None of us knew and realized how tragic the COVID-19 pandemic would be to us all. Though tough for us all, little did I know, the COVID-19 pandemic would actually help me on my self love journey. Self love is key to having peace with yourself and showing love, kindness, and grace to others too. Indeed, self love has become ONE of my favorite topics to share on my social media, especially my Instagram (follow me @_thepinkchickadee). I will pre-phase that I firmly believe that one’s self love journey is a roller coaster – we all have our up’s and down’s and it’s not ever a linear journey, like one may think. BUT, surprisingly COVID-19 helped me grow on my self love journey in ways that I had never anticipated.
Before COVID-19, it was 2019. 2019 was the year that I was struggling the most with my self worth. I defined my own self based on what I wore, bought, activities I did, trips I took, and how frequent I did it all. My self definition of whether or not I saw myself as “worthy” of love didn’t depend on my flaws, rather it depended on how I presented myself to the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, like pretty much EVERY college student, I was forced to leave my beloved college campus to go home. Home for me is in Virginia – 5 hours away from my sweet Meredith College and the majority of my college community who lived in Raleigh and called it home. ALL of us were pretty much confined to our homes for a few months. I got depressed. I missed my old way of life – the life that so defined how I viewed myself.
There were quite a few weeks-months in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that I became really depressed. I missed my previous way of life more than anything else. Especially being in Virginia, when my friends got together slowly but surely in Raleigh in Summer 2020, I felt extremely sad not to be there. Needless to say, I felt crushed by all of the things that I was missing out on due to COVID-19, just like my fellow classmates and peers. However, as I was feeling crushed and felt like the things that defined me for the better were taken away from me, I was essentially forced to look at myself from a whole new lens. A new lens of which allowed me to look at myself for who I was, rather than who others saw.
Y’all, I used to care SO much about what others thought of me that it took away from me simply being me. Caring about what others thought of me hurt me SO much (read more about my experiences that hurt me when I cared about others here). When I was caring about what others saw me in their own eyes, I lost a ton of touch with how I viewed myself. Most importantly, how we view ourselves is the ONLY person whose opinion of ourselves matters. During the pandemic, as my plans started to dwindle, so did how much I cared about how others thought of me. And, thus, I started to look at myself for who I was and rather how I was seen.
At the same time of all of the COVID-19 ongoings, I started my platform here at The Pink Chickadee. My blog here helped me not only pass the time during the COVID-19 pandemic that kept me at home more than I would have liked to, just like many of y’all too. If you know anything about blogging, then you know that being a blogger or influencer or small business owner of any kind involves A LOT of putting yourself out there. The more I focused on my blogging platform, the more I put myself out there and the more I really focused on loving myself and what makes me ME.
As for my Fall 2020 semester, my apartment roommate decided not to come back to campus for the year. One of my then-friends that I was super close to decided not to come back to in-person classes as well. SO, my plans for the Fall 2020 semester were crushed it felt like. I would be living alone in an apartment in the middle of a pandemic that kept us all apart from our friends and the regular occurrences of college life. I was devastated. BUT, I ended up really loving living alone and truly had time to focus on solely me. My time during the Fall 2020 semester living alone did wonders for me. I got to work on myself in ways like never before.
While the COVID-19 pandemic was a struggle for us ALL and still directly impacts each and every single one of us 2 years later, it has also allowed me to become a better me. Through it all, COVID-19 has helped all of us in different ways, ways in which will make us who we are meant to be – stronger and more resilient – in the long run.
XOXO – Katie <3