in my room, or in a social event where I could barely move with all the people around me. Yes, I live contently by myself in the refuge of my placid room. But then again, the term content is completely different than truly loving yourself. I’m content being alone in my room because I know nothing will happen to me. But having love for myself is never having to worry about anything happening in the first place because in the end, I will always have me.
I want to smile because I’m genuinely happy, not just for the aesthetics and favorable impression on that picture of me on social media. I want to laugh at how easily I mess up on the simple things, like how I trip a lot while I walk if I don’t look down at my feet; not just because I want to constantly fit in with the crowd’s jokes. I want to love myself in a way that I don’t have to overly stress on whether the idea of “loving” the good and the ugly sides of me by anyone is real because I love me already.