“I want to be my person”

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.

20 thoughts on ““I want to be my person”

  1. great article or blog great putting together or words & feelings & insight. big changes in places, people,habits, but good to see you know you will adjust & enjoy i am happy to have you for a little while in our home walking, talking, laughing & sharing thoughts, books or parts of welcome

  2. I realize that by posting this, I’m simply facilitating the social network frenzy, but Kudos to you for being able to stop, reflect, and be proud of yourself.

    1. Ha, I actually thought about that when I was writing it… Somehow blog comments seem take on a different form of validation, it is more of a conversation and on a personal level. I always find them so meaningful. Thank you.


      Hannah Katy

  3. Ahhh, this is why I blog-to find a space to converse w/like minds:)
    You articulated this so beautifully! Sounds like you have found yourself too.
    Thanks for the visit and the kind words. I am starting to fine tune whom I consider positive influences and making it a consistent standard on all levels. Enjoy your book.

    1. Thank you very much. Went a little book crazy and got a ton for myself! This will be a great couple of weeks of reading. And thank you for the compliments, I agree.. I love finding those like minded optimistic people.


      Hannah Katy

  4. So do I validate you by leaving a comment? 😉

    What you say is true. We can spend our days watching comments and waiting for affirmation for what we’ve done, verbally or through the written word — or even through actions from others. But if we don’t find wherein our true security lies and remember who we are, it’s meaningless. I find my security in Christ. His opinion is most important — and I need to remind myself of that daily because I tend to soak up other’s words much more easily.

    1. Agreed. I am guilty of the same, its much easier to take the words of others instead of the validation we get from God. Always a work in progress as I say. Thank you for coming by.


      Hannah Katy

  5. First, congrats on graduation 🙂 Secondly, I know what you mean. I just finished two classes towards my MBA which means that all that stands in the way of me & the next diploma of my life are two more tiny classes. And rather than feel good for having them done, I fretted over grades, waited for the instructor’s emails with comments about my final papers and overall course progress. I didn’t skip along the sidewalk like I hoped or anything else peppy and happy and excited that would signify a celebration. Instead I waited for *others* to tell me how I should feel or what I should think…. which is really not like me. So thanks for the reminder to know ourselves, celebrate ourselves. Why should we expect others to do it if we can’t do it ourselves? 🙂

    1. Ah, I feel ya Nora. And thanks for the congratulations. I too often wait for the praise of others before I can feel good about myself and that is what I am seeking to get better at… The first step is admitting it right?


      Hannah Katy

  6. this post makes me think about a lot of things! which is nice 🙂 and after reading this, i too find that i am way too caught up in the social networking craze. but i suppose i can’t help it considering i work for a school that deals with online courses and social networking, haha. but i have made attempts to step back from it all. what is it you’d like to do in the UN? you’ve got me intrigued 🙂 oh and p.s. i’m now following you on yet another famous networking site 😉 ❤

  7. I think it is hard not to be caught up the social networking sites, I will def. be taking a big step back next year when I move to the city. That is for certain. I am doing a year of service with the Augustinians next year and I will be the liaison to their organization at the United Nations. So I am excited to say the least.. It will be a great experience. Glad the post could make ya think love.


    Hannah Katy

  8. This is a beautiful post. From your descriptions of yourself at your various ages (so rich!) to the poignant insights that we all are in need of. Thanks so much for your note/comment. I look forward to reading more of your blog!

  9. Such a touching post, love. “instead of waking up each morning, proud of myself as a person, I have waited for the validation of others” – this is something that really resonates with me, and I think the first step in being able to hold our own, to be proud of ourselves, is recognising the pattern and making the choice to put ourselves into those situations, off the Internet and off the phone, knowing that we are determined to learn to be okay without the approval of others. You have so much to be proud of, and though this may be seen as external validation, it must be said that you are an inspiration to know 🙂

    1. Thank you Emily. You are so right, I think this is definitely a wake up call to learn to be ok without that external validation, or at least not to rely on it too heavily. But your words have really meant so much to me, so thank you again.


      Hannah Katy

  10. It’s funny because Facebook came out during my sophomore year of college, and at the time, the only way you could have an account was if you had a college/university email address. That was in 2002. Now, almost 10 years later, look how much Facebook has changed. Heck, look how much our communication has changed. It’s very rare for someone to write you a letter now a days. And we rely solely on things like FB and twitter instead of just calling someone to find out what they are up to.

    I whole-heartedly agree with this post. We need to praise ourselves before we can allow others to praise us. And we need to take time each day and walk away from our cell phones/blackberries/iPhones and just be in the moment.

    We didn’t have cell phones growing up, and now look how much it is, in a way, controlling our lives.


    1. I agree fully Kate! The year before I went to college I remember my brother getting a facebook and I was so envious, (even though I did not fully understand what it was), and then right before I was able to officially be on Fbook as a college student, they allowed high schoolers to get it.. Took away from me earning it on my own! And now parents and children are on it, so its for everyone and you are right it allows us to communicate without having to much effort into it; it is both a blessing and curse I think.

      I also didnt have a cell phone until the 9th grade and I wonder now why I was so eager to get one.. Nowadays it is so much less acceptable to disconnect one’s self.

      I am taking time each day to step away though, and I think it will be quite worth it.

      Great to hear from ya.


      Hannah Katy

  11. I really feel like I could have written this post. (Except not as beautifully. GAH. Your writing astounds me.)

    I find myself seeking validation in others so, so much. In fact, I’ve self-diagnosed my “love language” as Words of Affirmation. Many times, I need to be told I’m doing a good job or that I’m funny or whatever. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but when you put too much stock into what others think and how they respond to you, you do kind of lose sight of yourself.

    I’ve been wanting to do a media fast for a while now. I want to just take a weekend and completely get away from everything, to connect with God and myself and my family on a deeper level. Social networking sites and TV shows tear me away from this.

    I hope you find Hannah. 🙂

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