Any kind of love I had for myself was pretty non-existent, so I tried to seek that love through others. Friendships, family members, relationships. I needed to belong. To know I was enough.
But when we seek externally for the things we truly need from ourselves, we will always be a little lost.
At 15, I just wanted to be “cool”. I thought that being cool meant that you snuck cheeky drags of a cigarette behind the oval at lunchtime – so that’s what I did. Being cool meant that you had a boyfriend – so that’s what I wanted. Being “cool” meant that I had to be someone other than who I was.
I didn’t think I was the prettiest girl, or the funniest, or the smartest, or the most athletic. In fact, I didn’t think anything much of myself at all. Everyone seemed to do things better, say things better and look better.
Perhaps that’s why I loved drama so much. I could put on an act and pretend to be anyone other than myself.
I was so caught up in who I needed to be, and who I thought everyone else wanted me to be – that I actually had no idea who I was.
This pattern continued into my 20s. A lack of connection to myself. All the importance was placed on the opinions of others.
When any attention is good attention, you know that there is so much pain underneath those layers of bravado, and that flippant “I don’t care” attitude.
Because I did care. I cared more than anyone could imagine. I felt like I needed to scream. I wanted to much to be seen. I wanted to be seen for who I really was – but how could I let myself be seen when I so lost?
If you said jump, I’d say how high. If you said drink it, I’d say how many. If you said let’s go out, I’d already have my shoes on. I didn’t value myself, why should you?
I didn’t think. I just did. I did it to forget. I did it to remember. I did it to numb. I did it to feel confident. I did it to please. I did it for fun. I did because I thought that’s what I needed to do to belong.
I was still that young little girl. I was still so caught up in what other people thought of me.
I remember I used to come home from a night out, and the next morning I would recall all the stupid things I did or said. “I could have done that better”. “I should have said that instead”. “Perhaps I should have looked a little more like this…” I will try better next time, I’d say.
I don’t recall the day, and I would have no idea what I was wearing. But I remember the feeling. Freedom. Elation. Power. Joy. I finally got it. I was, and always will be enough. I didn’t need to seek outside myself anymore. I had it already. I was loved. I was love.
Suddenly all those crazy, beautiful quirks I kept trying to hide, all those boxes I was trying to fit into – they were shattered. I no longer needed to hide inside a box. I certainly didn’t need to wear a mask. That aching void was filled with love, compassion, gratitude and acceptance.
I accepted me. I didn’t need anyone else to anymore.
I looked in the mirror. “I love you Tegan. I really do.” And as a tear streamed down my face, I realised that I no longer needed to try. I was home.
We don’t need to try. We just need to be. To explore every avenue of who we already are. Because inside us, are the beautiful snippets of wisdom that you’ve always been searching for. Inside you is all you will ever need.
We don’t need to fit in. We don’t need to try to stand out. We don’t need to be anything more or less than anyone else. We just need to trust in everything we already are, and to listen to that gentle, nurturing voice inside us that says “you are enough”.
It’s there. Let it be heard. Empower that voice to empower you. Let it grow, let it shine.
You are magnificent.