“In a society that congratulates the uniformity of your character and morals, it is a brave and fearless act to be radically unique.”– Jennifer Lahr
I sat in the bathroom sink, staring into the mirror at a woman whose face I have never known. Her skin, while beautiful, was bright red, covered in acne and puffy. Her blue eyes were muted by the endless flow of tears flowing down her face. Her’s was a face I had known for what seemed like eternity, yet as mysterious as the secrets of the universe.
“I hate you. You’re worthless and no one will ever love you.” As I listen to the words uttered by this mysterious mouth I can see in front of me, I felt my body tighten up and shake. I could feel my spirit shrivel up inside of me.
I had thought it all my life, but never once uttered it out loud. But it was true.
While most may see me as young and inexperienced, at the ripe age of early 30’s, I often feel as though I have already lived a hundred lifetimes.
I have left home hoping to follow my dreams, only to have the door close and no where to go. I traveled to states unknown, made new friends, and started life over again a myriad of times. I have created life and chose to end love that was not right for me. I have followed the path that others have laid out only to find that it leads to someone else’s dream. I have dealt with self hatred, depression, PTSD, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, complete apathy, and hopelessness. I nearly lost everything I had at the worst point in my life. Yet, somehow managed to put it all back together again.
If there is one thing that I have learned, it is to stay true to who I am and want to be.
I found that I was living the life that other’s wanted for me, and had no say about what I wanted. When I decided to make a major change, I realized that there were many voices in my head telling everything I was doing wrong.
Things such as
- Why start, no one has ever succeeded.
- You need to follow the easier path.
- Why can’t you just be like everyone else around you?
- You really don’t have a lot of friends, probably because no one likes you.
- You’re not pretty enough to do that.
- You’re not smart enough.
- You don’t have the education to follow your dreams.
- You’re not worthy of living your dreams.
After hearing these phrases, and many others repeat in my head endlessly, I began to think, “If I spoke to someone whom I love dearly, would they know that I love them by my words?”
While I am one who believes actions speaks volumes louder than words ever will, I still believe that words have much more power than many realize.
I thus began a quiet, almost silent transformation within my mind. I began to work towards speaking to myself as though I was someone I loved.
We all have an inner dialogue that determines our outlook of life. The harsh reality is that when I listen to people talk about themselves, it is in a negative way. They speak about themselves and they think only about their failures and all the reasons that they are unable to do something or live a certain way. Other times, it is because what is expected.
My question that I often ask them, whether silently or verbally, is what they would do in life if they saw themselves as incredible as they actually are.
While working with many people over the years, I have seen incredible strength and perseverance. However, many of these traits are often overlooked The power that they hold is lost and the wonderful human in front of me is unable to see how incredible they truly are.
I have found that the hardest questions to answer are usually the ones that give the greatest revelations.
As I began to look back through all the times why I hated myself, I found nothing. I began to rewrite the narrative of my life. Instead of seeing myself as a victim of everything I had been through, I realized that I was the one who had the strength to leave. I realized that I was the brave one for leaving the comfortable and constantly pushing into the unknown, no matter how lonely.
As a child I wanted to explore the world and travel to far away places. Make new discoveries and see all the incredible wonders this earth has. As an adult, while I still want to travel everywhere, I want to know thyself. I want to know myself so intimately that I never have to question if I am being true to who I am. While everyone may be working hard to blend into society to fit in and be accepted, I absolutely love that I do not fit the mold. For the first time in my life, I live without depression. I am happy most days and know how to work through life’s difficulties without losing hope.
While it may not seem like much, a day of joy and confusion is better than a week long panic attack.
I began to see myself as the incredible person I am. The funniest part is, there is nothing abnormal about my story. Whatsoever.
I now ask you, dear reader, who could you be if you saw the story of your life differently? If you dared to hear to the inner dialogue or voice that you have and listen to the words that you hear, are they loving.
Would you tell someone you love the things that you tell yourself?
Would you dare to be radically different and completely fall in love with yourself, regardless of your past?
Who could you be if you were radically, uniquely, and fearlessly you?
——I think it’s worth a try, because everyone else is already taken.