Who am I? #1

may 5I am nearing the end of this year of self-reflection and I feel like ….like…. like I didn’t understand the world before.

When I started this autonomy project it was because I needed it. I was a conflicted, scared girl and now I am a less conflicted, gentler woman.

Who am I? is not a destination – it’s a process. By the end of my Year of the Selfie, I will have recreated myself 365 times. And on the day after my birthday, June 20th, I will recreate myself for the 366th time.

But the important thing is that it is me do the recreating. It is no longer my anxiety, my emotional turmoil, my family, my peer group or all the social pressures around me. What’s important is that I have an essence, that thing that is me….that thing that stays me even when I screw up.

This project isn’t about – and was never about – figuring out who I am – it was about figuring out how to figure out who I am.

And I’m a little closer. Over the course of this year, I fought and made a truce with my anxiety disorder. I reported a sexual assault. I coined a new medical term.

I fell in love – and I had my heart broken. I found a soft place to land. I learned how to set some important boundaries; I learned what love actually was. I sought God, thanked God and enjoyed God.

I went to South Africa and Italy. I finished my French degree on purpose and took a Yoga class by accident. I ran a marathon and then a half-marathon in the cold.

I experimented with every part of my style every chance I got. And I pushed myself to accept my body – my face without make-up, my fat days, and my teeth.

I dated a whole bunch. And I drank a lot more.

And then I told the world about it. The exposure was the best part – confessing all my shameful secrets on the internet unburdened me of them. They were no longer my secrets, but they belonged to the world – and the shame dissipated.

Before this autonomy project, I had no idea how much shame I carried around with me …on a daily basis. I didn’t take stock of how many of my thoughts were not my own. And I didn’t keep a record of how mean Anxiety was to me – how much verbal abuse I subjected myself to all the time in my own head.

Before this project, I didn’t know what abuse was.

Before this project, I had no way of forgiving myself. And throughout this year, I challenged myself to be okay with myself. That is still ongoing.