In the past two weeks I’ve had three people tell me that I seem to be balanced…I laughed. Then assured them that looks can be deceiving and/or that I must be a fantastic actor. To me, I am the furthest thing from balanced. In my Human Relations online course we discussed the difference between how we view ourselves and how others see us. We give off a particular image of how we want to be perceived, and this is not always how we feel internally about ourself. So by others sharing their perception of me, it makes me wish I could feel this way about myself.
I used to be very confident when I was younger. I was fairly popular and athletic, which at the time made it as for me to make friends. In sixth grade I was a novelty at Hampton Middle School. Soon I was Little Miss Popular, getting attention from the cool girls- or at least those that identified themselves as such. In addition, as the new girl, I was getting LOTS of attention from the guys. Now let me say that at HMS relationships rarely lasted longer than a few weeks, so by me saying that I have many boyfriends just means that we were ‘together’ for a very, very short period of time. And unlike nowadays, my ‘relationships’ were very innocent.
Looking back, I was still very confident in sixth grade; however seventh grade is a different story. It started off okay but soon the pettiness and jealousy from other girls really began to affect me. Before I knew it I was battling negative self-image and trust issues. The girls I thought were my friends were the ones that were gossiping behind my back, leading me to question who my friends really were. Being the naive teenager that I was, I soon began seeing myself as the girl others were telling me I was. Foolish, yes. But this is what happens when we’re young because we don’t know any better.
Now some of my friends know this, but most don’t. I’m really only sharing this because I want to release all of my demons; open up in order to let go and move on. So yes, it’s hard to admit this struggle of mine but I know that it’s exactly what I need to do. So with the cracks starting to form in my self-esteem in seventh grade, I began my struggle with an eating disorder. It’s something that haunted me for many years, without anyone knowing. I ask that for those who have not battled one themselves nor supported a loved one through theirs, don’t judge us. Someone with an eating disorder is constantly struggling more an emotionally and mentally than you’d know; an eating disorder is something that takes a lot of support, strength, and time to overcome. It’s really a roller coaster ride of internal struggles. Just went you think the ride is over, there a unexpected twist or hill around the corner.
Last night I had a little weak moment over a glass (or two) of wine, and then I saw this quote today (see left panel, blog title) and it reminded me that weak moments, struggles, and bad days are not to be viewed so negatively. They happen. Move on. The lesson to learn is that you will always overcome these difficulties. I, myself, am living proof, as our you. We all have the courage inside of us, whether we always see it or not. Sure others can lend support and encouraging words, but what matters most is how you see yourself.
Recalling the past is never easy, but it’s always great to reflect and see how far you’ve come. Just thinking about the girl who struggled internally for so long makes me proud of the woman writing this today. (Isn’t it funny how different I feel in comparison to last night’s post?) It also makes me think about how young girls today are suffering just like I did. I hate it, and wish I could help them all. When we’re younger we just want to be like everyone else. In fact, individuality is frowned upon, if not laughed at, in the halls of middle schools across the country. It isn’t until we’re older that we learn the beauty of being different and how important it is to just BE YOU! There’s no other way to be, and it’s the only way to find the happiness within yourself that we all aspire for.
For some unknown reason we are our own worst critics. I’m not going to sugar-coat it: We all have flaws. But these ‘flaws’ are not negatives. Rather than are part of the unique and beautiful person that you are. Tu sei bella. (You are beautiful.) We are all beautiful, whether we believe it or not. You know, when someone tells me that I’m beautiful, as flattered as I am, I’m always hesitant to believe them. But then I realize that they see something that I don’t see, something that my critical self doesn’t want to see. So as hard as it is to say, I’ll say it. I am beautiful, and so are YOU. ♥ K