I wrote this back in 2015 after an inspiring dinner with my good friend, Andi.
I had dinner with a friend last Sunday. This friend of mine, she’s gorgeous. And I mean really gorgeous, the kind that secretly gives girls like me a (low) self-esteem complex. But you can’t hate this girl. She’s lovely. She’s the kind of girl that everyone wants to know and be around and I guess, I guess, I’m just lucky.
This friend of mine is petite, with long black hair, and dark shiny eyes — a real-life Princess Jasmine, in my opinion. She likes pretty dresses and boots, teaches yoga and tries to visit the beach once a month so she can give her regards to the ocean.
We don’t see each other as often as I’d like to but when we do, it’s always an explosion of kind words and listening ears and laughter that could go on for minutes. But as we sat across each other and I filled in the gaps of the months that we missed, she looked across me and told me her story:
“I know what I was trying to be in 2014: I was trying to be cool.”
We were caught in such an honest moment. While some might dismiss that confession as passè or clichè, I was a little bit more than surprised.
“But you’re so cool!” I exclaimed. “You’re, like, one of the coolest people I know!” (Calling someone one of the coolest people you know is a surefire way to make you sound totally uncool, btw.)
She shrugged. “Well. That’s who I was trying to be.” The voice in my head said: well, you tried real good.
Late last December, I had come to the conclusion (at the end of much soul-searching) that I was tired of living a curated life. I was just sick of the world’s superlative ideas of success where one needed power! fame! money! to live The Life. In my honest opinion, The Life looked like embarrassingly simple: a book, good weather and some quiet with the promise of hot chocolate and good friends later on.
I was — and am — eager to re-invent myself into a nobody rather than live with the perpetual exhaustion of trying to be Somebody. So far, it doesn’t feel too bad. In the last week I’ve tried cooking, piano lessons and, reading more frequently. I’ve tried to stay offline longer. I walk my dogs to the park on sunny afternoons. Yesterday I went to work with absolutely no makeup on. (Mostly because I forgot my kit at home but I guess the experience in itself was liberating. I’m not brave enough to make it a regular thing but, yes, more #nofilter days, please.) It’s not cool. It doesn’t make me interesting or more fun or Instagram-worthy but this me-just-doing-my-own-thang thing feels right.
As my beautiful friend sat across me, she reminded me that it was okay to unlearn. That it was perfectly fine to trade in the old life for something more honest and real.
“I want to stop being someone I’m not,” she said.
“Me too,” I said. “Me too.”