I’ve always been social, even when I was bullied or dealing with my social anxiety. People have told me that I am outgoing, personable, and can make friends with a rock but I’ve always dealt with the struggle of getting out of my comfort zone, especially when it comes to making new friends and establishing new relationships. About a year ago I was feeling alone in the sense that I didn’t have a group of friends, I spent a lot of time by myself which isn’t a bad thing whatsoever, but I was missing the fun of getting together with a good group of people and just hanging out, stress free.
Growing up I had my group of friends but lets face it, at twelve years old you are not really going out much, driving anywhere, or doing what grown ups do if that makes any sense. You’re probably having a sleepover, eating together at the lunch table, or talking over AIM. Anyways, I haven’t really had a solid group of friends in a long time, nor have I tried to push myself beyond my limits to meet new people until I left for Italy. I met some incredible people on that trip and made some lifelong friends, people that I would tell my darkest secrets to or make time for even if I don’t have any to spare because these people have become my family. When we returned from Italy however, I lost touch with some of those great people. But when I look at the relationships that were made in that beautiful city, I know that when we reunite again It’ll be just as it was in Firenze. Coming home after my trip I spent a lot of time by myself, doing some soul searching and taking part in the things I’ve discovered to be a passion of mine such as photography, writing, and painting. I am grateful that I took this summer to focus on bettering myself. I developed a bond with my soul, I deepened my appreciation for my mind and body, which is something that has been long overdue and it has led me to this road of happiness that I am now traveling on.
With the end of the summer and beginning of fall, I met some incredible people and reconnected with old friends that have truly touched my heart. Each day I am swarmed with loving texts, phone calls, and snapchats, all by these remarkable people that I am lucky enough to call my friends. Today in particular we were planning a day in which I could do a photoshoot with them, I want to capture how beautiful these people are because their kindness, drive, and love they show not only to me, but everyone they touch is what truly makes them beautiful and I think they deserve to have it captured and showed to the world. Genuine people do not get the recognition they deserve these days and I feel that it is my duty not only as a photographer, but as the friend of these individuals to show them the beauty they possess.
In the midst of planning the photoshoot we also decided to have a party to welcome one of our friends from out of state and for my birthday! I’m pretty excited honestly because no one has ever thrown me a party before. I mean, my mom plans them for my family which are always fun, but I’ve never had friends that really cared enough to actually go out of their way and make my night special and it means a lot. To be surrounded by good people that are laughing and having fun is something that brings great joy to me, even if we weren’t celebrating my birthday I would still be just as happy because I would be spending this time with great people.
I believe that the time in which I’ve spent alone and figuring out who I am, has led me to meet and reconnect with these people. Before I felt alone and now I feel as though I belong to a close knit family with very diverse and loving people. It is days like today where I take a step back and see how far I’ve come and how much my life has changed for the better. For the first time in my life I know who I am, I know that I am truly myself and doing things that I love that make ME happy, I don’t live to please anyone anymore and that is beautiful in itself. Growing up I always tried to fit in with whatever crowd I could because I wanted to feel like I belonged, like I was MEANT to be friends with these people but I always felt like the black sheep, almost as if I was imposing on these groups of people, but I continued to be friends with them anyway. At the time I didn’t know my own strength or who I was as a person. Looking at where I am now, I know that I have true friends and that I am not pretending to be someone else to please them. They appreciate me for the pain in the ass I am, for the lame jokes I make, the kind gestures I try to show them, and for the playful threats I deliver when I try to be tough because that is who I am and they ACCEPT that. I can honestly say that I have never been this happy in my life, I truly love and embrace who I am on the inside and out, and I look at life with new eyes, as if I see every inch of beauty that covers the Earth and I am so very thankful for that.