As of recently I realized that I was sick of feeling like I was constantly in the shadow of the people I loved. They were all finding success doing their own thing, and I was stuck a few steps behind watching them flourish. I found myself doing activities not because I enjoyed them, but rather because my friends enjoyed them. I figured, “hey, if so-and-so is having fun doing this, then there’s no reason why I won’t have fun too.” It was a simple thought process; I was positive it couldn’t fail me. I mean my friends and I are similar people, that’s what makes us friends. So it should make sense that similar people are good at similar things, right?
I gave every activity a (non successful) shot, but the last straw was the track team. I walked into the first practice feeling good about myself, I mean how hard could running be… *cough* hard *cough*. But it wasn’t even the running that made me leave a week later. The running I could deal with. I don’t mind when things are hard, it was the fact that when I looked around everyone was smiling and laughing and cracking jokes. Yet, I wasn’t having any fun at all. Don’t get me wrong the people were super nice, it’s just I wasn’t enjoying myself the way everyone else was. In fact I was having an awful time. The clock was moving so slow I could’ve swore we were traveling backwards. That’s when it kind of hit me. Just because this is my friends “thing”, doesn’t mean it’s going to be mine. I had to take some space for myself and figure out what my niche was (SPOILER ALERT: you’re reading my niche).
Now this “space” thing I referenced didn’t come without effects. I grew apart from some people who used to be closest to me. While I was walking around trying to figure out who I am as a person, I realized that I no longer agreed with the way I was letting certain people influence my life. I started standing up for myself with friends who I had previously let push me around. I began to look past high school and came to peace with the fact that these four years of my life are important… but it’s only four years. With this mindset, I stopped pretending to care about petty things that I had faked cared about in the past in order to fit in. Those dumb issues truly didn’t matter to me, so why act like they did? I quit letting other people’s opinions and the anxiety of what others might think keep me from doing what I wanted. I started branching out to new people and trying new things. And the results of my new and improved “living for myself” lifestyle were incredible.
I am more confident than I have ever been. I don’t require people’s approval to do things anymore because I approve of them myself. I no longer need my old friends to be apart of everything I do. Because as much as I love my friends, I have to love myself too and standing in their shadows did nothing but make me feel powerless. I stopped playing a background character in my own life and now I’m playing the star. And let me just tell ya.. being the star is awesome.
Plus on top of all of that, I found my niche. This whole writing thing I’ve been giving a go? It was scary at the beginning and it still is scary sometimes, but I love it–I truly do. It makes me smile and laugh and crack dumb jokes (that you’re stuck reading…sorry). I am finally feeling what those other kids on the track team were feeling all those months ago. Looking back on all the time I wasted trying to be the person everyone else wanted me to be makes me cringe because I don’t even recognize that girl anymore.
This girl however, the one that’s talking to right now (or typing to you I guess), that’s the girl I will proudly claim as myself. This girl has come out of the “shadows” and found her “thing”…. and it feels pretty darn good.