No one else can write the story of your life, except you.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl. And this little girl believed that she could do anything. That she could be anything. Perhaps it was an astronaut, or a veterinarian, or a singer. To this little girl, the world was her playground.
Now once upon a time, this little girl grew into a young woman and doubts and insecurities began to cloud her mind. Her self-image and worth shattered and she fell into a stark depression that she feared she would never crawl out of.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, this young woman left the U.S. and traveled to her hearts content. She learned how to laugh, love, and find joy all over again. And when she returned, she held something new; something she didn’t have before.
This young woman returned home with her true self.
Someone who is unapologetically weird. Someone who is not afraid to break outside her comfort zone. Someone who finds utter joy dancing in the street and falling in love over and over again with every person she meets.
She became someone who understands her issues and makes conscious decisions to move past them.
She became a heck of a lot more selfish; and honestly loves every minute of it.
She became someone who is finally growing into herself; and is trying her absolute hardest to embrace every bit of life’s joy.
This young woman is me. And I am her.
I’ve been told that I tend to take myself way too seriously. But hey, who else is going to take me seriously if I don’t? Life for me is a constant battle of deciding whether I feel more myself with or without the various antidepressants I take. In the grand scheme of things, I realize my problems do not hold much weight. There are plenty of wonderful individuals out there who have been dealt a far worse hand than I.
But you see, I already know I am blessed. For all that I have dealt with, there is always someone who has it worse. But the thing is, my problems matter too. Everything that we feel in this life makes us all the more human. Never apologize for what you feel. Accept it, learn to understand it, and find ways to work through it and better yourself.
When I first started going to therapy, I told my therapist that I felt like I shouldn’t feel what I was feeling; that my problems didn’t really matter. She stopped me there and asked me ‘why’. She told me to get rid of the word ‘should’ because it is an evil term that implicates how society wants you to dictate your life. There is no rhyme or reason to the word ‘should’.
She told me to take care of myself and that it was okay to put myself first and be selfish every now and again. What I was and am going through is not inadequate, or silly, or unimportant. Yes, it is different than what those less fortunate are going through. But that’s just it. It’s different, but it still matters in my life. I know that now. And it’s with this knowledge that I work on being kind and gentle with myself every day. And I strongly believe that everyone else should do the same.
We really are our own harshest critic.
When I left for England, it wasn’t just Georgia I was leaving behind. It was my past self.
I left behind the girl who was too afraid to speak out about her struggles with anorexia and depression. I left behind the girl who fell into relationships that held too much toxicity. The one who let the demands of others dictate her life without thinking about what it was she actually desired-what she felt she needed to continue on in this world.
I left behind the girl who was the mold of only what her parents wanted.
It was then that I finally started to feel at home in my own body. I finally understood that I’m not fully ready to love someone else because I haven’t had enough time to really love myself; but I’m getting there.
Yet, growth will always walk hand-in-hand with resistance. Change is not universally pleasant. Not everyone is going to like the person I become, but I’ve come to realize that it’s okay. At the end of the day, the only person that is with you until the end is yourself. When we die, we die alone. But I don’t see that as a morbid thought. Instead, I see it as more of an incentive to continuously work on loving the life I have created.
These days, I’m all about the idea of “fresh starts”. As corny as it sounds, there’s something so refreshing abut a new school, a new job, or even just a new haircut. So with yet another new start, as I begin my time at here UNC Chapel Hill, I’ve decided to go by Elle. It’s a play on words with my initials and a semblance of my middle name. Call me Lindsey if that is how you know me; but as of now, I have never felt more myself.
Tattoos, chopped hair, new-named rebellion and all.
No this is not a phase. I don’t believe in such a term. The word ‘phase’ comes with the implication that you will grow out of whomever you are now. But to me, I see it more as growing into the person you were always meant to be. Your life is a novel filled with many different chapters. Just because you read on into a different chapter, doesn’t make the prior pages any less a part of your story.
No, I am definitely not the same. And honestly, I thank the heavens for that every day. Because I am finally living for me. Finally seeking my own happiness. And with that, my good days finally begin to outnumber the dark.
“Find the love you seek, by first finding the love within yourself. Learn to rest in that place within you. That is your true home.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar