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September 04, 2019 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily

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’ve always been told I’m an extrovert. Funny how
you can be told something but not believe it yourself.
Typically, we think extroverts to be energized
by social interactions to the point where they crave it
constantly. And I do think this of myself. I love the feeling
of being surrounded by friends, the room buzzing. Because
of this expectation to fulfill the role of the extrovert, to be
“on” 24/7, my perception of being isolated has been warped.
This summer, I spent many hours baking in the
living room of my apartment in Hamtramck without
air conditioning. It was just me, my guitar and the oddly
specific poker decor leftover from the previous tenant. I
started to go crazy, finding any opportunity I could to be
around people, often standing in the corner at concerts
where I knew no one.
I quickly learned that just because I was “going out”
didn’t mean I was outgoing. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t
living up to my societally-ordained title of Extrovert with
a capital E.
When I read Olivia Laing’s “The Lonely City,”
everything clicked. Her part-memoir, part-art history
lesson examining what it means to be lonely surrounded
by people opened a part of me I never knew existed. We
as humans want to combat loneliness because of how it’s
stigmatized: Lonely people aren’t getting out enough;
Lonely people are longing for someone to talk to them;
Lonely people are just plain sad.
I finished this book at a back-alley restaurant in Pristina,
Kosovo. No one was sitting near me. In that post-finishing-
a-book glow, I realized valuing myself by how many people
I know doesn’t hold a candle to valuing myself by how well
I know me.

Wednesday, September 4. 2019 // The Statement
Wednesday, September 4, 2019 // The Statement


his summer I learned to love silence.
Coming from New Jersey, you could definitely
say I have a large and quite talkative personality.
My calm summer days used to consist of the crashing
waves on the Jersey Shore. However, I spent the summer
in Burlington, Vermont, surrounded by beautiful lakes,
mountains and a quiet peacefulness. I liked the views and
the countless Instagram opportunities, but I truly loved
the way that setting changed me.
Hiking on mountains alone with the sounds of nature
became my safe place to just be me. Lake Champlain
looked the same in person as it did on a postcard, reading
my book as I watched the sunset over my picturesque new
home. The silence was so present that it was loud enough
to drown out my own thoughts — the type of mental reset
everyone needs from time to time.
Over my summer, those peaceful moments were the
times I stopped to embrace and appreciate the here and
now. I became a kinder person to myself, my peers and the
earth. I became a better listener to myself and my friends.
It’s like at first, the silence of Vermont helped me to clear
my mind. By the end, that same silence was what organized
my mind.
As my summer in Vermont came to a close, I realized
my newfound love for peaceful quiet did not have to leave
when I did. Silence was not my Saturday hikes or a gentle
lake. Silence was the clear mindset I could push myself to
seek out and maintain, even in the hustle and bustle of Ann


ating disorder recovery: a love story
I’ve been asking myself lately if I’m ready
to start writing again. I can’t tell you how
many times I’ve opened the same notebook and
stared at the same blank page, daring myself to just
write. Not for a grade, not for an audience, just for
myself. I just couldn’t do it this summer.
The few pages of writing I have from the last few
months are jumbled and incomplete. Cursive turns
to scribbles and lines and dark circles of ink where
I let the pen bleed. So much has been torn up and
thrown away. Most of it was never written.
This isn’t a love story about writing, but it is a love
story about truth. This summer I learned how to tell
the truth. I learned what it means to be honest in
ways I hadn’t known were possible. I learned how to
vocalize what I’d known for a long time. I was always
lying through my teeth: to my parents, to my friends,
to my doctors, to myself. I didn’t want to be sick or
a burden. I didn’t want to be harming myself, and I
certainly didn’t want to be attention-seeking. But I’d
been staring at blank pages for so long that I didn’t
think I could do it anymore. Honestly, I could have,
but it made for a better love story to somehow admit
the truth.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s
OK. If you do, maybe you’ll know how hard it is to
recover. Maybe you know how broken you feel
looking in the mirror. How much strength it takes to

turn down one more drink or to just eat the burger.
But even beyond the constraints of an eating
disorder, maybe you know how much the truth can
burn on its way out. It is so hard not to end every
conversation with “I don’t know.” It is hard to love
people. It is hard to mend mistakes you’ve made over
and over, and it breaks me to admit I’m scared.
The truth is, I’m healing. I’m learning how to
write again.
I’m also stronger than I used to be — less fragile.
I’m more whole. I’m getting to know myself again,
and I’m trying to find the right words to say that.




love stories


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