Photography: Morgan Daniels
I believe I clung to idea of wanting a super tight knit group of people because I didn’t want to or didn’t think I could correctly make my own hard choices. Decisions like ‘What to do you think I should eat?’ or ‘Do you think I can pull off these colors’ didn’t occupy my mind as much as ‘Do you think he’s worth all this trouble?’ or ‘Am I making the right life altering decision?’ And in that desire, I tried to align myself with people with virtues and values I admired, in hopes that being in their life would bring insight into mine.
But in the last six months, I have realized that my closest friends have branched into different phases of their lives that I’m no where near or more terrifying enough – may never reach. As excited and proud as I was of them, I couldn’t help but feel that thattheir lives would strain our relationship and I would end up alone with no “guidance”.
All of this uneasiness sat in the back of my mind, making it harder and harder to hide my disappointment and annoyance when busy schedules took the people I loved most away from me. I thought it was jealousy at first but I realized it was more selfishness that stemmed from a fear of having to sit and figure out my shit on my own.
No too long ago, one of my professors casually asked to speak with me after class. As reluctant as I was to go, the semester had just started and it was never too early to start academically ass kissing. I walked into his office, full of souvenirs and trinkets from every corner of the world. He began to rattle off students who had bestowed each gift to him and what amazing feats they had accomplished since leaving his academic care. I listen politely but was completely unaware of the relevance to me. Just as he began to lose me, he made a sharp turn into my psyche. I had never met the man prior to that day and he knew nothing more than my name and my face but he spoke so directly to my insecurities that I began to tremble.
His long winded but insightful stories about former students painted stories much like my own of uncertainty and mistakes. He bluntly told me I’d have to figure it out alone but not “alone” alone.
“Everyone will have a different idea for your life because of how they see you and not the way you see you.”
We all have a voice that pushes our best interest and intentions for our lives forward. Through the mess of life, it gets easier and easier to drown it out and avoid checking in to see if we are actually taking care of ourselves. Unfortunately, the more we drown that voice out, the harder it is to hear it when we finally stop to listen.
As hard as it has been to sit with myself and ask questions like ‘So, what do you really want to do?’ , I have found a that there is a quiet sanctification I have discovered from making my decisions on my own. Even when they are terrible, I’m able to sit with consequences rather than wallowing in self loathing. By no means do I have everything figured out but I certainly do feel more content in my process.