I feel like over the years, I’ve kind of lost my personality a little bit. It started when my best friend died when we were 15 which I know I’ve already spoken about before so I won’t go into it again, but basically she was my other half – half of my personality was me, the other half was made up from her. When she died I lost half of me, I completely lost my way and basically turned into a ghost of who I used to be, I didn’t know who I was without her. No pun intended but the life had literally disappeared from me and I was just a shadow of my former self, not to mention I could no longer enjoy any of the things I used to because now they just hurt, and if I was pretending to laugh and smile about them…it was all an act.
Over time I’ve kind of built myself back up again because obviously, you have to. You don’t have a choice, but I’ve never really been 100% myself again since. As time goes on, you meet new people, you go to new places and you do new things – new memories that shape and build who you are, hence why people change with time. Even if my best friend was still alive, at 19 I wouldn’t be the same person that I was at 15.
That doesn’t stop me from missing my former self though, because I do, I miss her a lot. Even though I was dealing with mental health problems, I was still this funny, outgoing 15 year old who loved One Direction and had the best friendship group she could’ve asked for. After what happened, everything fell apart and so did I and I just changed, I didn’t know who I was anymore, I was still trying to be this girl that everyone knew but I just wasn’t, my heart wasn’t in it. I was quiet, anxious, panicked, sleep deprived, sad, ill, scared to let people in – you name it, I was like a walking ghost, with the exception that I was still trying to be my former self but I just couldn’t. I was like this for years, obviously I improved with time but at the base of it I was still lost, because I hadn’t created a new personality for myself, I was just sad and trying to be this girl I knew I wasn’t anymore, I had no set identity – everything was jumbled and I didn’t really know how I felt about anything anymore, I didn’t know who I was.
As I’ve got older, that 15 year old girl still exists somewhere – my humour is still as big as ever and I still love the things that I used to, but it just feels less authentic now, like my heart isn’t really in it. Like I’m one of those Russian dolls buried inside the other, and I’m kind of just looking out through someone else’s eyes. Like I’m in my body, but it’s not actually my body – I know everything is still there, I just can’t quite reach out far enough to grab it. Now that I’m 19, I think it’s fair to say I’m an adult, or a young adult – whatever you want to call it. Over the past few years I’ve tried so hard to figure out who I am, what makes me, me. I had to rediscover everything again and start from scratch, I was scared of my identity because I didn’t have one, I’d look at myself in the mirror but I wouldn’t recognise who I saw, I’d say things and wonder if I was saying them because it was natural, or if I just thought it was the right thing to say because I was trying to stay in line with the image in my head of who I thought I was.
I used to constantly want to run away from everything, I’d disappear for 3 months straight and cut my hair and change my style and lose 10 pounds and one minute I’d be outgoing and full of life and the next minute I’d be distant and mysterious and it was all such a mess. I didn’t know who I was, so I decided to be everything, and I couldn’t run away from myself, so instead I ran away from anyone who tried to get close to me. It’s only within the past 6 months or so that I’ve stopped running, which is scary because for years it’s been the only thing I knew – but through self love i.e. looking up to the right kind of people and reading the right kind of things, I’ve learned to accept that I am who I am but I can change it if I want to at any moment. I don’t need a set identity, I don’t need to label myself as anything – I don’t need to fit into one certain fashion category or any category at all. I am a soul, and my body is just the home in which I grow in – I can decorate it however I want.
I used to care so much about what people thought of me, my whole life was ruled by it, and I mean to the point where I wouldn’t even post a tweet on Twitter because I was worried what other people would think. The tweet could literally have been a song lyric but I would hesitate and panic and in the end never post it. That’s how bad it was – and this was across all aspects of my life both in the real world and online. Now, I still do care what people think because it’s something I’m working on every day, but I don’t care half as much as I used to. I’ve definitely acquired the f*ck it attitude lately, and I’m loving it.
A word that I’ve found myself using a lot recently is ’embracing’ – because for the first time I’m embracing who I actually am as a person, and I’ve never done that before. I’m accepting that these are the things I like, this is the music I like to listen to, these are the clothes I like to wear, this is the kind of lover I am, this is the kind of friend I am, these are the kind of books I like to read, this is the kind of thing I like to do on a Saturday night. All I ever used to do was push myself away, if I liked something I wouldn’t allow myself to accept / embrace it, because what would other people think? Would other people be okay with that? Now, I couldn’t care less. I used to be embarrassed of myself because I used to hate everything that I was (for absolutely no reason, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me) but that’s not the way I saw things – why couldn’t I be like that person? Why couldn’t I look like her? Or have her mindset? Why was I like this and this and this when I could be so much more like that?
I was never fake, I never actually succeeded at being something I wasn’t, because I’d try it for a few days and hate it because I just knew it wasn’t me. The result of that was then beating myself up over it – why can’t you change Chloe? Why do you have to be you? Why can’t you just be like everyone else? I suppressed who I was so much to the point that I didn’t know anymore, I was so lost – I was all over the place.
Now that I’ve started embracing it, I’m gaining my identity back along with my personality. For the first time in 4 years the real Chloe actually seems to be making a reappearance, I’m becoming my own best friend and I’ve stopped beating myself up over absolutely everything, I’ve stopped hating myself for wanting to stay in and read on a Friday night rather than going out to party or just generally going out at all. You know? Everyone is different, everyone likes different things which is why we’re all individuals and no two people are the same. Everyone else is accepted for who they are, so why can’t I be? What makes me so hideously awful that I think no one will ever accept me? Like I said, self love is key, and I love myself. I think after 19 years it’s about time I said it and stopped worrying if other people will think I’m arrogant for doing so. It’s not arrogance, it’s love. Love that’s been a long time coming and is well deserved, because all I’ve ever done is hurt and abuse myself and my body, and I refuse to do it anymore. I’m going to protect and look after myself like I would my own daughter, like I would anyone because I’m so caring and full of love, yet I’ve never been able to show that to myself because I’ve always believed that I’ve never been worthy enough of it. Well, no more.
My personality is coming back to me because I’m allowing myself to accept all that I am, and embrace the things I love and the things I’m drawn to, because that’s what makes me, me. The most emotional part of it for me is the fact that other people are noticing, they’re seeing me come back to myself and they’re smiling because they know it means things are getting better, I’m getting better. Seeing me happy is making them happy too, and that’s all I could ever ask for.
Physically, my identity is changing all the time because I am a work in progress that will never be finished and that’s exciting for me, there’s a quote that says “The best project you’ll ever work on is you” and it’s the one thing I always keep in mind, because it’s so true. I’m an artist, I’m redesigning the house my soul lives in every day, and I’m loving every minute of it.
I’ve been calling my own name for such a long time and finally, I’m listening. Finally, I’m coming back. Finally, I’m coming home.
As cliché as it sounds, I’m not running away anymore. I’m running towards myself with open arms, ready to swallow the whole world.
All my love,