Summer 2018: Learning How to Put Myself First

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Summer’s coming to a close, and as I pack up all my things to leave for my last semester of college, I’m realizing that I grew a LOT in these two months that I was home. I left Boston at the end of June completely drained. I had been surrounded by toxic people and environments that I couldn’t easily escape and I was still trying to grapple with a traumatic event in March that left me feeling incredibly unsafe in this world. The first half of my year wasn’t pretty, and I was deflated from it all, but I knew that whatever struggles I had were only setting me up to become a better, stronger person. I just needed some dang time!

 An hour spent on the lakefront would completely turn my day around, no matter what!

An hour spent on the lakefront would completely turn my day around, no matter what!

 My city is gorgeous and yes, I went on this boat tour twice this summer.

My city is gorgeous and yes, I went on this boat tour twice this summer.

Fast forward two months and everything I assumed was true. As soon as I got home I began pushing myself to put me first. I got an unlimited hot yoga pass, spent afternoons sitting by the lakefront, started really focusing on mastering my curly hair regimen, sought out new friends in people I vibed with, and treated myself to all the me time that I hadn’t been afforded in the first half of the year. I slowly felt the tension in my head and heart melt away. Finally.

The thing about choosing myself is that it’s not something that particularly comes natural to me. When I get carried away in life, my default is to put myself to the side so that I can manage everything else going on around me. Just FYI, this is NOT how you should do things, and I work on changing this pattern of behavior every day.

This summer, I learned what it meant and how it felt to choose myself. When I got home, my first move wasn’t to figure out ways to make money or get right to socializing with every person under the sun. It was to take as much time as I needed until I felt centered. Instead of considering the feelings of people who I had no business considering, I lived my life on my terms, choosing my company and activities the way I wanted to. Some weeks I spent completely alone, working on myself. Others I went all in, partying with old friends and not going to sleep until 6am. I took hold of what hadn’t felt like my own life in six months. It felt amazing.

It wasn’t all sunshine and daisies, but it was pretty close. The Universe threw some major curveballs at me, and I swear, once August arrived that eclipse energy came at me swinging from all directions. Suddenly, I felt like all the work I had done to restore myself was being challenged. I found myself having to answer this question: was I a stronger version of myself who knew how to set boundaries, even with those I loved dearly?

Turns out, I was. Here’s why.

Even though someone loves and cares about you, it doesn’t mean they’re meant to be in your life. Everyone understands love and care a little differently, and sometimes their versions of it don’t suit others. Receiving love that is conditional, for example, is something that I've found doesn't suit me. I had to take a good look at my intuition a few times this summer, make some tough decisions about who I allowed to be in my life, and if their presence was worth my mental health taking a jab. So I mustered up the strength to set boundaries, and said no to people I loved dearly because sometimes knowing they love you back isn't enough. 

 I might've mastered my curl routine, but the wind had other plans for my lewk that day.

I might've mastered my curl routine, but the wind had other plans for my lewk that day.

YUP. I did it. Your girl set boundaries, and because of it I feel like I took back parts of myself that had previously been lost. In a lot of ways, it actually wasn't about them, but rather how my feelings were compromised when I engaged with them. I've noticed that the more I short change myself, the less confident I feel. To get through this wild but awesome thing called life, I've got to say no sometimes, and that's okay with me. By putting my foot down I took back my dignity, my strength, and my belief that I too mattered. BOOM. I’m thriving again and I am loving it.

Summer 2018 restored me in ways I never thought imaginable, and now I get to lay on a beach in Cabo for a week before I start my last semester of college. Here’s to the ending of old chapters and the start of new ones, lots of love, and the inner peace I so craved.

What ways have you transformed yourself this summer? Comment below!