I had plans with a friend this morning, and he canceled them. I had plans with a friend tonight, and she canceled them. I said it was fine, and it was. But if I am to be completely honest, I was looking forward to seeing them both. I needed a chance to clear my head. And while sometimes my head gets cleared better when I’m alone, oftentimes it’s cleared better when I’m with other people.

I decided to do some of my own head-clearing by cleaning my room. I put on my Brand New Eyes record and got to it. I put away my colored pencils, pressed down the falling corners of the La La Land art stuck on the wall and organized my books. And somehow, I felt like myself. Somehow as I hummed along to “The Only Exception” scratching out on my record player, everything about my room — music and all — felt like me.

And it was beautiful.

I felt like I could see a part of my soul. I could see my pain laced in drawings I never bothered to share. I could see the healing in the movie quotes taped to the wall. Memories of friendship and falling in love were attached to my guitar. Late nights and loneliness were connected to the books I never bothered to finish.

All these things made me think about how broken I have been. They made me think about the bandaids I’ve tried to patch over wounds that have never truly healed. But they also made me think about how I’ve changed — how I’ve grown — how I’ve become a better person — and how truly, I love myself.

I never would have been able to feel that way a year ago. Reading old journal entries makes me feel twisted up inside because I didn’t value myself as a person. When I liked a guy, I felt that I would never be good enough for him. When friends didn’t want to hang out, I thought I wasn’t important enough. People have told me lies about myself, but I have also told me lies about myself.

I am beautiful. I am brave. I am strong. And every day I am believing these things more.

You are important, too. Maybe you have lots of self-love, and maybe you have very little. What matters is that one day at a time, you are moving on. You are growing. You are changing. And rather than pushing away this future you can’t avoid, choose to embrace it. Choose to embrace yourself. Choose to love all of your quirks and forgive your flaws.

Because perhaps you’re strange, but you’re also beautiful.


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