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  • Gemma James

“Where Do I Go?” and Learning to be Okay Alone



I’ve always had problems with letting go. Whether it’s a person, a feeling, or a memory, I tend to hold on too tightly.


More than anything, I cling to the people I love. Growing up, I saw this as a positive trait, a sign of loyalty. What I failed to see, however, was that I was defining myself by the people around me.


About a year ago, I lost one of my closest friends. The two of us had slowly grown apart, which is natural, of course. But this blow felt devastating to me. The person I had seen as my other half was no longer there. I didn’t know who I was or what to do without her.


A few months later, I moved halfway across the country and started college. I didn’t know anyone around me. I had never felt more lost in my life.


During this time of change and uprooting, Lizzy Mcalpine’s “Where Do I Go?” became my comfort song. I had initially discovered the song during its release in 2020 as part of her album “Give Me a Minute”, but never before had it resonated with me so deeply.


The opening stanza of the song reminded me of the former certainty I used to enjoy when I felt like I knew who I was and where my place in the world was.


But it was the following two stanzas that hit close to home.


“But I don't know

How to figure out where to go

From here


I'm lost and confused

Where do I go without you?

Where do I go without you?”


The vulnerable acoustic sound paired with those heart wrenching lyrics were all too reminiscent of my own situation. My former friend had truly felt like my other half. I only knew myself in connection with her. I lived to please her, and in many ways our identities felt tied together. Yet suddenly, I was alone and left wondering where to go without her.


In my first few months at school, I had to learn how to be my own best friend. To be honest, it was incredibly lonely at first. But slowly, I learned how to be okay alone. From taking myself on coffee dates to chasing previously ignored passions, I slowly learned how to be my own person. I started wearing what I wanted to, joining new clubs, and taking new chances. I became the type of person I had always wanted to be.


And that attracted the type of friends I wanted to have.


Around halfway through the song, her vulnerable acoustics are replaced with a stronger, more confident sound. However, towards the end, the softer acoustic returns. In many ways, I felt like this ebb and flow represented my journey: some days were much harder than others and the path certainly was not linear.


I know that I still have a long road to self-love ahead of me. But I also know that I’ve learned to be okay alone, which is more than I can say about myself a year ago.


So if you find yourself asking “Where Do I Go?” without someone else acting as your other half, know that you are not the only one. Learning to be okay alone is one of the hardest, yet most important, things you will learn. Just know that you won’t always feel lost and confused. One day, you will know exactly where to go.


And in the meantime, finding a song that resonates with your feelings and comforts your anxieties might be the first step in your journey.


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