If there’s one thing I could take away from all the unpredictably chaotic things I’ve learned during my teenage years, it would be that love is like water — transparent and colourless, yet essential to live.
However, this didn’t come naturally to me.
In fact, for years I had a tendency to decipher love as something I must have for someone else.
Trapped in that mindset, I had been unconsciously suffocating myself.
Meanwhile, indulged in my own distorted perception of love, I failed to realize that I have zero control over other people’s opinions or actions.
I became so invested in loving someone else, that during the break-up period, I felt as though my entire world was crashing down.
And then someone asked me, “do you love yourself?”
At the time, I didn’t understand why that mattered, and for awhile, I kept telling myself that what I was feeling was normal. After all, he completed me.
It wasn’t long before I found myself at war with my own thoughts, held hostage by my own internal conflicts.
Do you love yourself?
This always seemed to linger in the midst of my reflections, challenging my interchanging thoughts hand-in-hand. Puzzled, I began to realize that even if I wanted to love myself, I didn’t know how.
I didn’t know who I was anymore.
During one of my many moments of low spirit and melancholy, while scrolling through Facebook, I came across a quote that hit me hard: “falling in love with yourself first doesn’t make you vain or selfish. It makes you indestructible.”
From this point on, I stopped polluting myself for the convenience of others.
Instead, I embarked on a new journey of self endearment.
Starting small, I detached myself from my cell phone and stopped mourning over text messages that didn’t exist. Alternatively, I always smile at my reflection in the mirror each and every morning. Neglect never did anyone good. Advising myself that it’s okay to make mistakes, I learned to make peace with my flaws and be kind to myself regardless.
Next, I went about viewing everything that was happening to me as a learning experience. Shifting my mentality, I stopped allowing negative situations to ruin my spirit. Instead, I simply acknowledged them and continued moving forward.
As hard as this experience has been, and still is for me, it’s taught me that I am an amazing person with endless potential, with or without him.
I am beautiful.
I am strong.
I am like water.
Shauna Stubbs is a Grade 12 student at Belmont Secondary who is taking the Writing 12 class.