They say the more you spend time with someone the better you get to know them, and I agree with this statement. It makes logical sense: the more time together, the more opportunity for that person to reveal his or her passions, strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics.

I also thought that I would always know myself better than the people around me. This, too, makes logical sense. I spend the most time with myself.

However, I have come to realize I don’t know near as much as I had previously expected.

I knew myself in a context–in class, with friends, alongside family, or within other places and groups. Over the last two weeks, I have spent a lot of time alone. With this alone time came the elimination of those comfortable contexts. My context became myself. Just me. And I have learned a lot.

I learned my struggles. I learned my reactions.

I learned who I can depend on from far, far away. I learned who I miss the most.

I learned that I am not as strong as I thought. I learned that I have my own troubles, my own hidden self.

I learned more about who I am, and I learned that there is much more to learn.

I have spent my whole life being “me,” but what does that really mean? There have been rare occasions I am just Ali–not the friend or family member or student or worker or visitor.

When I sit in silence and spend time with myself, I learn a lot.

I like who I am, but I have discovered the parts that scare me, the parts I want to change, the parts I could often hide in the presence of others.

And this revelation has been beautiful yet frightening.

I can assume that we all think we know ourselves well. But who are you really? Who are you when you are taken out of those comfortable contexts? Have you learned who you are, or have you just made observations from within? Have you spent time alone–realizing you are much more, or much less, than you originally thought?