Although I thought the text below would be an answer, it is not. It is a big question for me. To be honest, I only have become more confused while writing it.
More and more often, I see posts about finding yourself. More and more often I think about how great it is to know who you are and to find whatever makes you you.
To find yourself… You can find something that you lost or never used to have, right?
Anyway, finding yourself means discovering what makes you different from other people. That’s it. A lifelong journey.
I have come a long way. Some people can say I haven’t changed at all during the past few years, but I know I have. I have overcome lots of my fears, have learnt a lot, and do not take myself too seriously anymore. I managed to let some of my fears and concerns go, and that made my life so much easier.
Only about three years ago, I used to be literally afraid of people. It might sound odd, but I even didn’t know how to start a simple conversation. I do not know what was the explanation of such behavior. All I can do is to forgive past errors and let myself grow.
Anyway, some events helped me to realize I had to change my attitude.
I used to have a friend who influenced my behavior a lot. I used to think we had much in common and her interests had suddenly become mine as well and, yep, I used to think we would be friends forever! That was just an illusion, I must say. In fact, she was just one of the people who pretend they care about you and always expect you to do only what they like. In other words, she was just using me.
One day I understood I did not want to be patient with her anymore. I gave up our friendship simply because I wasn’t happy in it, and that was the decision I still thank myself for.
I did not want to stay alone after that, but at the same time, I didn’t know how to make new friends. I remember I felt upset and nervous because I kept thinking about how people would perceive me. I remember I used to do everything but just except being myself. I wanted so much to make people think I did not really need their help and love. I used to pretend I like being always alone: “There are lots of people, who seem to enjoy it, aren’t they? So, come on!” Lonely days. Low mood. I used to envy those who had friends, who seemed to be so happy.
I believe, nothing happens for no reason. Everything happens to bring you to the exact point. You have to go through difficulties to achieve something, and I know that everything I got through has only made me stronger, and I’m more than grateful for that.
That period was a complete nightmare but the situation has improved somewhat during the several months. I got on well with some of my classmates, but still was terribly shy and self-conscious. I faced another problem: I used to communicate with lots of people but knew that there was no real friendship. I used to think there was something wrong with me. I even thought I was a boring person. Hmm… quite depressive thoughts, aren’t they?
Then one day I decided to take part in the exchange with German students. That was probably the turning point. That experience has changed my life in every way.
Wiesbaden. There is something magical about this city. It fascinates.
I am a very nostalgic person, and I always try so hard to avoid fixation on the past but I always fail. I am always stuck in the past. I find myself trying to live in the past, though I know I have to move on and enjoy my life because it changes every day, but I always, always fail.
My first exchange partner turned out to be the loveliest girl ever and could speak Russian. I firmly believe that a person can meet a real friend only once in his life and I know, I have met already. I believe that was my fate. When we first met, we had a feeling, as we had known each other for ages. We were born on the same day, same year.
We used to talk for hours, to laugh a lot. She used to dance Latin and spend much time with her dance partner, who used to be her best friend as well. They both taught me to be grateful for everything I have. They helped me to realize, time is the most valuable thing on earth and that every day is a gift.
I will never forget how hard it was to say goodbye. We were on a bus. I was trying to memorize the way they talk, the way they smile, their shining eyes, their voices. I was very excited, upset yet happy.
I wanted so much to tell something like “I will miss you. Thank you for everything!” but could barely speak. Like I didn’t know any German words. They were both smiling. They were so friendly.
It was the last time we were all together. They are not friends anymore.
I came back home. I was wandering around the flat and couldn’t stop thinking about everything that happened to me during the ten days in Wiesbaden. The year of waiting began. The year of hope. I promised myself that I would see my friends again. I missed them badly.
Long-distance friendship you call it. It is the most amazing thing, I have ever experienced. Such friendship requires even more effort than any other relationships. You can’t talk to your friends, you can’t hug them either. You miss them, you miss them, you miss them… That is the way of life.
I came back in April to find Wiesbaden sinking in greenery and flowers. That all seemed to be a fairy tale, everything was so beautiful!
I had a new exchange partner, she was very nice to me, and we got on really well. I could speak German much better than a year ago and we had no problems with understanding each other. It also gave me the amazing opportunity to meet both of my friends, who I missed so badly. I could never expect myself chattering with someone who doesn’t speak Russian at all for half an hour! This experience impressed me so much, that when I think back to that day I smile, it makes me so happy, it still inspires me. I had never been as self-confident as I was on that day. Probably I simply was myself.
Some things have to be clarified. Just imagine, you have two friends, both are dear to you. Then one day a terrible quarrel between them takes place and you can do nothing, because they literally hate each other and none of them accepts his fault, and, on top of it, you do not speak their language well enough to say what you really think about it all. That is exactly what happened to me. The most difficult situation I have ever experienced.
The first week in Wiesbaden was a week of hesitation. I didn’t want to offend any of my friends and hoped I would meet one of them simply by chance. It didn’t happen, and after the whole week spent in Wiesbaden I was about to become desperate. I knew I couldn’t leave that city without seeing both of my friends but had no ideas how to arrange that all.
One day it eventually dawned on me what to do. I remember that moment very well. I told myself: “Girl, do you really hope everything in this life will happen by chance? Why don’t you put effort into making it happen? Don’t be afraid of failure, try at least. Follow your heart. Who knows, maybe you will succeed.”
I took the plunge and I don’t regret. I feel like it all brought me closer to myself and I will cherish that day forever.
Life is too short to hesitate. Life is too short to pretend to be someone you are not. Too short to ignore your own feelings. If you want to live a happy life, be grateful for everything you have, listen to your soul, and stay true to yourself.