BY GABRIEL GUZMAN
Growing up I was in love with the idea of love—I still am. Now it makes sense why I’ve always loved romance movies. The best part while watching romantic comedies was the idea that love had been lost, but by the end you could always expect a reconciliation. I took everything I watched and played re-runs in my head, pretending that it was my life. But it wasn’t. Boy was I bitter. All those school dances, and parties when I had no one to accompany but my friends, I just wanted my own experience I could replay in my head.
In high school I was lost. I didn’t really have an identity of my own. I was always that guy everyone was trying to figure out. Now-a-days my friends remind me of how “well-known” I was, but no one actually knew me. I often felt left out as my friends lived a more fascinating life. I tried going to a couple high school “parties”, only to feel how forced it was. I hated that feeling.
What I didn’t hate, was my friends. They literally made every day of my high school experience worth something. Through the friendships I lost, and gained, I laughed, cried, and loved like I never thought I would. To this day I am grateful, because that experience has somehow shaped who I am today.
High school was finally over and it was time to begin a new chapter in my life: college. This is where I gained more confidence. A portion of my insecurities came from comparing myself to others. I wasn’t necessarily jealous of others, but I concentrated on what they had that I didn’t have. Gabrielle Union said something during her speech at the 2013 ESSENCE Back Women in Hollywood event that heavily describes this period of my life in regards to anyone. She said that in the past she felt that any shine from her fellow actors (specifically black women) diminished her shine, and like her, I had to realize that was not the case.
Self-love: I owed it myself. I knew that I couldn’t love anyone, in any form, if I couldn’t love everything about myself. The goal was to be the best version of myself, so I went on a social media cleanse (that I strongly recommend for everyone). I was absent from social media for almost three months, which is not long enough in my opinion, but as a millennial, I was proud of myself. I noticed that when I stopped watching what others were doing, I stopped caring. I was no longer worried about the things I didn’t have, but I was more appreciative of the things I did.
I became more confident than ever. I had to do it for the sake of my sanity. I learned something valuable during the time—not everything online is as it seems. We often hear that, but it is true. We should never take social media seriously because for all we know it could be the one’s flaunting their lives the most that are struggling, and the one’s that hardly post, the most content.
Someone recently shared something with me that I would like to share with you. We have been conditioned to give love to others, so much that we forget to love ourselves. And sometimes when there’s a loss, we can’t imagine how to move on. The sooner we can learn to be content alone; the sooner we can be on the path to self-discovery.
“Spiritual solitude is a huge component in self-evolution. And when you want to evolve, or you are evolving regardless if you want to or not, like someone like myself who is developing clairvoyant abilities by the age of 20, because that’s my genetic disposition as a Caribbean person, it comes to you, and you have to accept it. It says in many books—it’s going to come to a point where you’re not going to relate to people anymore, and people are not going to relate to you, and the things that you use to share your time with or anything--the parties, the girls, the men, the friends I use to be friends with, I didn’t relate to it anymore. It was a time where I had to have solitude, and force myself into solitude, because I wasn’t trying to play myself. If something wasn’t right to me I couldn’t force myself in it. My body was rejecting it, my mind was rejecting it, my spirit was rejecting it, so I had to be alone.”