We Must be Our Own

 Beourown-1
 Be your own, Liv. Be your own.
 The thoughts have echoed in my mind this fall as I’ve been thrown into the high pressure romantic world of college. In the midst of being surrounded by breakups and beginnings and being passed over, Emerson has kept me company with the words, “we must be our own before we can be another’s.” You must be your own.
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 Maybe it seems to others like I am my own already. Maybe I hide behind this mask of confidence and enthusiasm that makes me seem like I have things oh so figured out. But the truth is, I feel like I’m just starting to get to know myself. Who is this Liv character and why is she in this world? What is her purpose in this plot and how does she fit into the grand scheme of things? What does this girl believe and what does her existence look like? These are questions that I am just beginning to start asking, let alone answering.
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 In a world where so many people find who they are in someone else, to figure out your identity without another is a rare and difficult task. Because you are told that you are who you love. But we are not. Yes, who we love and how we love reveals much about us, but what I realized this fall was the very way that I love has more to do with my nature than the person I love. I am not one of those girls who can mess around. I am not one of those girls that can bring guys home drunk and screw around after a breakup. I am not one of those girls who can disobey her gut when it tells her that a boy is bad news. That’s not who I am.
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 I am the type of girl who loves deeply and strongly and is loyal to an extreme. I am the type of girl who does not easily move on. For me, moving on requires a large amount of road trips, good music, coffee, and time. Moving on requires tears and talks and tearful talks. I am a girl who’s learned to be honest and upfront about her thoughts and feelings – firstly to herself, then to others. I am a girl who will fight for what she wants in all areas of her life and for whom passion grips her every decision. I am a girl who will always be busy and who will always be chasing life as a whole.
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 These are some of the things I’ve found out about myself on this little journey of becoming my own.
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 There’s a lot more to figure out. There’s a lot more epiphanies to be had. There’s a lot more yet that I am wrestling with and sorting through. And that’s okay. It’s not a journey to which you arrive at your destination without a few stretching breaks and fuel-ups.
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 There’s always this bit of pressure in the back of your mind that maybe, in order to be another’s, what you really need to do is change. You need to dress differently, wear more makeup, flirt, dumb yourself down, or whatever it is that seems to be what is desired. Yet that will leave you being another’s, but not your own. Then when the other leaves, you are left with nothing until you find another one who can define you. In my mind and to my heart, being another’s and not your own is a great tragedy.
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 Who I am has always been out of sync with the general population. I do things my own way and am not afraid to be different. I’m not afraid to work three jobs at two different nonprofits, in fact, it’s what makes me come alive. Direct services especially for people who are struggling with life, being able to be a listening ear and a constant figure, that’s what I love doing. Things like working at a shelter for runaway teenagers is exactly what makes me feel the most like my own.
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 Sometimes, you wonder if being your own will leave you without another. And you know what? Sometimes it may. I wonder daily if this journey into working with nonprofits and disadvantaged people and women who are survivors of abuse and human trafficking will leave me without a man. It very well may. It could bring me to India or California or Romania or New York City or anywhere in between. The path that I am on and that I believe God has called me to, is one that may have me traveling el’ solo.
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 Yet who am I to say that the way God created me and the person that He is transforming me into is not worth the price that it may cost me? Who am I to throw away the journey of growing deeper into who God made me as an individual before I enter into a relationship? Who am I to argue that being different is not worth the cost? No, I cannot argue for any of those things.
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 So I will be my own. And if the day comes to be another’s, then I pray that it will be a union of two people who are their own. Then we will become each other’s.