I lost my person and I didn’t even call the police.
I lost my person and I didn’t bother to put up “LOST” signs all around the neighborhood like I did when my dog Bingo ran away.
I lost my person and I was too careless to describe what she looked like to others in case they saw her aimlessly milling around the aisles of a secondhand bookstore: 5″4, long curly auburn hair, a small chip in her left front tooth that you might only notice if she hands you an enormous smile.
I lost my person but I watched her slip away from me into a crowd of hundreds of others that I grabbed onto before her.
I think I have the courage to admit here that I have lost myself in the past few weeks. That instead of waking up each morning, proud of myself as a person, I have waited for the validation of others. There has been a lot of great accomplishments to celebrate. Awards Won. Honors Received. Cords Donned. But instead of patting myself on the back and reflecting on my abundance of blessings, as of late, I have woken up every single morning to await the veil of validation that others can cloak around me.
I wonder lately when status updates became so pertinent; why Facebook centered their whole site on the 140-character update box that allows us to tell the world exactly what we are accomplishing on a day-to-day basis. I think it is a marvel that we can communicate so efficiently but I am fearful of the times when we define ourselves by the number of “likes” and “comments” and “notifications” that we receive. From people we have not spoken to in years. From people who we didn’t even know existed in the realm of social networking.
It was not until yesterday, sitting amidst a disheveled bedroom full of boxes and storage bins that reek of nostalgia, disconnected from the rest of the world, did I realize that I lost the ability to cope on my own. Better Yet, That I Lost The Ability To Celebrate On My Own. It takes time, time that we must purposely make, to celebrate our achievements on our own. But it takes a mere strain of seconds to mass text message 16 people with the same banter of good news and receive instantaneous validation from six of them. 10 of them if we wait five minutes.
But that doesn’t necessarily get us anywhere. The entire internet can praise us and it still won’t change the fact that we have not stopped to praise ourselves. I am not saying that we should not go out on the town and celebrate a job promotion or share the news of a successful interview; I am simply saying that at some point we should Stop. And Praise Ourselves. And treat ourselves more than others treat us with free drinks and compliments.
Maybe some of us don’t admit, but I think we all might like to reach a point where we are proud of ourselves first. Where We Take The Time To “Like” Our Own Accomplishments. Where that in itself can be enough.
There is a 7-year-old version of my myself, who wore Mexican fiesta dresses and cowboy boots, that I still need to thank for deciding to stand out instead of sink into this world. There is a 12-year-old version of myself, with a bone yard for a body and a smile that she was quite precarious with, that I still need to hug for falling in love with the words that her typewriter could conjure up. There is a 16-year-old version of myself, with a boy-crazy mind and a humanitarian heart, that I still need to high five for leaving parts of herself in New York City and promising to come back to them. And there is a 19-year-old version of myself, hungry for change and thirsty for life, that I still need to commend for making it her mission to get to the United Nations one day; not for a tour but for a real purpose.
We all have these versions of ourselves, different in age and separate in heart songs, that we should validate when the chance presents itself. They beg of us a single moment of our time. The Tiniest Speckle Of Recognition. And they promise the response will be more true than a thousand new notifications sitting upon our profile page.
I lost my person but I am lucky to know where to find her today. And I am turning off the phone, logging off the sites and taking her out for a cup of coffee and a good book. By the end of this day she too will know how proud I am to have her.