Sometimes I wonder how many of us are truly free to be ourselves. How many of us fear showing our true colours? How many fear themselves?

We live in a society of superficiality. Over Christmas, when I was back in Auckland with my family, I watched the television with my father, and I was amazed at the advertisements - every single one of them sold the viewer a product guaranteed to improve their life in some way, or to make them feel better about something that was, in the advertisers eyes, a substandard way of living. It was scary to remember that we are bombarded with the message that we are not good enough alone. Ever since post-WWII economic boom and the introduction of the two-Ford family to American culture, we have rapidly hurtled down a slippery slope of consumerism and with that, a complete shift in the way we value and define identity.

The last month has been a time in my life where I have explored what it means for me to be alone. At first, I was scared. What if I failed? What if I couldn't succeed (whatever that means) alone? What if - God forbid - who I am wasn't good enough? But I think that I have learnt at least one thing in this time. In being alone, I am made available to love and connect with the world around me. In my solitude, I am able to hear the voice of my heart. I am ok.

There is hope. There is redemption. Imagine a world where we didn't need to feel self-conscious. Imagine a world where instead of running the race to the top, we ambled hand in hand and looked around once in a while. Imagine noticing the carved trellises on the sidewalk you never saw before. A lingering gaze, a smile to a stranger. Imagine what it feels like to completely accept who you are, who I am, who we all are, and to be ok with that. Imagine the liberation and freedom that accompanied such acceptance. I love these thoughts...I love these realisations that, yes I am scared and yes I am alone. But I am alone in the shadow of a vast and beautiful world, and that is ok.

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