How do I even begin to write about the feeling of living alone and all the trials and triumphs one faces while living alone? It's not easy, that's for sure! It's not easy to make the decision to get out of a life you knew for the longest to be true. It's not easy to be left alone picking up the pieces to your life and putting the puzzle together — alone. It is not easy to truly strip yourself of the person you once were and completely become vulnerable to your own demons, no, but it is worth it. It is worth buying your own groceries with the food you like, it is worth decorating your place the way you want to, it is worth blaring 30 Seconds to Mars, Frank Sinatra, and DMX at 10:30 a.m. (if you even feel like waking up that early). But most importantly, it is worth learning so much about who you are as a person, what your place on this earth is, what your place to yourself is, your interests, your skills, talents, your habits; good and bad. Living alone is about finding yourself.
Certain situations that life creates causes people to grow up and become years beyond their age, they learn to adapt to "the real world." For me, I was 17. My former long-term boyfriend had moved in with me and my mom. That did not last long — the three of us. He was living with us for two months before we all decided to take a trip down to Miami (my hometown) for the holidays. That trip, my mom told me she was moving back because she took a job there and that my former boyfriend and I had to be responsible for the bills. At this point I had just turned 18, just ending my freshmen year of college, I didn't know what to say or how to feel. It was a bittersweet feeling.
The first few months of us living "alone" together were fun but also chaotic. Not chaotic in a violent way but we had learned so much about each other that we did not know before, good and bad. Back track for a second, we met when I was 16 and he 17, I lived in Miami and he in Orlando. We were together for a year and a half long distance, so whenever we did hangout in person, it was always smiles and rainbows. Fast-forward, you know the cliché saying, "You don't know a person till you live with them"? Well, it is so true. By the summer of that year, the lease was up and we needed to find a place quick and affordable. We did, really close to Downtown Orlando and it was great, in the beginning. Now I'm not saying he is a bad person, because he's not, but we both had different journeys we needed to embark on and being together was hindering that growth.
Now, we're in the new place and the first month was awesome! Life finally felt figured out, I felt like I finally found the person I am going to be connected to for the rest of my life. We lasted four months in that apartment together...
I started seeing the person I was, was not who I wanted to be. My interests were not his. My hobbies were not his. We had two different agendas in life. My grades in school were suffering; I was working two jobs to keep up with bills, making it harder to focus on school anyway. In those four months, I became a mother, a housewife, and a "homie" all in one. I was always skeptical about cohabitating just because I knew it end in a break-up or a stagnant relationship. In my head I wanted all these things from him, but in reality, he couldn't give me that. Not because he didn't want to, he just didn't know how. It wasn't until I fully reflected on myself and how I was feeling and read through some old writings and poems, reading the pain, the battle I was facing with myself, to wake up and realize that I was dying to myself, my True self. I use a capital "T" because there is "Truth" and there is "truth." "Truth" is what is inside, being True to ones own self. That is when I realized if he wasn't leaving, I was.
So I did.
I went to the gym one day and thought it all through, I went to my leasing office and everything fell into place. Everything. That's how I knew I needed to do this.
I owed it to myself.
Once I found a place, it was available that same week. From that moment on, I knew I was about to go through a radical transformation. I realized the strength I had, the power to change my life was in the palm of my hands. I just had to realize it.
Once I got settled in, that's when the real transformation began. There were nights when I cried myself to sleep, nights I wouldn't even go to sleep, nights where I would just sulk in the sorrow of a three-year relationship ending. It was tough. I was only 19 and I felt like I aged 10 years. At the time, I didn't have the support of my family, just my mom (who was in Miami) and a few friends I made along the way. It was a huge obstacle actually having to face my demons and the "guilt" for changing someone else's life when they weren't ready for a change — alone.
Through that, all those nights, alone, I allowed myself to feel the pain and the hurt so I could learn to adapt to this new life. I tapped into places of my soul I never knew existed. I started painting, I started writing more, I focused on school, I was getting great grades, I met some amazing people, I bought food that I liked and stocked my fridge and pantry with all my favorites, I started cooking more, I dated people, figured out what I liked and didn't like in a partner, I was becoming my True self.
I found myself.
From that moment on, choosing myself and being selfish, I knew life could only get better. You learn your own strengths and your own weaknesses. If I were not meant to become the woman I am today, none of that would have been possible, things wouldn't have fallen into place so gracefully.
So, from reading this, I hope the most important thing you can take away if you're in the same boat, stuck stagnant in life...always choose yourself, stay True to yourself because it is not impossible to create the life you want.
I dare you.