Self-image has always been a tough spot for me. I am constantly thinking about what I project towards people, what people think about me, how I must behave when I’m not alone. I always try to look the best, to be as perfect as possible, to be as people want me to be because I don’t want to be alone. This is the main issue I’m dealing with. I care too much about what people think about me and I should not.  I sometimes do not speak up enough because I just want to be accepted. I just lose myself.  And all of my concerns date back to my childhood and my youth…. When I was young, I was pretty fat and ugly and I did not really have any friends. I was a misfit. People were mocking me and I had no one to talk to. My mother was there for me but she could not really help because I was always in my head. At some point, I just gave up and decided to stay on my own but solitude is a real bitch. I was jealous of everyone and I began resenting myself more and more. I don’t actually remember being really happy during that time of my life, especially during my youth. There were so many negative voices in my head and I could not make them stop shouting “You’re not good enough”.

When I went to university, I was pretty anxious about being alone again and ruining everything. I was truly scared. But it went well. I came out of the closet, I met nice people, one of which is truly my best friend. I started coming out of my shell but I was still pretty shy. When I was in my second year of college, I met new people who were amazing. We had so much fun together and I felt pretty great about myself. But everything changed the year after. I left on Erasmus and I actually changed a little bit. Everyone changes. And when I came back, everything was different. I did not have the same relationship with those friends. I actually felt uncomfortable with them and I did not feel like I belonged with them. Whenever we went out, I just felt like an outsider because I was not connecting with any of them anymore (but my best friend of course). And it went on and on and on. I could not resolve myself to speak about or just leave because I was scared of being alone. I put up with it until a few months ago.

One month before coming to Brussel, I was actually on the verge of a mental breakdown. I was not comfortable with my presumed friends anymore and I really needed to leave because I felt like a burden. We had some issues in the past and I kept restraining myself. It was quite challenging. One particular event really hurt me a lot. I was actually in love with one of my friends. We cuddled a few times together and I actually felt pretty good when I was with him. I don’t know why. However, I didn’t know that I was just a mean for him not to feel alone. I actually wanted to confront him and tell him that I liked him but he would never talk about it. And the only time we did, he turned me back really harshly. And my build-up confidence really shattered. I did not feel good at all.  Our other common friends knew about it but nobody acknowledged it or said anything about it to him. My own emotions were set aside. It felt like I did not count at all, that I was nothing. And I just felt like shit. I felt like I did not have friends at all, I thought I was just boring, despicable and that nobody would ever like me because I was that way. I needed to leave this toxic environment.

When I arrived in Brussels, I just thought “Fuck it, I’m tired of holding me back, I tired of feeling like shit. Best decision ever.  I landed in a new environment and it felt like coming out of my shell again. I was free. Free of starting anew. Free of being myself and not worrying about anything.

 I feel like I’ve left my problems at home in Liège and that my mind is practically at peace. I’ve been living here for one month and a half and I had quite good experiences actually. Here, I’m learning to love myself more and accept who and how I am. I’m living in an environment full of opportunities. There’s room for improvement and new experiences. I can finally be myself here and that’s maybe why I’m feeling better. Though I dread coming back to my hometown but I guess I have to face my own demons. I always did, ever since I was a little boy. As I said, I’m sometimes get haunted by my past but the fact is that I’m still here and that I’m constantly evolving. I’m a vulnerable 22-years-old boy who’s hungry for happiness. There’s hope for everyone. Be patient and be determined. I like to think that for each situation, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You need have to be patient. It’s hard but patience is key.