I lost myself in the process of finding myself

I lost myself in the process of finding myself. 

Let me explain…

While reminiscing through teenaged photos of myself, I began to feel empty. I get it, people change. I always knew I was going to. I frequently look back at the past. I like soaking in all the fond memories I have. But, something was different this time around. I did not feel happy looking at old pictures of myself. I realized, I missed the old me. Who I am today is not who I’m supposed to be. Who I was in the past was the real me.

For clarification, when I reference the past I’m talking about 14-17 year old me. I never acknowledged high-school as being my peak. And I definitely hope it wasn’t. But, there was something so true about younger me. I took hundreds (probably thousands) of SELFIES of myself. Smiling, sticking out my tongue, and blowing kisses. Now, I can’t bear to open up my front camera without feeling some disgust for the person I see. There is always something to fix. My nose, my skin, my hair, my eyes… Yet, teen Nicole did not morph a thing.

 

Maybe it is the culture we are in right now. There are so many apps to morph your face and body into something you are not. Even though I know this Facetune/Photoshop/Instagram culture has something to do with it, my feelings of resent lie deeper. Everyone who knows me would probably say that I was always the popular, outgoing type. They are wrong. Looking back at these pictures, I realize I was SO FUCKING WEIRD! And I love it; I miss it; I want to be it! I did not give a shit about what people thought about me. And now I do. 

 

That is my problem. Somewhere between the end of high-school and the start of university, I lost myself. I was that fun, artistic, stoner-chic, poet chick. I loved the person I was. I dressed how I wanted to, drew weird pictures, wore blotchy, no-brand makeup, but was completely content with who I was. Then, I changed.

I changed myself to be like everyone else. By the looks of my photo timeline, this transition happened gradually. Every photo included in this blog post was posted on my Instagram account ages ago. I used to take a strange photo and upload it immediately. I would upload photos at 3am, sometimes would upload 4 a day. Then I learned that your social media image and presence is apparently really important. Now, I never post.

I’m wondering if this acknowledgement of my lost self will lead me to becoming my true self again. Maybe this whole time that I was “trying to find myself” only meant that I would eventually return to the person I once was.

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21 Realizations at Twenty-One

I recently celebrated my twenty-first birthday. Twenty-one is an age that seemed so far away. It feels so weird how quickly time flew. I always dreamed of this milestone as a kid. I envisioned so much for myself by this age. I wanted a boyfriend, one that I would eventually marry, I wanted to have a book published by now, I wanted to be moving out of my parents house, applying to ivy league graduate schools, be CEO of some company, any company, and attend Upper West Side cocktail parties. None of these goals have been accomplished… yet. And I’m totally okay with it!

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Because as a twenty-one year old, I’ve realized that it is okay to have not accomplished the goals I thought I wanted as a kid. Instead, I am grateful for everything I have learned thus far.

Here are the 21 realizations I’ve had in my twenty-one years of life:

  1. This is your time to be selfish
  2. Some people will just never like you. It’s not you, it’s them. So stop wasting your time trying to fucking please them
  3. Never settle for less than what you deserve
  4. Stop measuring your worth through how many likes you get on your social media photos
  5. Other people’s energies rub off on you. Start surrounding yourself with positive people
  6. The most unexpected, unplanned nights are always the best nights
  7. Don’t mask your feelings. If something unfortunate happens, you are allowed to be sad, angry, upset, anxious, etc. Make sure you set aside time for yourself to grieve
  8. It’s better to have a few, good friends instead of a lot of fake friends
  9. It’s okay to change your life goals
  10. It’s okay to not have any goals. Enjoy the silence and routine of your everyday life
  11. When one door closes, another one ALWAYS opens
  12. Do not change yourself for anyone
  13. You have to first love yourself before you can fully love someone else
  14. True happiness can be found in the simplest and smallest things
  15. It’s important to accept and embrace failure
  16. Learn to trust your intuition
  17. Set up boundaries for yourself. It’s the only way to avoid people taking advantage of you
  18. Stop comparing yourself to others. Be grateful for what you have
  19. Let go of the past. Holding onto grudges is never a good idea
  20. Take every experience as a life lesson
  21. What others think of you really doesn’t matter

My Date with Cait

Photoshoot Date

Caitlin and I have been having “photoshoots” together since grade 8. That’s 7 years ago. They started off as cute, kind of awkward, smiling photos taken all around Toronto. We would pose in malls, by graffiti walls, and even wearing our Catholic school uniforms. As our friendship grew over the past 7 years, so did our comfort with taking photos.

I always had a passion for photography, both as the subject and the shooter. However, I never actually considered turning this hobby into a career. In the past few years, I disregarded my obvious talent for photography to focus on work and school. Caitlin has always been that one friend that has encouraged me to continue this passion. Below are sample photos I took of Caitlin from a recent shoot we did. They’re unedited, but still so fabulous. Enjoy!

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