I see memories of myself replaying in my head. I don’t recognize the girl that I see. Who I was. She’s a stranger, weaker than who I am today, sadder. I resent myself and society for the need to conform to standards. I can see in her eyes that she’s scared for adversity is all she knows.
It took me a long time, a lot of pain, and a lot of convincing myself that no opinion mattered more than my own to finally realize that being who I really am is more important than pleasing people who’s love for me is only temporary.
I realized that I had a choice to either be who I thought people would like or myself. I internally struggled because I too often cared more about what other’s thought. It’s only now that I look back and cringe at the girl who tried too hard to please everyone. I feel bad for the girl inside fighting to escape the prison of her own body, the girl too scared to be herself and I quietly thank myself for no longer being her.
It shames me to know that I once cared more about other’s opinions than my own. I didn’t love myself enough to stop suppressing my thoughts and views. I never expressed my own likes and interests. I was afraid of people not being able to relate and it still baffles me that I kept up with it for so long. I chose to be fake because the world seemed scary.
I never knew that being myself and loving who I was would make living easier, better. The world had more color. It felt like I was alive for the first time and it was breathtaking. It was liberating owning who I was and who I had grown to be and really nurturing and caring for myself.
I look back now and look at how easily I was swept away by the need to look a certain way and think a certain way and it saddens me that I thought of the world and the people in it so poorly. I know now that people will either love you for you or will leave and won’t look back and that’s okay! That’s a part of life and, frankly, I was blind to the fact.
I forced myself to wake up every day and make the conscious decision to be authentic even though it was frightening. It felt as though I was introducing myself all over again to the people I had already known for years, months. I’m glad that I did. I know now that vulnerability is beautiful.
The current memories I’m making are more meaningful and more enjoyable to look back on. Authenticity comes from a deep, deep place where fears are real and there are no places to hide. I see things clearly and I live a genuinely happy life now that I live it for myself, selfishly so.
It was hard owning who I was and speaking up for what I believed in, but I have never felt more aligned with who I am and where I’m going. To be authentic is to love yourself unconditionally and I’ve never been happier.