After finishing twelfth grade, I left the comforts of home and began a new chapter of my life. It has been more than seven years since I've been living alone. The experience has been exciting, empowering and also quite daunting at the same time.
Moving away from home is not easy. Forcing oneself out of one's comfort zone and barging into the world of the unknown is difficult. Despite some lows, I would say that my experience has been pretty good and I do not have much to complain about. However, there are times when stress and anxieties creep in and try breaking me down. "It's alright," I say to myself. "This too shall pass. It is only a minor setback in the grand scheme of things. In the end, all this just won't matter," I continue to rationalize. There are days, however, when such reassurances do not work. In those moments, I find myself tossing and turning, thinking and re-thinking things over and over again. Sometimes, I feel that my head will explode because of the never-ending eruptions of my thoughts. In those moments, I wish I could just hit my mind's 'pause' button and decide to run the world later but, unfortunately, not all wishes come true.
It is in such moments of insecurity that I actually feel the pinch of being alone. Not having a support system is hard because it means I have no one to lift my spirits when I am down. It means that I have no one to remind me that I am capable of handling whatever craziness is tossed my way.
Being independent has its perks but it also has its fair share of disadvantages. Nowadays, I feel that I am so used to doing things on my own that I find it almost impossible to admit before another person that I need help. It is becoming progressively more difficult for me to even talk to people about what is going on in my life. Still, there are days when I brave an attempt and actually ask a friend to meet. But meeting impromptu in a city where everyone has so many priorities isn't a piece of cake. Most of the time, these sudden plans never work out and I find myself sinking deeper and deeper into the marsh of insecurities. These days, I feel I am stuck so deep inside that I don't think I can be pulled out. I am not sure if I even want to pull myself out. The marsh of insecurities, which earlier felt so uncomfortable, gradually ceases to bother me. It now feels so familiar that I embrace these insecurities as if they had always been a part of me. Sometimes, I realize that I am being unreasonable but I feel it is alright - sometimes, one can be allowed to be unreasonable.
At one point of time, I needed encouragement. I needed someone to tell me that I am a wonderful person. I needed to be believed in - to be told that I am brave, smart and capable of accomplishing all the dreams that I dare to dream and much more. I no longer need these reminders because I am no more the person I used to be.
Things that earlier meant the world to me, today, don't really mean much. People who I was, once, very close to now feel as good as strangers. I still have a perpetual smile on my face but it does not reach the eyes. Today, I am in better control of my emotions and, unlike before, I do not allow feelings of anger, exasperation or despair to show on my face.
Perhaps, this is what it means to be truly on one's own - when you have no one to fall back on but yourself. You can be your harshest critic but you can also be your best friend. After all, no one can really know you better than you know yourself. We always find it easy to notice our shortcomings, but how many of us actually pat ourselves on the back when we feel we have done a good job? People can't be around all the time but you can always be there for yourself. It is tough but I believe it is possible. I have now embarked on the journey of becoming my own best friend. When are you taking the step towards becoming friends with your own self?