I’ve always felt like I don’t really know who I am.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve found comfort in my identity being attached to someone else’s. I’m a daughter, a sister, and a girlfriend, but I never knew who I was without those labels. Over the break, I decided that for my New Year’s resolution I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and answer that ‘who am I’ question. So, I took some risks in order to see if I could find solace being myself independent of those attached identities, and made some interesting discoveries along the way.
Monday December 31st
On this day, I decided to go to the mall by myself. This might not seem like a large or scary task
to most, and to be honest it really wasn’t that bad, but I’m typically used to going with my
parents or my sister.
One of the main reasons I decided to go to the mall was to face my fear of eating alone in a
public space, and after walking in and out of stores, I worked up enough courage to go to the food
court. I got my food, sat down at a table, and almost instantly took out my phone to text my
friend as the thought of looking like a loner started to set in. My friend reassured me that I was
fine and the odds of anyone noticing me were slim, but what was so eye opening about this
experience was how much I realized I care about what other people think.
I’ve always thought that I didn’t care about what others thought of me, that I was always
unapologetically myself. But, as it turns out, I only feel that way when I’m surrounded by others
who support me. I guess feeling more confident in a group rings true. As I finished my food, I definitely felt more comfortable, but not completely at ease.
Tuesday January 1st
This was a good day for stepping out of my comfort zone. Since it was New Years day and most things were closed, I decided to turn my phone off and binge watch Netflix by myself. Turning off my phone to actually focus on what I was watching proved to be a big challenge. Usually, I play games on my phone, snapchat, and text people, but to be truly “by myself” when I was by myself, I decided that it would be best for me to separate myself from social media.
While this was a super boring day, it felt nice to actually pay attention to what I was watching.
Wednesday January 2nd
The movies over the break didn’t really interest me, but I decided to see a movie by myself at the theatre as a personal challenge. I always used to judge my dad when he told me he saw movies by himself, so I decided to try it out. Going up to the till to get the ticket was probably the worst experience by far. The person asked
me how many tickets I was buying, and, a little taken aback, I awkwardly said “just one”.
Besides this, I found that being there by myself was quite enjoyable as I didn’t have to share my
snack with anyone!
Thursday January 3rd
I went to a restaurant by myself on this day. Super weird considering restaurants are usually targeted towards families, not just an individual person, but I was trying new things! I went to Jack Astor’s during lunch, and much to my surprise it wasn’t that busy. I think that a large part of my issue surrounding eating out in public is that I don’t enjoy the process of eating in front of people. I feel like by deviating from the norm and being publicly alone, I stick out like a sore thumb which causes others to be more interested in what I’m doing.
Going to a restaurant might not have been a great idea for many reasons, including being asked if you are waiting for anyone multiple times and having nothing to do but play on your phone while you wait for your food, and while you eat your food. Overall, I didn’t have much to say about this experience. It was awkward, but I think that this really pushed me outside of my comfort zone.
Friday January 4th
On this day, I went to a club downtown with my sister. I usually only go out with my best friend and my boyfriend, so I knew that this experience was going to be different. Being with my sister and her friends allowed me to be a different person then who I usually feel I am. I was shy and reserved at first, and then as time progressed and I had more shots, I was more outgoing.
Being by myself, I didn’t find out who I was, but I did find out more about me and I think that
there is truth, knowledge, and power in understanding this.
As a result of this personal experiment, I see that I’m not just one person with one personality. My personality changes depending on where I am and who I’m with. When I’m by myself, I am hyper aware of how I seem to others. When I am with others, I am confident and care free.
So, I challenge you to spend some time alone with yourself, ask “who am I”, and search for the
answer to “who do I want to become?” You never know what you might learn.