All By Myself

I am a self-proclaimed loner.

I’m not saying that to get sympathy or to generate compliments or to hear all about how I am just the opposite. Because I don’t want any of that. Granted, compliments are nice, but they don’t magically fix things. I don’t want them to.

I am also not saying that I have no friends, that I am unlikable, or that nobody wants to hang out with me. Those things simply are not true. At least, I am pretty sure they are not true.

I am a self-proclaimed loner, but what I really mean by that is I am an independent. I like me-time. I love a solo night in with my Netflix queue. Sometimes, I cannot stand people. Sometimes I wonder why I have such great friends when I definitely don’t deserve them.

I have always been different. As much as I tried to fit in, I never could. So I did what everyone tells you do: I decided to stand out. That got me a lot of backlash over the years. Nobody liked a girl who was different–because my different was bad. And because of that, instead of standing out or fitting in, I disappeared.

The time I spent being as invisible as I possibly could taught me a lot about myself, who I wanted to be, and who I wanted to let in my life. For a long time, the answer to that last question was nobody. If I couldn’t even be accepted by my best friends since age five, how could I ever survive in the real world? I told myself that I didn’t need to be accepted by anyone–regardless of whether or not I believed it. All the days lost to blending into the background changed me, and it changed the way I treated people.

Throughout the years that followed, I tried to branch out from my safe haven–or if you want to bring the magical world of Harry Potter into this: I tried to take off my Invisibility Cloak. And there were some days where I was totally buying into having a social life, which was really great. Some days, though, left me crawling underneath my covers and crying because I didn’t want to even look at people.

I am a self-proclaimed loner.

Because I like being alone. I love doing things by myself. I love the days I go on solo shopping trips. Coffee dates with my laptop. Going to movies and only needing one seat. Sitting alone in church so I can really think about things. No distractions. I think it is perfectly healthy to go out and do things by yourself. It teaches you that you can be powerful on your own. You can be independent. If gives me hope that I don’t need to rely on anyone.

For a long time I did not believe I was good enough for myself, and if I couldn’t love myself, no one else would either. I am still learning to love myself, but I am good enough. I still have issues, I still have problems, I still have a lot to work on. But I am not giving up on myself. The only way I can learn to love myself is spend time by myself.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like going out to parties. It doesn’t mean I don’t love hanging out with my friends (shout out to Kristin, Mad Dog, and Tori). It doesn’t mean I won’t go up to strangers at an event and try to start a conversation. It doesn’t mean I will never make a fool of myself in public. It doesn’t mean I am not fun.

But I am a self-proclaimed loner. And there is nothing wrong with that.

-Ash

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