Doing what’s best for you.
Now, this might be a cliché topic, but it’s something that I have really come to learn. Also, how doing what’s best for you, can help you really find yourself. I read this quote online, “Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not what’s best for everyone else.” This hit me hard because I was always doing what seemed best for everyone around me. When it came time for me to make my own life’s decisions, I always took others opinions very seriously, and that affected me on what I thought I should do. Now, I’m not saying input from others is bad because sometimes it can be helpful, I just mean when it comes to your decisions in your life, you decide what you want for yourself.
Now one story that I will share was a major life-changing event, and it’s a personal story, but I would like to share it with y’all because it has helped me figure out who I am and maybe I can assist you in some way too.
Growing up my dad was always traveling for his job. He was gone every week or two depending on where he was going, and home only for the weekend. As he did this, my family moved to where he was working, as he got assignments. When it came time for me to go to high school, my dad received an assignment to go live abroad, and we decided as a family it was better to go with him instead of not seeing him for two months. This decision found me going to online school, which changed my whole high school career. Skipping ahead in time to when we got home and getting ready for the next school year, I tried to get back into the local school system. We wanted to prove I was ready to start my sophomore year at the school, except they didn’t accept my online school credits, which, I’m not going to lie, sucked! I told my best friend, I did everything I could do to try to get back in but still couldn’t. So, I said myself, “Well, I just have to move on and finish the rest of high school online and feel kind of isolated.”
We subsequently found a program whose credits would be accepted to colleges, but I would have to start again with my freshman year, and it set me back in schooling. Compared to my peers, I was basically put back a year. Knowing and feeling like I couldn’t graduate with my friends brought my spirit down because it’s a huge milestone in a young person’s life, you know? Luckily, I had friends from church and some who I kept in contact with, and eventually, I met new people later.
Skipping ahead to May of 2018:
My friends are getting ready to graduate, and I’m over here feeling like I can’t graduate with them, like a loner, dumb all because I got behind in school work. I know this may seem overrated, but I wanted to be one of those walking across the stage and receiving a diploma. Also, during this time, I was dealing with depression, which led to me being very unmotivated with my schooling. I just wanted to be done, give up, basically quit everything! And that’s exactly what I did. When my parents started to notice I wasn’t doing anything with school, they kept trying to push me. The more they pushed me, the more I didn’t want to do it and didn’t listen. Just like a normal teenager, right?
Then one day my Dad brought up the GED and how I should do that instead of doing nothing. I thought alright, you’re right. So, we talked about the steps on how to get ready for the test, looking up prep courses/classes, and all the above. A few months passed, and I still hadn’t progressed with any classes or steps; just feeling stuck again. Feeling like I let down my parents, I became even more depressed.
Flash forward to August:
Being the most depressed I’ve ever been, dealing with self-harming throughout the summer. I finally had the thought like “why don’t I just move out of the house?” My friends were all leaving for college, and I wanted to do that too. I wanted to go to college but how could I do that without finishing high school or having an equivalent to it. Then I thought, “Wow I just wasted my whole summer doing nothing to better my life besides working.”
Now, you might be like, what? What does this have to do with “doing what’s best for yourself?” I promise there is a point, keep reading.
My thoughts were about wanting to give up on school, wanting to leave the house, overall disappointment with where I was at, and feeling stuck. Then the scary part for me was talking to both of my parents about the depression and my self-harming. For the first time, after months of me hiding it.
It was such a scary moment to talk to them and just finally admitting it, and being open with them. They finally understood what was going on with me, and how deep my feelings were.
After this talk one day, my mom mentioned I should call my aunt and tell her because she has a better understanding of things due to her profession as a Psychologist. So, I called her and told her what was going on. She said “Why don’t you come up and live with me for a while. We can figure out how to help you and get you on a good path.” I told my parents the idea, and they weren’t so sure at first, but finally thought it was ok to do, as it could prove to be a “soft landing” somewhere away from home, still in the protection of family, with a trusted relative who understands much of what I’ve been experiencing, professionally, and to a degree, personally.
Now, this is the thing that had a significant effect on me: my friends. When I was getting ready first to tell my best friends I was moving and why, my first thoughts to myself were, “What are they going to think of me leaving? What are they going to think when I tell them why? How am I supposed to say goodbye to the people that I’ve known for a big chunk of my life? I trusted them with everything and was worried about how they were going to react.” Well, I can tell you I had some who supported me for going then there were others who questioned it, saying, “I’m fine,” “get over it” or, “good luck, bye.” I then realized some of these friendships were toxic and I let them go. I couldn’t be held back, as much I loved my friends I had to leave and do what was best for me. I knew what I had to do for me and figure out how to change my life. But letting go of a best friend is a difficult thing to do because you tell them everything and spend so much time with them. For this person, I felt like I was always the one reaching out to them, and if they reached out to me, it was only for favors - buying them things, or doing things I didn’t want to be a part of. So, it was a one-sided thing.
Have you ever heard of the Golden Rule in Algebra? If not, the saying for an equation is “Do unto one side of the equation what you do to the other.” I know this is a silly way to think of it, but I like to relate to friendships/relationships in the way that it’s an equal effort on both sides. It’s a 50/50 effort for both people to reach out and try to help each other and feel wanted by the other person. So, I thought about the friendship, and it was time for no more negativity from people who honestly never helped me in the first place, and life was always about them.
A quote that I found very fitting was
“No one knows your situation better than you. Do what’s best for you and explain it to them later. If they can’t love you through it, then they weren’t meant to be in your life. – Tony Gaskins”
To my best friends who stuck with me and were always there (still are) and loved me for me, I say “thank you,” and I am forever grateful you are in my life. So, shout out to my girls, my “day ones,” Bekah, Cosette, Tina, and Victoria. I love you all so much, and y'all are the best of the best. Even from losing a best friend before I left, I still gained an even better best friend while being at my Aunts, which leads me back to me living with my Aunt. I am thankful to her for opening up her home to me and having her help in guiding me through the process of the GED, completing it, and also receiving the help I needed from a counselor.
Dealing with so much time on my own while living with her, I got to know myself even more. And since I didn’t have any friends, I had to keep myself busy. So, I would end up writing, or exploring the city. (which I love doing); working out, going for drives, listening to music, learning to do everything on my own, keeping up with the goals I had in mind, which was to go to prep classes for the GED and talk to my counselor on a weekly basis on my own. Deepening relationships and how much it means to not take family for granted. Especially with my parents and siblings. So, another shout out goes to my parents, and they are truly my “day ones” because they helped with literally everything. I love you, Mom and Dad! Thank you for always being there, for all the advice and guidance on everything. Right up until I left the situation at my Aunts, I ended up gaining an even better best friend, so things worked out in the end.
For doing what’s best for you, follow your own lead; listen to your inner self. Maybe you will have to leave some friends behind or move to a new place, change jobs, change whatever your situation is, so you, yourself, can be happy. This is going to sound sappy, but life will always have its challenges. I can say looking back over the past year; I never would’ve expected what the past months have had in store for me both good and bad. Also, to be where I am currently with my mental state, relationships with family and friends and finally being happy with what I’m doing to accomplish what I’ve always wanted for myself. If you can believe in Santa for a good part of your life, then you can find in yourself for at least five minutes. Despite what challenges you’re going through, stay strong. Believe in yourself and push through babes.