The world is a scary freaking place. I know you don’t always admit it to yourself, but you should be damn proud that you got out of bed this morning and made the conscious decision to face the day. It’s a decision that many, including myself, struggle with daily.
I’m not a pill easily swallowed. I’ve struggled over half my life to feel like I was deserving of space on this vast planet because unconsciously, the people around me were degrading my very existence just by the looks they gave and the one-word answers they’d give. I was someone who wasn’t paid much attention, even though my inner self was screaming for it.
You see, what you don’t know about me is simple: I’m not the cool kid. I never was and never really wanted to be. All I really aspired for out of life was a good comic, all the wrestling I could ever want, and some blissful peace and quiet. I didn’t think I was asking that much of the world, but that was the kind-hearted, naive, sweet girl talking.
In reality, I was swinging for the fences. I wasn’t the norm, and while I didn’t want to be, my anxiety was quietly and slowly eating away at my confidence in myself, and soon, it won. I was becoming a carbon copy of the girls around me. I stopped talking about wrestling and Michael Jackson with my friends. I took out my earbuds when I walked down the hallway because it made me feel like I was one pulled-up hood away from a classic nerd. I stopped wearing my band tees. I stopped being who I was in pursuit of being accepted, but came to find out that wasn’t really what I was searching for.
You see, acceptance is a word rooted in self-hatred — at least, that’s what I concluded. I couldn’t be accepted unless I changed who I was, and that was a person I couldn’t look at in the mirror. The only true happiness I ever had in my life was when I didn’t entertain the idea that I wasn’t worthy of love from everyone.
I’m not saying it’s easy. It took me years to feel comfortable in the skin I created, but now I wear it with pride. I talk about wrestling and Michael Jackson without feeling red with embarrassment. Instead, the glimmer in my eye and the natural smile come out as I talk about the things in life I truly love. I wear my band tees with pride because they are an extension of myself. I listen to TED talks wherever I am, and sometimes I pull up that hood for added measure.
I’m no longer fearful of a glance, a glare, a word, or a feeling of disapproval from another person.
But I will tell you this: it’s okay to be afraid of the world. It’s okay to judge yourself hardest, so then you know no one could hurt you worse. It’s okay to keep parts of you hidden until the time feels right.
But promise me one thing in return: you will never, ever compromise part of your stitching to appease someone else. You are beautiful and unique and this world deserves to know the real you.