For a long time, I told myself I didn’t belong. I convinced myself that because of what I was going through in life I really only deserved to look from the outside at all the fun my friends were having. I saw my mild participation in the group dimming, and I began slowly exiling myself to the corner, more and more so until eventually no one noticed my ultimate absence.
It has taken me two years to realize that I did that to myself.
My senior year of high school was spent obsessing about how much I didn’t fit into the group, about how it was all going to end eventually anyway. All my friends planned to go off to college, their bags practically packed. But instead of heading off to school with the rest of my friends like I wanted, I was just going to see them off. I had planned on going to college straight out of school and getting a degree, but instead life had another agenda in the making. This change of plan caused me to fall behind and really, what felt like out of the race. One by one, my friends all started going to school, off to live great lives, summer coming to a close, and well…that really was the end of high school. By the time August came around, the loneliness inside me was so loud.
I read somewhere, on my spiritual journey, that basically if you think it, it becomes. I thought so long and hard about how I wouldn’t have friends, about how I was so unhappy and trapped. And that’s exactly what happened. My negative thoughts became like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Reading about how I basically ostracized myself by the way I was living and thinking made a light bulb go off in my head. Not one of those instant bright lights, but more like a bulb that starts off dim and gradually gets brighter. I realized that I needed better friends who care about me and want me around, and I realized that I wouldn’t find that with my current mindset.
So I set goals for my (at the time nonexistent) social life. I wrote down what I wanted in my journal:
“I want to have a close-knit circle where we can have get-togethers and movie nights and we go out to eat and go to carnivals and help each other clean our rooms or do laundry and we are there for each other, and we care for one another, and we are family.”
I wanted to build a league of extraordinary individuals I could grow wise and funny and happy and fat with. And then I told myself almost every day looking in the mirror, “It’s going to happen.” It sounds childish, but sometimes you have to ask the kid in you what you really want in life!
Something changed in my thinking and in the way I saw myself, which changed the way I related to other people. And about three months ago, I rekindled an old high school friendship with my friend Daisha. We used to get along so well, but we grew apart towards the end of school. We met up on this past Christmas Day—a day that was sad for us because we had both just ended long-term relationships and really had no place to live and we were kind of just going through rough times—but we decided right then and there to end our self-pity parties and instead throw a happy “let’s live life” party. We had been going through the motions of picking up our broken pieces and we decided to do it together.
“Let’s be happy,” I told Daisha. It sounds extremely cheesy, but if you add a little cheese to your life, you can’t help but smile. (No really, say “cheese.”)
Daisha and I grow closer every day. We learn, laugh- A LOT, eat, cry, sing, dance and go on adventures together, and we make new friends almost every day. We help each other and we are there for each other and we are family.
In a matter of months, I went from having no friends and being depressed and feeling trapped alone with my thoughts and no social life—to having a wonderful best friend, happiness, and a boisterous, sometimes overbooked social life. Yes, there are still some rough days. Life is still hard and stressful sometimes and there are times when saying “cheese” isn’t enough, but I look at all the surprising and amazing bonds I have with people today and I can say that I’d never have them without thinking and staying positive.
Think positive and you’ll positively live positively. Positive.