I was too young. Optimistic, hopeful, happy, ready to take on the world. After all, I thought, the world was my oyster and I could get anything I wanted if I worked hard enough for it.
Went to pubs to socialize in hopes of making new friends. Threw back a couple drinks so I’d be less of an introvert, and maybe another one or two after that to feel like I fit in with the crowd. Went to events I didn’t really want to go to, just to put myself out there. Spent time with people so I wouldn’t be alone. When it was over, it left me more drained than I was before. Poured, and kept pouring all my effort into dead-end interactions. Got nothing in return.
A year later, life isn’t what I thought it’d be when I imagined it a year ago. Moving back with my parents. Losing those “friends”. Finding out what toxic people did to my wellbeing, and how they slowly sapped me of who I used to be. Finding out my parents are just as toxic as the people I struggled to rid myself of. Nothing feels right anymore, and nowhere feels like home.
Fifteen months and a diagnosis with depression later, I sit alone on a Friday night. Girls walk around in heels, dressed to the nines. There’s a soft glow of the lights in the building, the same building I used to spend happier nights eating ice cream at 10pm, even in the freezing cold November weather. I can still remember what it was like to be myself, when I didn’t feel like there was an empty void in my chest. And it feels numb to look back on it and wonder where I lost myself.
That’s how I know I still have so much to learn from, so many people to meet, and so many years to figure out where I belong. It doesn’t have to happen right at this instant. There’s so much more to life than chasing people and chasing happiness in things that are only more exhausting. A few toxic people and a few lonely years don’t have to define who I’ll become.
Life isn’t picture perfect. It doesn’t have to be, but as long as I keep trying, I’ll eventually find myself again.