I feel like it is difficult to find a place where you belong in LA. Yesterday, a girl friend of mine confessed that she didn’t feel like she belonged in her acting school, like people in her class didn’t care about whether she was there or not. She wanted to find her home, a place where she felt like she was welcomed and accepted. A place where she “fit in”. I totally got it. I understood exactly where she was coming from. It completely reminded me of how I felt before I left LA. I felt alone even though I was surrounded by “friends.” I felt hollow because I kept on trying to act like the people in my crew. There wasn’t a place where I could truly be myself and be accepted. I wanted to find a place where I belonged. (Cue music: “Go The Distance” from Disney’s “Hercules”)
For those of you who don’t know, I went to Thailand for a month. Part of it was to have a backpacking adventure. The other part was to meet my dad who I hadn’t seen in 20 years. #FREAKOUT! This trip ended up being everything I wanted and more. As cheesy as it sounds, it was truly life-changing. I’ve always known who I was, but I didn’t know where I belonged. And for the first time in forever, I found everything my heart was desiring– I found my HOME♥ Here is how I found out where I belonged:
1. Get out of your normal space. Change of environment is a valid form of therapy. Granted, you don’t have to go to Thailand. Or even make an extensive trip. But if you are needing to find yourself, get out of your house. Go on a hike up to a peaceful look out. Or take yourself to a quiet beach. Somewhere that is beautiful to you. For me, it was Thailand. Naturally, I was able to drop the heavy loads of stress I had been carrying in LA. Completely surrounded by beaches that were truly paradise, water so blue and clear, lagoons and jungles that made me feel like I was in Neverland, I was able to let my worries fly away. With all these new exciting sights and sounds and people and food, it was impossible to not truly live in the present moment and really LIVE. I felt RADIANT, VIBRANT, ENGAGED, and full of LOVE. So this is what true living felt like! Give me more, please!
2. Get to know other people. Seriously– take a few moments and really ask someone else how they are and what they are doing. Find out their story. The moment you start being interested in someone else’s life, you’ll start to discover what really matters to you and what kind of friends you want and value. One of the biggest gifts this trip gave me were the friendships I made along the way. I finally felt CONNECTED. I met the most wonderful people on this journey! I bonded with wonderful Brits, Germans, Swiss, Dutch, Canadians, Spaniards, Texans, Utah, New Yorkers, and even made some delightful Thai friends. My favorites were these amazingly kind-hearted and like-minded Canadian girls who are now my life-long friends. Everyone was so open (it was hard not to be when you’re backpacking), so we were able to click and make a connection instantaneously. The bond became so strong as we explored each city and island with each other. Going on these adventures brought us closer together and magical memories were made. Laughter, adventure, exploration, dinners, parties, dancing, swimming, playing, shopping, getting massages, living! “Unbelievable sights, indescribable feelings…” To get beyond the palace walls of LA was invigorating! (Cue music: “A Whole New World” from Disney’s “Aladdin”). Each person was so special and had such an interesting story to tell. I enjoyed getting to know each one. I discovered what kind of people were “my kind of people” and who I wanted to spend my time with. They all have a special place in my heart.
3. Fall in love. WITH YOURSELF. Easier said than done, I know. But start to ask yourself what you DO like about yourself. Sure, it can be your abs or your hair. More importantly, what are the qualities about you that you like? Are you creative? A good listener? Funny? Charming? I started seeing my natural beauty and it was pretty humbling. I had people tell me to stop worrying about whether I had makeup on or if my clothes matched or not. “STOP BEING SO LA!” a Texan told me. “You’re a nice girl. So sweet with a big heart. I like that about you,” a Dutch said. “You’re beautiful because of what shines out from your heart. You are so caring and kind and warm-hearted and generous. That’s what we love about you. That’s what makes you beautiful to me,” confessed a Canadian. I was moved to tears. The concept of inner beauty finally clicked in my head and I was finally able to embrace my own beauty and worth. I didn’t have to try so hard anymore. I could finally breathe. Oddly enough, it was effortless to be that way. Because it was just being who I already was And I like the girl that I am. She’s pretty cool. Even if she is a bit of a princess sometimes 🙂
You’ll start to meet like-minded people who love you for all that you are and who lift you higher. When they come into your life, welcome them with open arms. The place where you belong is wherever you are in your heart. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the shittiest hotel or living in the grandest palace. All that matters is who you are with. Find yourself and you’ll find your family. Find your family and you will find where you belong.
“Ohana means family. And family means no one gets left behind. Or forgotten.” -Lilo and Stitch