COVID-19 taught me how to “do me.”

August 17, 2021 11:30 AM

a crown icon and the words "rising voices award winner"
A painted mural of outstretched hands. Photo courtesy of Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.

A painted mural of outstretched hands. Photo courtesy of Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.

As I was exposed to a new place, new people and everything I’ve ever dreamed of, I thought it was a good idea to try and bond with everyone at school. I thought that making myself “likable” would be a good way of introducing myself.  If I do say so myself, it’s not.

The “best way” of being likable for me was to try and make everyone happy, but soon after I noticed that making new friends wasn’t working at all. It probably wasn’t working  because I just don’t like following everyone. I have never been someone to follow other people, I usually do whatever I feel like is right. 

Later, due to family issues, I turned into a hot-headed person, lashing out easily and trying to isolate myself from everyone. Even though I was putting on the biggest smile of my life, all just to hide sadness and anger I had going at the time.

Then, the COVID-19 outbreak hit the world. What everyone thought would be “only two weeks” ended up becoming an eternity. I didn’t even get to finish my freshman year of high school. ‘Till this day I still feel like a freshman. Even though this unique experience stopped me from going to places I would’ve loved to visit, it still gave me time to think about who I am. It gave me the patience to understand the situation I was in, and to be honest with you, it gave me a chance to “do me.”

One of the things that helped me become “Albin'' was therapy. As simple as it sounds, therapy was probably the biggest thing to help me. Before I actually started going to therapy, I was being just mean about it all, I thought “nah, they think I’m crazy. That’s for weak people. I don’t need that.” As much as I was against going to therapy, I ended up being one of those “weak” people. And looking back on it, the weak one was me because it takes a lot of someone (specifically me) to say anything to someone they’ve never met before. Therapy helped me manage my anger, the output of the way I felt, and my therapist went as far as helping me in relationships. It taught me to trust people, deal with them and be able to understand people better. And probably the most important skill therapy taught me, a sense of unity with who “Albin” really is. 

With all this came online school, as much as I HATED online school, it helped me get along with new people. Since I wasn't under the same level of pressure of dealing with people in person, online it was easier to understand some classmates, I didn’t really think of them as friends though. I wasn’t the best classmate and I didn’t consider myself the best classmate but at the end of the day, I was just doing me in class not thinking too much of it. I found people whom I ended up being cool  with. I had found a sense of who I was and became comfortable enough to share it out to the world.

Along with online school, Teens In Print’s winter programming gave me the chance to meet people with similar interests as me, the most notable being writing. But, even beyond  writing, a lot of people I talked to in the program were really nice and different from anybody else I’ve ever met. I got to know some inspiring/interesting personalities. It was like a classroom, from the ones that always hung around each other to the one I had to mainly go up to. Each and every seat was filled with different people, from the loudest to the quietest. It was and is one of the most enjoyable things to do. TiP introduced me to the idea of meeting new people and actually liking them even though you’ve never met them in person. 

While all those things were looking good, I was still “alone” dealing with my own stuff. As the pandemic went on and on I came to understand that even though I still needed to get along with people, nobody  but me could fix my issues. Yeah I was going through therapy but there’s no point in doing all that if I can’t put it into practice. I started doing things for myself to find a way to make myself happy. I turned back to writing, reading books and manga, and just doing things that would make me happy. Hanging out with “me” has become one of my favorite things to do. Just getting to know more things about the world and just having me-time is definitely amazing.

Now, whenever I go out or whoever I see, I’m Albin. It doesn’t matter what people think, I can tell who I am. The best way to reflect on my change is in my personality, and through personality tests I’ve taken. My personality went from one of the most extroverted and nicest, this being ENFJ, to being the rarest one, INFJ. Even though I still care about others, I find being with me to be a priority. I like how far this has come and the accuracy of it because it just shows that I really “do me” nowadays. And, that’s all folks!

Featured articles: