Have you ever been surrounded by so many people but felt so lonely? As in, who am I? what is my significance? I experienced this feeling when I first moved from Florida to New York. Most of my life I had been surrounded by family and friends. Now I found myself in a new city, alone. It was scary, it was depressing, but eventually it became empowering.
Prior to my move, I had visited many places within the States and outside of the U.S. Moving to another state felt like I was in another world. A world of unknowns. I didn’t know where I’d buy groceries, where I would work , or the people I would surround myself with. I felt lost and alone. The first few months of my move were dire. I poured myself into running because it forced me to get my mind away from all of the scary thoughts. After a nice run, I’d feel renewed and restored until uncertainty crept back in.
I had depressing times. I didn’t want to meet people. I wanted my old life back. My old friends, my job, my salsa, all of it. I even thought perhaps I made the mistake of a lifetime by moving. I felt like I threw it all away. At least so I thought. The moments of negativity would be so difficult to bear. I’d stay in bed and not want to do anything. Before I had a social life, now I didn’t.
In New York, I’d catch the train or bus and everyone would be in their own space. No acknowledgment, hello, or anything. On top of that, I wasn’t active on social media. Social media use to give me a sense of self, purpose, and belonging because people would confirm my existence. Their “likes” and comments seemed to be affirmations that signified that I was somebody. I didn’t have that either. It was difficult and I had to deal with it.
So much of my being has been attached to people, material things, and what I did. My move to New York stripped me of all of it. I had to redefine who I was. I was still me, just in a different environment. I’ve grown since moving to New York. Now that I live in Chicago, I find that I still fight some of those same feelings. Those thoughts of who am I? Why do I care so much about this or that? Why is “it” affecting me so profoundly? “It” defined as whatever is bothering me at the moment.
Tonight I came across this compelling quote by Eckhart Tolle, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” That is it! My state of being is constantly changing and so is my understanding of WHO I AM. The journey has been fruitful. I’m learning more and more about myself every day. At times it scares me and it can even be depressing. Most of all, it has been empowering.