An essential part of the Back to School experience is the process of rewinding the film and examining the summer months: Did I make the most of my summer? Have I adequately prepared myself for the challenges ahead? Do I have any regrets? While I may not be returning to school this fall, I see no reason why I cannot adopt this spirit and reflect on my summer.
Here are the facts: I was unemployed. I stayed in most weekend nights. I was in a relationship that finally fell apart. I kept to myself, hunkered down in my basement. I watched a lot of Netflix.
In the past, I would have been embarrassed by this summer. There were no grand adventures, I didn't come away with epic tales of debauchery and rebellion...and I am more than okay with that. I am confident that my seemingly sad and wasted summer was actually one of the most important times in my life. This summer, I became a student of the self.
What does that mean, "student of self?" It means that I have begun the process of unpacking a lifetime of pain. It means that I am working toward breaking the cycle. It means that I am learning the tremendous power of becoming self-aware. It is the hardest work I have ever done, but it was this work that got me through this tumultuous time in my life.
What did this "work" entail? I wrote in my journal with a brutal honesty that I have never allowed myself. When faced with uncomfortable situations or thoughts, I actively examined them and dug deep to the roots, rather than running away from them. I asked myself the toughest questions one can ask, all in the name of a better life through self-awareness. I would not rest until I fully believed that I am a unique human event. I know myself now. I know my worth and I don't question it for a moment.
I'm grateful for the time I spent alone this summer. As much as loneliness frightens me, I desperately needed solitude for this work. It was an education in truly experiencing my emotions. I willingly sat in some intense feelings, both fresh and long-ignored, and embraced their raw truths. Each wave of human feeling was a lesson: Pain is temporary. Knowing myself is permanent.
How I spent my summer vacation. I cried. I mourned. I felt intense rage. It wasn't exciting or glamorous and, at times, it wasn't particularly fun, but I have zero regrets about how I chose to spend my time. I am filled with the same exhilaration I felt as a child going back to school. I spent my summer learning about my self and have built a ferocious appetite for it. The next chapter of my education as a student of self is just beginning, and I am ready for every lesson that comes my way. Nothing can stop me, now that I have a stronger self of self.
A stronger sense of Kait.