I've never been the type to have a ton of friends.
It's not like I didn't want friends, but it seemed like the girls I wanted to hang out with were always just out of my league. Or they would hang out with me, but I was never that girl that walked into a party and everyone turns around and smiles is like "OMG What's up girl?". If I came at all, I would huddle with my one introvert ally and try to look occupied until someone decided to make conversation with me. I was never the first to be invited to well, anything, and if I wasn't explicitly invited, I was too embarrassed to show up, which generally meant I would spend a lot of Friday nights alone in my room.
When I came to college, I had this whole idea of "re-inventing" myself. Like maybe if I was somehow different from high school me or middle school me, people would like me better. I seriously SERIOUSLY considered going by my middle name, Skye, to seem edgier. I desperately wanted to feel vital to a friend group. I wanted someone to feel the ache of my absence from a hangout. I just think I wanted to feel like people liked me.
SO, I tried really hard Freshman year. Like too hard. I wore bronzer (what???), joined a sorority, and was flirting with boys I knew I didn't even like, and was basically exuding the phrase PLEASE GIVE ME ATTENTION. I talked about things I didn't care about, and claimed viewpoints I didn't believe in, and in the process I made some fake friends. I felt cool for like 3 seconds until I realized I still didn't have anyone that cared about me for being the real me. Like maybe they liked "cool artsy Instagram Kendall" but when I acted like myself, somehow the facade faded and I was an outsider again.
I started coming up with theories about why nobody wanted to be my friend, which is something I do when I feel insecure. I can't tell you how many times I have cried to my mom asking what it was about me that was so undesirable. The feeling totally sucks. I've considered the possibility that I wasn't attractive enough (even to girls) to merit making friends. I've thought, maybe if I was skinnier, more people would want to get to know me. I've been told I don't come across as a "nice" girl when people meet me, so I've tried handing out compliments like it was my job, a habit that I still have btw and you have probably noticed if you've ever talked to me, but I still didn't feel like it was working. I'm generally introverted and have some social anxiety that hinders me from wanting to reach out directly to people or invite myself to things I wasn't invited to. Even so, I tried REALLY hard to set up coffee dates with people I didn't really know and just anything I could do to get people to like me.
Then I up and ran out of damns to give.
I thought, "why am I doing this?" Along this road of loneliness, there have been friends in my life that have contributed more to my self esteem than groups of 500 fake friends ever could have. With their help, I finally came to the realization that I honestly don't care if I have 500 friends. I just REALLY wanted to be myself at that point. I was tired of being fake or holding back my thoughts so people would think I was nice, I was tired of suppressing my support for feminism or my political views so people wouldn't think I was aggressive and crazy, I was tired of taking free pictures for people I barely knew only for them to never talk to me again afterwards, I was tired of putting on crop tops and eyeliner for people I didn't even like, and mostly, I was tired of not even liking myself at the end of the day.
I still only have like 4 close friends and I'm probably never gonna be the girl who lights up the room or walks around with a posse of people, but I'm trying to be the most authentic version of myself, and attract the people who like me for that version of me. And the best part is, when you surround yourself with people that actually care about you and your feelings and your life, it feels like you have so many friends even when there's only a few of 'em! It's so much more fulfilling and inspiring. I'm still a naturally emotional and lonely person, so I'm not trying to act like there's a fairytale ending to this totally emo blog post, but all I'm saying is that I'm done punishing myself for not "fitting in" or whatever the heck you wanna call it. Maybe I'm not supposed to fit in, and maybe my loner tendencies are growing me in ways I can't anticipate yet.
That being said, I'm so hopeful for this last year of university, and I'm pretty lucky to have some fine ladies by my side as roommates. Here are some pictures we took of each other on the beach as we planned our girl power shrine for our future apartment and our wednesday night roomie dinner dates. Things work out, guys.