There has always been something distinctly dreamlike about my life. Everything wasn’t necessarily tangible, I was always pining after some kind of perfection that was just out of my reach (as most things are when you’re 5’1″). I couldn’t quite get “it” right, whatever it was. I was always falling short of my own expectations – expectations I had for myself because I needed people to think that I had it all figured out. I was always the “wise” one, the one who was “too smart” for “that”, whatever [that] is. I was always in a gridlock with myself, trying to fight being who I really was and who everyone else expected me to be (or who I thought they did). I reached as far and as wide as I could to grasp onto the person that I thought I was supposed to be, to the things that I was supposed to believe, still everything was hazy – like a dream that never really had a point. I had worked my entire life to be “good” and a “leader” and the one who knew without a shadow of a doubt who she was or what she believed.. In the mix of trying to please others, I realized I was exhausted and it was getting harder and harder to pretend to be someone that not only I was not, but did not want to be.
At the beginning of 2014 I started to make decisions for myself; I tasted pieces of carnality, driven by instinct, ridden with wide-eyed stares from onlookers who “just didn’t understand.” As the year progressed, and I fought my way through the haze, the stares turned to whispers and the whispers turned to backhanded remarks belittling my choices and creating no value in the eyes of those who didn’t understand. But that was the thing – and still is – I am building from ground zero. And not everyone wants to, or needs to, do that so they don’t understand and may never.
When you have made decisions for other people (or religion) your entire life, then decide to make them solely for yourself, people will not always “get it.” Just like I never got “it.” And that is okay. But I needed to start over and find out who I wanted to be and I am still left standing on my own two feet, better than from where I began.
The question I kept asking myself was, “What all do I leave in the rear view?” I didn’t want to be someone I didn’t recognize, but I knew I wasn’t being true to myself by pretending to be the girl on the pedestal.
As 2015 has approached I have put much thought into how my life has become clear “old me” and “new me” (if there is such a thing) – it isn’t the new year that has taught me lessons on who I am, but the past one and all of the years previous to the last. It has been the people who have loved me without condition and for my sometimes brutal honesty of who I am. It has been the new (and old), unique friendships and the time that has been lent to me that have helped make me a whole person. So to time, life and my loved ones – thank you. Here is a list of 10 things that you have taught me in 2014 that I will take into the New Year and forever:
1. People will not always agree with or understand your decisions, but as the cliche goes they do not live your life – and they can’t. The older I get the biggest favor that I have done for myself is learning to make a life for myself that other people can either fit into or fade into the background of. If they’re supposed to stay then they will.
2. People (even your friends) will talk and that is just part of life. Other peoples words do note create or disseminate your value, no matter how vicious. They will not stop the world from spinning and as you focus on reaching for the things that you love and for your goals, all of the words (especially the ones that hurt you) become nothing but background noise.
3. You can be, date, love, sleep with, eat with, scheme with, or create dreams with whoever you want. Period. The end. You owe no one an apology or explanation for it.
4. Happy girls REALLY ARE the prettiest girls. Do things that bring you joy. It helps keep you young.
5. When you need to vent take 3 breaths and call your mom. She may be crazy sometimes, but she is always on your team and won’t tell everyone the words you spew out of frustration.
6. You cannot fix people and it is not your responsibility. If someone wears you out, breaks you down and takes advantage of your friendship – you do not owe it to them to “be there for them through whatever” because sometimes there comes a point where “whatever” hurts more than the person going through it.
7. It is not worth it to be bitter – especially over things that truly do not concern you. You’re only hurting yourself. Drop the hatred. Love is easier.
8. Mind your business. Mind your business. Mind your business.
9. Love and relationships are amazing but don’t sacrifice all of your independence. If every plan you make for your life is synonymous with someone else’s (especially to the point that making plans throughout the week is solely dependent on them) then you need to create another part of your world that revolves around you, not them. Be dependent on yourself, not someone else. Add them into your world, don’t make them the crux of it.
10. People who really love you, love you for you. If they don’t they will show it and you are much better off without them. Don’t be afraid to be yourself!
“Today you are you and that’s truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Dr. Seuss