June 5, 2018
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
My entire life I’ve struggled to fit in. From such a young age, I felt the pressure to make sure I did not step out of the lines that had been placed before me. There were rules to being a girl, and although I knew I was not made to fit into the box, I tried hard to.
When I was little, I was not your typical girl. I dressed up and played with dolls, but I had a desire to be different than what was “acceptable” for young girls. I enjoyed rough housing, climbing trees, and playing video games. As a kid, it was okay. Yes, there were some kids and even some parents that called me “weird” and made fun of me; but nothing that made me feel like I was not okay to be myself.
Growing into my teen years, the pressure from those around me became overwhelming. I did not like the popular music, I was not up to trend with what I wore, and I enjoyed studying. Girls around me made it known that I was different. They pointed me out, asked me questions just to make me feel bad, and made the extra effort to make me feel weird and excluded. I began to doubt everything I was and started turning my back on myself. I changed who I was. I allowed myself to mold to those around me, and got very good at becoming a chameleon. Those around me started to like me, but I began to feel like I didn’t know myself anymore.
After years of putting on a fake persona, I finally became tired of not being true to who I was. It was hurting me to pretend to be something I wasn’t and turning my back on things I really enjoyed. I realized that even when I was doing everything “right” there were people still looking to bring me down, there were people still judging me, and there were more boxes created to try and put me in.
One day, I felt myself breaking. I realized just how unhappy I was. Why was I still being criticized, when all I did was mold to whoever I was was? I decided something needed to change. After years of squashing myself down to please those around me, I realized I had no idea who I was anymore. I made it my mission to figure out who she was.
The biggest thing I allowed myself was the power of “no”. I no longer let those around me pressure me into things I did not want. In the beginning, it was so difficult. I didn’t want to hurt peoples feelings, I didn’t want to have anyone disappointed with me, and I didn’t want to be disliked; but I kept holding onto my worth. I deserved to find myself, be myself, and love myself.
Since I’ve made this choice, it is still a struggle. There are days I know it would be easier to just go along with status quo, but thats just not me. When I started standing up for myself, something changed inside. I felt a little loved. I felt stronger. I started to feel happier. It really is true that the most important love comes from within, cause at the end of the day you are all that you’ve got.
I’m still on the journey of finding out who I truly am. I still question if I enjoy something cause its expected or if I genuinely like it. I’ve accepted that I will never be the cookie cut woman, and thats alright. It is alright to be different. It is alright to not follow the standards that the world says we need to adhere to. But it is not alright to lie to yourself or make yourself feel unworthy.
The world is beautiful because many unique and different people fill it. No matter what you do, there will always be someone trying to make you change. Let those people help you grow in who you are and what you want to be. Let them make you stronger.
There is no problem being different. There is, however, a problem with not being true to yourself. You deserve to love yourself and embrace the woman you are for everything she is.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde