Don't Try To Run Away From Yourself

Don't Try To Run Away From Yourself

"Happiness isn't a location. Home isn't four walls."

When I was 16, I wanted to run away from myself. I remember not being able to sleep at night, wishing I could slip out my window and just go. I had no idea where I wanted to run to, or how this would exactly fix my problems, but I remember wishing I could disappear more times than I was happy to be around.

I thought it was just because my friends were taking different paths than I was, or that I was realizing my “first love” relationship was probably coming to an end soon and I wasn’t ready to let go, or that I was just being a typical melodramatic angsty teenager. Although all these were part of the reason for my discontent, the ultimate reason was that I just didn’t like myself. And when I wanted to run away, I wanted to run away from myself, not everyone else.

I was really lucky that my mindset changed early because I still see people trying to run away from themselves in their twenties. It wasn’t an immediate process; a lot of factors played into my changed perspective and went into completely changing my life.

First, I personally realized I couldn’t continue hating myself forever. I needed to find all the things I liked about myself and capitalize on them, and then I had to find all the things I hated about myself and find peace with them. Sometimes it’s still a struggle; I think I’m a little too talkative and loud, sometimes I don’t think before I speak and I’m overall very attentive, almost to the point where I am needy. But today, it blows my mind that there was a time I used to lay awake at night and think it made sense that I felt so lonely, or that I deserved to feel lonely. I can’t believe I ever thought I didn’t deserve unconditional love.

Second, people came into my life and made me never want to leave their sides. Again, because I didn’t think I deserved unconditional love when it came to friends, I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. When were they going to get sick of me? When were they going to realize I wasn’t someone they wanted to be around? When were they ultimately going to abandon me? This was something that had become a little bit of a pattern when I was very young, and I had grown to expect. But then I made these friends, and they were kind and funny and accepting and loving. And people can’t fix you, but they sure made me want to fix myself. I dropped my hang-ups and never in a million years would I expect them to not be there for me. I’m lucky enough to have friends both from my hometown and my college, whose love and affection I never doubt. It made me realize that not only I’m an incredibly blessed, but that sometimes we think we have wanderlust because we’re looking for the right place to fix all our problems, but really we’re just looking for the right people.

Finally, I met some people who wanted to run away from themselves, and it made me realize how ridiculous the whole thing was. I loved people who didn’t love themselves, who thought moving far away would change not only their lives but their outlook on themselves and their situations. I couldn’t grasp why someone I loved so much wouldn’t love himself or herself, and I couldn’t grasp why they thought changing their location would solve all their issues. I knew it wouldn’t work, and I was right. Watching them make this mistake made me realize I never wanted to make the same mistake again.

Happiness isn’t a location. It’s knowing that you deserve the best, and having the strength and self-respect to fight for it. It’s being unequivocally you and being proud of it. Home isn’t four walls. It’s the sound of someone’s laughter. It’s the guarantee that you have someone to run to even if you are thousands of miles away.

It’s great to have wanderlust and to see the world. It’s great to want to move far away to experience something new. But these things won’t change who you are. These things won’t make you happy, unless you’re happy with the fact that you will always be taking yourself with you. You can live in your hometown your whole live, or you can move all over the world, but none of it matters if you aren’t happy.

Cover Image Credit: Jolie Delia

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Stand In The Mirror

An exercise in self-love.


If you're reading this, then I want you to stop what you're doing right now, get up from wherever you're sitting, and go stand in the mirror.

Yes, that's right. Close your laptops, put down your phones, and walk to the closest bathroom, or vanity, or wherever else you can see your reflection the most clearly. Pretend like you're the only person in the world for a little while.

Are you there? Good.

Now I want you to look at yourself, very closely.

Start with your eyes. How beautiful they look underneath the light; you can see all their colors, just like a painting! Something that unique belongs in an art museum, don't you think?

Those eyes of yours have seen so many wonderful things. Think of all the sunsets they've allowed you to witness, all the times your best friends have grinned from ear-to-ear and all the books you've read.

Now, look at your lips. Think of all the lovely people they may have kissed, all the Thanksgiving dinners they've touched and all the funny faces they've helped you express.

Think all of the times they've opened to exude laughter and joy, to express awe and other associated feelings words cannot express.

Now it's time to examine your arms. Shrug your shoulders and admire the way they fall so gently at your sides, like water flowing from the mouth of a river. Think of all the wonderful things they've helped you to reach, of all the trees they've helped you climb and monkey bars they've helped you swing through. Think of all the people they've hugged, and all the dogs they've helped you pet.

Finally, move to your legs. Think of all the races they've helped you win, all the hurdles they've helped you jump through and all the lengths they've helped you swim.

Think of all the pristine places they've carried you to, and reflect upon all the places you'll soon be heading to.

Can't you see now that you're a masterpiece, dripping with color and beauty, emotion and experience, from every fiber of your being?

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