I grew up sort of… not really troubled, but a bit off to myself. I was, and still am, often a natural loner. When I say that, there are no emotions attached. Loner doesn’t signify positive or negative. It’s like saying I’m Korean-American. It’s a fact.
I thought I was supposed to have friends. I tried to tag along other duos on the playground. I remember the sense of teetering on the tightrope of wanting to retract into my comfort zone and wanting to have what the others seemed to enjoy so much.
I remember noticing them, watching them from afar. How did they do that? How did they connect so easily? How did they laugh together like that? How did they run around together so effortlessly? What did they talk about? And… how did I get in on that?
I remember approaching them… sidling up to their games, their conversations sitting cross-legged on the grass. I remember drawing attention to myself, wanting to show them I’m fun. I’m like them. I’m normal.
I remember sometimes I’d get the okay – I’d get the slight smile of welcome. I’d get the laughter. For a moment, I felt like I was in. I was in. I could exchange and interact. I was one of them. I belonged.
I remember they would then get caught up in their world, their sideways glances, their secrets shared behind cupped hands. And I’d be where I started.
This entry isn’t a pity party. This entry is a remembrance. It’s a returning to who I am. It’s an acknowledgement and validation of me, Grace.
Because after all these years of Life, I’m in a completely different place – yet – in the same place.
I describe myself as an extrovert. 100%. People around me seem to agree. I thrive in new settings, I expect to make friends everywhere I go. Working at a coffee shop, standing in line at Target, in the airport, attending a conference.
But I understand the loner within. I understand that I walk away from people and things and events when I want and need to be alone. It’s not out of exhaustion, exasperation, or chaos. I understand it’s
important absolutely necessary for me to protect my peace, my space, my being.
Had I realized this before, when I was younger, when I was in elementary, middle, high school, and college, I would have saved myself a lot of heartache, if not all of it.
Because I kept wanting things I thought I was supposed to need, supposed to be, supposed to have. I kept wanting things that I thought was normal and necessary for a happy life. I looked outward for guidance. I looked outward for truth, for help in surviving this messy crazy life.
I thought I was wrong. All the time, all this time, I thought I was wrong.
And I wasn’t.
The point of this post is not about being a loner. The point of this post is about remembering the girl, now woman I am. And then honoring her. This post is about healing her wounds, that she’s not enough, that she’s not wanted. It’s about sitting her down and telling her that everything she is, is everything she could ever want, everything she could ever want to be.
I’m at the risk of sounding narcissistic. And I accept that. Because too long I lived the opposite. I thought I didn’t have what I needed or wanted. And I chased. All my life, I chased. And I despised myself not just for not having it but for chasing itself.
What a painful, brutal, torturous way to exist.
And now, I know. Everything I was taught to want and desire, every way I was taught to be, love, and act… I can brush aside. Not out of dislike, bitterness, or spite. I can brush aside to take hold of something powerful, empowering, strong, and, most importantly, native to me.
I can accept and celebrate me. The loner, whatever she is, everything she is. I can honor her. I can explore the world through her, as her, with her, for her.
And that makes me smile. An inner smile that exists for no one but me. I laugh to no one but myself loving all. of. this. Because in the end, I know –
I’ma do me. And you do you, boo.