My #BeReal guest today is Britta Buchanan.
What does it mean to #bereal?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, in the context of how I perceive myself and in the context of how others perceive me. As I write this, I am wrapping up one semester of teaching English in Thailand with the intention of heading back home to the United States after a bit of travel. Six months ago, I would have told you that I’d for sure sign on after another semester in Thailand; the idea of living abroad was still enticing and new at that point and I couldn’t imagine any context where I would want to come home. In fact, back in September, upon my arrival in Thailand, I wrote in my journal that going home would be a step back.
Why go home when there is a world of opportunity to explore and find myself in? It is with this mindset that I continued my journey abroad. It only took a rough few weeks in January and February where I refused to admit how unbelievably unhappy I was—a few rough weeks that ended in an emotional break down–for me to consider that perhaps staying wasn’t in my best interest. It wasn’t until I experienced that break down that I finally allowed myself to realize that what I thought I wanted for myself is different from what I actually want. It allowed me to realize that, although I love my students and there is so much about Thailand that I love, it is not right for me to be here right now.
Within the past few weeks—in the time that I decided to leave Thailand—my perceptions of myself have changed drastically. I went from seeing myself as an adventuring expat, to a traveler with a desire to reconnect with and appreciate my home. I’ve realized that my wish to return home doesn’t make me any less adventuresome. No, coming to realize my desire to return home more so means that I’m in tune to what my body wants and needs; it means that I’m open to a change of plans in order for me to meet those wants and needs and to accepting what life throws at me as it comes.
While living abroad, I have experienced an immense amount of personal growth and I have pushed myself in more ways than one. I have constantly been questioning my identity and who I am—so when Hasty commented on my blog and asked me to participate in this #BeReal series, my first question to myself was, how can I be real if I’m not even quite sure who I am?
I am at a point in my life where my perceptions of myself are constantly changing. I have grown so much and changed so much in the past couple years that I hardly recognize the person I was even three, four months ago. Lately, I’ve been feeling that my perceptions of myself are way ahead of the perceptions others have of me. Lately, I’ve been feeling that the way I perceive myself has changed so drastically in the last few months that other people simply can’t keep up. Their perceptions of me are outdated, in a sense.
At first, I was troubled by this—this understanding that how I see myself isn’t necessarily how others see me. However, I’m now realizing that that’s okay. What other people think of me is hardly my concern as long as I am happy with myself and my life… and the people who matter most in my life will follow me through my changes and embrace the person I am and the person I’m becoming regardless of where my life takes me.
Other people’s perceptions aside, there was still that question—how can I be real if I don’t even know who I am? If what I think about myself is different from one day from the next? To hell with other people’s perceptions, what I think about myself matters and what do I think about myself?
It didn’t take long to figure out that I was completely over-analyzing the entire concept behind the #bereal campaign. Being real isn’t about having your life figured out… no, being real is about accepting yourself for who you are at any given time and embracing that. How I perceive myself today isn’t necessarily how I will see myself tomorrow or a year from now, but that doesn’t make my thoughts and feelings and desires of the present any less significant. Embracing yourself at any and all moments of life is the very essence of what it is to be real.
My name is Britta. I am almost 23 (and may be 23 by the time this post is published—I do have a March birthday, after all). I’m a current English Teacher in Thailand, though the future is wide open. I think a lot of things about myself and I’m not really sure who I am, but I have an idea of who I want to be. I’m not that person yet and I don’t know when I will become that person, but that’s okay. I am allowing myself room to grow and space to mature and come into myself a little bit more. You don’t have to have your life figured out by the time your 22—hell, I would argue that you don’t have to have your life figured out ever, as long as you’re content with where you are—and I think being able to admit that is the realest thing possible.
Britta Buchanan is a twenty-something dreamer, thinker, and writer. Her blog “It’s a Britta Bottle!” is the creative outlet where she combines those three important parts of her identity into words and ideas that she’s mostly pretty proud of. She recently just finished up six months of teaching English in Thailand and is probably traveling somewhere neat as you read this. Britta’s not quite sure where her post Thailand adventures will take her, though she has a few ideas. You’re welcome to follow her through whatever life throws at her on her blog. She also likes to Instagram sometimes and she occasionally updates her Goodreads.
Late night Snapchat to a best friend—I love this selfie because I took it in a very confident moment when I didn’t give a damn and just wanted to be silly. I find that the Snapchat selfies I send to my close friends are often times as real as it gets because I’m always open to letting my guard down with them.