If I could give you all one piece of advice, it would be to stay true to yourself. I have learnt the hard way what changing yourself for others can do to you.
The story starts, I was a shy girl who didn’t have a lot of important things to say, but would listen when you needed me too. All I wanted was to be loved, wanted, included. The only way to achieve this was to change myself. That was the only way that I could see. At the time, anyway. It’s a cliche, I know, but it was my reality.
So, I made friends with people on the outskirts of popularity and weaved my way into their circle. I did what I had to. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t brutal or anything. But you could say I used people. Their names. Their stories. Real or fake. It didn’t matter. Everyone likes a bit of gossip and I was just like everyone else. Right?
It didn’t matter what anyone else though of me, only what my ‘friends’ thought. I was living the dream. On cloud nine. I changed my hair, wore make-up and said all the right things. Things were great.
And then I woke up.
And realised that none of that had actually happened. I stumbled my way to get in that group. And I didn’t use anybody. Who does that? I was too scared to open my mouth, let alone say anything negative… or positive for that matter. I was scared of what they would think. Of me. I was just there. They just put up with me.
I also realised, that nothing much had change. I was still a shy, little girl, but lost in a bigger crowd. And I stuck out. I just wouldn’t fit in. Nothing could change that. Not even make-up. I just didn’t have it. But I convinced myself that I was exactly like all the rest of them and I belonged, because I wanted to belong so damn badly.
But I didn’t. Not one little bit.
All of that ‘greatness’ and ‘fitting in,’ was all just a giant layer of delusion, wrapped in wishful thinking.
Suddenly, I could see through all of them. I could see through all their crap. And I couldn’t do it anymore.
Things had been going on like this for some time, before I woke up. I had so little self-esteem and self-respect left, that at first I couldn’t find a way out of it. I truly was lost in the crowd. It wasn’t worth it anymore. I wasn’t worth it anymore.
But slowly, very slowly, I crawled, and then walked and then ran from the clutches of the social hierarchy I had put myself in. There was no-one to blame, but me.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing from then on. It still isn’t. I was totally lost and I had forgotten who I was. Finding myself, after drowning her for so long, was difficult. I still question whether or not I’m being myself. I don’t know, who myself is.
But I guess, that’s kind of exciting, because I get to discover her again, piece by piece. And welcome her back. And apologize profusely. I get to rebuild that self worth I lost.
It’s a long and hard journey. I am happier. Myself is happier. And I’m more of a person now, rather than a cloned result of societal expectations. I like me. Love is yet to come, but we all know it takes time.
So, when asked what one piece of advice I would give to others, it would be this…
Be yourself. Stay who you are and stand strong in your beliefs, morals, hopes and dreams. There is no-one else who can be a better you. Some people won’t believe it.
So prove it to them.
Thank you for reading!
Lot of love,