During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, almost everyone felt confused, scared, and alone. After the initial first months of confusion surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the realization that the COVID-19 virus would last more than a few weeks, I decided to embrace the isolation.
I had just recently gone through a breakup and was ready to reinvent myself to figure out what my adult self deserved. The world felt frozen, but it was the perfect time for me to blossom without the embarrassment of others watching me learn through failing.
I moved to San Diego, CA with my best friend/cousin/now-roommate. She was the perfect partner to help me with my self-discovery and always made me the most comfortable. Through our journey together I’ve made a mental list of what worked for me and I’m pleased to be able to share.
- Discover what you like
Doing something creative opens your senses and challenges you. If you fail you can always try again, but make sure it’s enjoyable for you! Art, singing, dancing, and poetry are things you can do to express yourself.
I initially found that I wanted to use my free time to work on my creativity. After high school, I found that college held me back from expressing myself creatively through projects, paintings, or other works. During this time I explored different mediums such as embroidery and digital art. I was even able to inspire my otherwise uncreative roommate and he made an awesome embroidered skeleton hand! My roommates and I often had silly paint nights after dinner and used our work to decorate our space. It felt meaningful, creative, and mine. Rediscovering my creativity was a big step in helping me be myself again.
- Talk to yourself
It is important to have conversations with yourself and reflect so that you can move forward with things that may be bothering you or that are not easily accessible
I spent most of my days at home, keeping busy with new projects, thoughts, and goals. I started with an affirmation journal and coffee each morning.
Here, I could face what I was feeling and start my day with the intention of how I wanted it to go. My affirmation book, “Today I Affirm” by Alexandra Elle, allowed me to do a daily morning reflection. I allowed myself to be vulnerable in ways I had not expressed to myself before and affirmed that it was all out of love and normalcy. It was grounding and spacious. This inspired me to continue such practices of self-improvement.
I realized that I wasn’t working for the first time in my life since I turned 16. My brain and body felt quiet and free giving me the space I needed to be comfortable to try new things. I was able to pay attention to myself in more realms than I had experienced before: being mindful, emotional wellness and sexual exploration were all aspects enhanced by self-reflection.
- Accomplish Body Comfort
This is important because you will be in your body for your whole life! Redefine what body confidence means for you and what you’ll have to do to achieve that. Being comfortable with yourself is the first step to happiness.
This can look like new clothes, moving your body, or rejecting toxic social media. Look in the mirror!
My biggest challenge at the time was body confidence. My break-up helped me communicate to myself that I was beautiful and worth everything I thought I deserved.
I used my daily affirmations to help me respect my body. There were still times I cried because more clothes stopped fitting. I had a full-on breakdown when I had to replace my birth control due to some weight requirements.
But overall, I worked hard to accept myself. I started dressing up in more stylish clothes that worked with my body, I forced myself to look in the mirror and tried not to judge myself when I did. I got piercings! Those made me feel a lot better for being able to express myself that way.
I left a sticky-note affirmation on my mirror that said “Every day I affirm I am sexy”. That one is still on my mirror today. I did photoshoots and followed women on Instagram who were stylish and looked like me! If they could do it I sure as hell could too.
Do things you’ve never done before. Check in with your comfort level, once you do you can get out of your comfort zone in a way that doesn’t feel too much for you.
This can look like being a tourist in your city, driving with no destination, or letting others take you on an adventure
My favorite aspect of this journey was my exploration.
I had recently got my car, Veronica, and she was my best friend. I had never lived in San Diego before so I took every opportunity I had to take long drives with no destination in mind. I researched to see how I could be a better tourist in my city.
I visited the San Diego Botanic Garden and took a 40-minute drive downtown to visit some small shops. The adventures seemed endless as long as I had an inkling of an idea.
My favorite spot soon revealed itself. I peered down some steps that plunged into the distance of the ocean. Cassidy Street Beach was a small beach with sea-soaked stairs that kissed the ocean at dusk. She was beautiful, and she was mine.
- Find others to connect with
Gravitate towards groups that have similar interests as you. Be yourself! Trust me, you won’t find genuine friends if you’re being disingenuous with yourself.
I eventually moved back to San Jose, CA to restart my life, hoping the restrictions would eventually subside.
I will never forget what San Diego was able to give me, and how beautiful I felt in the sun. I took all the knowledge and beauty to Northern California and have realized since then that I am the happiest I have been in a long time.
I immersed myself in campus life when in-person classes finally returned. I craved everything I missed out on and wanted to experience it through my new lens on life.
My roles in Her Campus at SJSU provided me with the challenges I needed to prove to myself I could. I became immensely passionate about being with a group of girls that prioritized women’s rights and wanted to make the most of their college experience.
Self-love allowed me the confidence I needed to start accomplishing everything I wanted to do in college- being committed and a leader of an organization, making meaningful friendships, and most of all creativity.
- Practice self-love
I have fallen in love with myself in an unwavering way that no boy has yet to penetrate.
I believe that I carry myself with wisdom and beauty that have gone through some immense challenges. The most beautiful part is that I came out stronger.
I encourage all women to embrace themselves and find how they can feel beautiful in adulthood.
As women in college, we don’t often get this encouragement or guide on how to do so. I’m no expert, but I hope my tips can make us all better, beautiful, and our most meaningful selves.
I wish you the best of luck on your journey! Tell us how you practice self-love @HerCampusSJSU