“i” — Isn’t it supposed to be capitalized?

I have been told I dwell in gray areas. Never fully able to decide on black or white, I linger comfortably, in the middle. I remember taking multiple personality assessments throughout my college career and one stuck out the most to me; the StrengthsQuest. Two years ago, my top strength was adaptability.

Back then, I prided myself on what I thought was adaptable characteristics because I could work in various settings, handle multiple situations and work well with different groups of people. Although those things were true, I also found weakness in my strength. I was more along the lines of indecisive, suppressing what I really wanted and not knowing what I really wanted by sacrificing them for the other person or other groups of people. I was practicing this behavior so long I didn’t notice it until it was forced to my attention. A list of my responses to questions included, “I don’t know, what do you want?” “Oh, it’s whatever.” “I really don’t have a preference.”

Having repeated those words thousands of times, my ability to voice my opinions dwindled. It was mission impossible to think about what “I” wanted, needed and desired without thinking about who it affected, what certain people thought about if I made this move, etc. From my sophomore year to my current status as a senior, four out of my five top strengths have changed. I’ve grown by asking myself what I want, taking risks for different opportunities and not being confined by the state lines of South Carolina, by my upbringing in the rural low country of Cross and by myself. I’m learning how to be selfish when being selfless and a servant leader makes up a majority of who I am. I must admit it gets hard, trying to put yourself first when you’re accustomed to being the fixer, adapting to the needs of those around you but it sure as hell feels good showing yourself love. Spending time in my own mind, assessing my thoughts, eating dinner by myself without a burning desire for social interactions, reading a good book to and from the metro, listening to my smooth jazz, Amy Winehouse and slow jamz without conforming to the questionable sounds of the rap game and searching for the answers to the tough questions within myself instead of looking to others for reassurance.

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