I lost my virginity a couple of days before or after my 19th Birthday. Robin Thicke played in the background and when the awkward first time was over I rolled over and smiled, reporting to my diary the next day that ‘I had finally become a woman’. Mega cringe.
Coming into my own has been a difficult, rewarding, frustrating and empowering and the journey continues. At 29, I am more honest with myself than ever and suddenly excited for the future. I’ve mentioned ‘cementing my individuality’ a few times and for me that includes accepting the things I can and cannot change about myself.
I can be honest and say I’m not always a good judge of character, I leave my shit untidy until it drives me up the wall and that cooking isn’t one of my favourite things to do. I can admit that I’m not always honest with others, that I shut people out when I’m angry and I don’t always think about others when I act. I also know that I am loyal to a fault, good with words, make people feel good about themselves and can add value to many discussions. After adding solo travel to my resume, I can confidently conclude that I’m not at all bad with figuring shit out on my own.
Whilst coming into my own has sometimes been more Sex and the Pity than Sex and the City with a sex life sometimes rife with regret, pain and shame, I have also found ways to make and maintain meaningful and loving relationships.
For a long time ‘being the strong one’ was MY THING. The crutch for which I allowed myself to bear the brunt of other people’s nonsense. The crutch for which others in turn used to not have to care about me so much. Today I embrace being vulnerable. There is no shame in unrequited love, a missed job opportunity or not having your shit together.
Last year several days were riddled with anxiety so bad I was convinced I simply wouldn’t make it. I was being open and sharing but also hiding the fact that I simply didn’t feel well. Coming into my own means that I understand that we all need help from time to time.
Life can’t be all cocktails and glamorous nights out. Cementing your individuality means deliberate and often painful introspection, but you can do it. I have faith.