Here at Duke people like to live the extremes. Everyone wants to be the smartest, prettiest, funniest, coolest, the most talented, and the most interesting. And we all try to seem like we’re independent. We can do everything ourselves and we don’t need anyone else. Even the rampant hookup culture represents the idea that we don’t even need a relationship.
Maybe I’m the only one, but I’m not perfectly independent. There are times when I just need a shoulder to cry on, when I need to be told that I’m doing a good job, when I need a helping hand. There are times when I simply can’t do it by myself. And, shockingly enough, there are even times when I wish I was in a relationship.
Like when I’m watching a cute romantic movie and want to snuggle up against someone. Or when my back hurts and I want a massage. Or when I get an “A” on a test and want to brag to someone. Or when I want to stare in someone’s eyes and revel in the fact that I’m loved just the way I am.
Why do we act like we can do everything all by ourselves? Why do we act like we don’t need love, we don’t need encouragement, we don’t need support?
Because we do.
It’s funny how independence is coveted and codependence is criticized. What about the middle ground? I’m able to function on my own. I’m independent. But I want to love someone else and be loved. I want to get a hug when I’m having a horrible day and I want to give someone a cupcake when he’s stressed out.
Living in the middle ground isn’t where you become average. It’s not where you become “kind of funny”, or “decently smart”. No, living in the middle ground is where you embrace the truth. Because none of us live up to these extremes and it’s exhausting to try.
I’m not wallowing in despair that I’m single. But I’m not jumping for joy, either. I’m in the middle.
And I’m in the middle about a lot of things. I’m in the middle with how hard I work. I’m not going to pretend I work harder than everyone else, because there are definitely students here that work harder than I do. But I also don’t sit around and constantly waste my time. I’m in the middle.
I’m in the middle with my health. I exercise at least once a day but I often don’t eat super healthy food or I eat too much. I’m in the middle.
I’m in the middle with my friendship skills. I’m not always there for all of my friends and I’m horrible about long distance friendships. But I don’t live my life as if the friends I have don’t exist. I’m in the middle.
Embrace the middle and live the truth. You’re not average; you’re the real you. And the people that matter will love the real you.