I know this person. This girl. She’s brilliant, she has straight A’s, she speaks five languages, she is a varsity athlete, she has a million friends, she’s beautiful.
She’s in my head. She’s a better version of me.
I’ve been very angry with myself lately. With the things I did, and didn’t do or say. For as long as I can remember I’ve been so worried about what people around me thought of me, if they approved my actions, if I seemed “cool and likable” to them. I started realizing this all the way back in elementary school. It started with my family, they told me I was good at math and that I was smart, so I convinced myself that I liked math and that I was different from all those other kids in my class that didn’t get as high grades as me or didn’t get the concept of things as quickly. Although I soon realized that I never really liked math, I thought it was all so stupid and complicated and I hated dealing with numbers. I thought about why I didn’t tell this to my family sooner. It was because I liked that they approved what I was doing and how good I was at it, it felt good.
A few years after, I saw a movie with a strong female lead that had very short, boy-like hair. I was so amazed by how brave she was and I admired to be her. So the next day I went and cut my beautiful long hair, I looked like a boy, but it was one of the most liberating things I ever did. Seconds later I cut it, I looked my self in the mirror and felt more powerful than any 12 year old could ever feel. The next day on my way to school, I kept telling myself that it was okay if everyone laughed at me, I liked my new hair and that was that. But of course, I cared what people thought. I went to school and people laughed at me, my own friends laughed at me. I got kicked out of the girls bathroom by the school’s cleaning lady who thought I was a boy. That night my crush at the time, told me that he didn’t find me pretty anymore and that he had lost interest. I know it doesn’t sound all that traumatic, but as a 12 year-old, I felt like it was the end of the world. I regretted cutting my hair, I bought all these shampoos that made your hair grow faster, I wanted to be pretty again. Gosh, what a dramatic brat I was… I want to go back in time and slap myself for losing sleep over this.
Anyway, I am just now realizing that I have spent too much time worrying about what people thought of me and given so little time to do what makes me happy. Don’t get me wrong, I have had an amazing life full of amazing people, it’s just that I am now picking a new path for myself. After all, I am graduating. It’s the end of an era! Starting college is a clean slate, I can leave the old me behind, learn from the past, and start living my best life. I know now that it’s never too late to do that. It’s crazy how many chances I was given to do something with my life and I managed to fuck it up every time. I’m done disappointing myself, I’m done underachieving.
I truly believe that things are going to get better for me from here on out. I am not worried about other people anymore, I’m putting myself first, I’m going to take my chances, I WILL have a story to tell when I’m eighty and helping my grandchildren get diabetes by eating too much candy. I hope you will too.
PS. Wow how inspirational was that?? Are you proud?? I know I am.