22 People on When They Feel Most Themselves


22 People on When They Feel Most Themselves
Photo by Mora Mitchell on Unsplash

There’s a quote by Joan Didion (classic, huh?) that’s always in my head. They use it as a pull quote in her documentary, The Center Will Not Hold, but the context is about keeping a journal.

“Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point.”

In my opinion, feeling like myself is the best feeling in the world. I’m not talking about feeling self-confident, though that certainly doesn’t hurt the situation. It’s not about feeling particularly happy either. Just…reassured. Comfortable. Secure. You know what I’m talking about, I hope.

I felt like myself almost all of the time when I was little. When I spent my days reading and writing letters to fairies and dreaming about what my life would look like at…twenty or whatever (ha). Maybe it’s easier to feel like yourself when you’re young because your world is a little smaller. No work, no major responsibilities, a tighter social circle, constant self-discovery. Regardless, as I got older I began to feel a little less like myself. Not all the time, but sometimes.

Every so often, it can be hard to remember what it feels like to be you. When you do remember, you know the feeling so completely you can’t believe you’ve ever forgotten it. But it’s not impossible to lose sight.

Every so often, it can be hard to remember what it feels like to be you. When you do remember, you know the feeling so completely you can’t believe you’ve ever forgotten it. But it’s not impossible to lose sight.

In asking people when they feel the most like themselves, I thought maybe I’d figure out a good plan for keeping the feeling every day. Steps to take, plans to make. Some of it’s simple—we should probably all go outside more, spend time with people we love, make time to play. But selfhood is also such an individual experience, which is ultimately the point.

Here are twenty-two people on when they feel the most like themselves. Next time I feel the feeling—the light, airy feeling—I’ll try to write down exactly what I’m doing, per Didion’s instructions. But I’ll also just try to feel it, and know that the next time I feel far away from me I’ll find my way back eventually.

  1. “When I’m with my gals.” -Kate Drakulic
  2. “Solo trips! Whether a year of travel, a day trip, or anything in between! Nothing makes me feel more in tune with my needs, desires, and curiosity! Structuring the trip around nature in some capacity is very important for me. Truly nothing better than being alone in nature. The feeling of awe, self-sufficiency, and contentment cannot be beat.” -Sarah Rothstein
  1. “When I’m singing 🎶. In the car, shower, karaoke, classical choir, rock/pop choir, with children in ‘music together’ classes. Anywhere, anytime.” -Leah Drury
  1. “Playing in the garden and creating beautiful things.” -Bari Applebaum
  1. “In nature, especially in the presence of water—lakes, creeks, streams, oceans.” -Jill Numrich
  1. “When I’m far away from any city and alone in nature. Preferably high up on a cliff or mountain…I’m not sure why. It’s inexplicably where I feel most at home. It gives me the space to let my mind become quiet and still and listen to the whispers of my own soul—all while feeling the support and love Mother Earth has for me. It always feels like a good reminder of who I truly am. I’m also not distracted by the needs and emotions of others that as a Type 2/empath I’m easily consumed by and concerned with and let influence me.” -Ashlyn Cahill
  2. “When I dance in my kitchen to Taylor Swift.” -Ally Dietermann
  1. “Cuddled up. Snacks. Shows. Giggling.” -Ava Vilensky
  1. “When I am pouring wine, talking about food, taking care of people and animals.” -Sara Bacigalupo
  2. “When I’m singing.” -Amy Mueller
  1. “When I have a day off and no agenda. A simple, slow day where I can take my time drinking coffee, get a walk in, and have time to read a few pages of a good book is usually a sign it’ll be a good day. Places I feel like myself are on a vacation, perusing a bookstore, walking around one of the lakes in Minneapolis, sidled up to a bar having a good conversation over a delicious cocktail with a good friend or my husband, lying in bed while fully engrossed in a book that I can’t put down. Also: taking a long bath. I’m not sure if this is a list of my favorite activities or what, but I guess I feel like myself when I’m doing the things I love to do.” -Maritza Ramirez
  2. “One McGolden after mowing the lawn.” -Joey Wattenhoffer
  1. “Shopping for books and getting wine after, hosting friends for a party, hanging out at the lake reading in my swimsuit drinking a beer, taking a bubble bath.” -Kara Nesvig
  1. “Spending time with my close friends.” -Sydney Roberts
  1. “When I’m with my siblings.” -Abby Honold
  1. “Right away in the morning! Fresh from sleep before the need to do things sets in.” -Lauren Foley
  1. “The first thing that came to mind is when I’m playing tennis. I think it’s because it’s one of the only activities in my life where I truly get out of my head and into my body without distractions. It’s playtime. Even though I never have days to actually do this anymore, I would totally be content to play tennis from sunup to sundown like I used to do when I was a kid—that’s my very cliché retirement dream.” -Annie D’Souza
  1. “When I’m resting but not sleeping with those I don’t have to entertain but enjoy.” -Cassidy Jayne
  2. “When I’m wearing a pair of cute jammies, lying in bed with a good book or with Housewives on in the background.” -Emma Zvanovec
  1. “Being in nature.” -Igor Vilensky
  2. “At a party, meeting a friend of a friend for the first time. Just chilling at a really precious amount of vulnerability. (We get to share things about our life with no need to reveal too much.) I know that asking them questions will put them at ease. I am thrilled just to meet them! I feel confident in my first impression. (It’s harder to maintain it.)” -Emily Schoenbauer
  3. “When I’m sharing a meal with people I love.” -Koryne Martinez

BY Sophie Vilensky - May 21, 2021


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