“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”-Dr. O
“Your biggest challenge will be your biggest strength.”
These words gave me hope Freshmen Year when I saw no future for myself, and after hearing them again I have been reminded to rediscover my shining light. This semester has done a lot of damage to my feelings of self-worth. I am finally a licensed driver, but I still hold my breath every time I get behind the wheel. I have proven to be my biggest critic and an unhealthy perfectionist and have fallen into the pitfalls of depression and self-deprecation as a result. For the first time in forever, I am genuinely hating myself again. I have convinced myself that I cannot be asking for help as I continue to drown.
This weekend last year, I accepted who I am and owned my story. Here I am now, and I am desperately reaching to rediscover the spark I thought could never die within me. But I know this, all things must pass. As my advisor said, this is not a failure, this is a work in progress. I am still healing. I am still healing. And that’s okay. My progress is not erased and I am still shining even when I am struggling.
To all who have provided hugs, words of wisdom, and kindness when I feel like I don’t deserve it, thank you for being my light.
I am blooming from the wound where I once bled.
One year. One whole year without hair pieces, wigs, cover up powder, or adhesive eyebrows. One whole year of spending more time on campus rather than rushing home for appointments. One whole year without the fear that the wind or a hand would unintentionally show all I had lost. Most importantly though, it’s been an entire year of growth and self-acceptance. Learning to embrace my vulnerability rather than cover it up in makeup, synthetic hair, and excuses has been one beautifully messy journey.
As with any year, a lot has changed for me since I took my wig off. I was able to look at myself in the mirror again and accepted what I saw rather than despised it. I called myself “trash” less and “warrior” more. I finally let myself cry after so many years of repressing my emotions and could really start healing. I became more aware of the light in myself and finally felt that I had the potential to become the beacon of light I long to be. I learned that I have an incredible support system that stays alongside me during the ups and downs of this complicated self-love journey. I began embracing the parts of myself that once disgusted me. I made peace with my past and realized that I can forgive myself much like I can forgive anyone else.
Nevertheless, I am always growing and evolving. I will always be self-conscious about my appearance and hesitant to take up too much space in this world. There are parts of my story I am just facing now that should have been addressed years ago. I am struggling to care for myself like I aspire to care for others. I’m a chronic perfectionist and will never meet my own expectations. But that’s all ok because I’m still growing. I’m still learning. I’m still living my story and I’m not giving up.
But that’s all ok because I’m still growing. I’m still learning. I’m still living my story and I’m not giving up.
In letting go of my wig, I let go of my safety blanket. I’m learning to embrace vulnerability rather than shy away from it. I am becoming comfortable in my own skin instead of desiring to be in someone else’s. I’m realizing how beautiful life can be when you’ve conquered so many mountains. I was made to survive so that I could live the life I once thought I could never have. I seldom say this, but I’m proud of myself for making it this far. Thank you to anyone who has been a part of my journey–even just tolerating a cliche-filled blog post means a whole lot to me.
To further celebrate this personal milestone, I have revised my “recovery playlist” of sorts. I am pleased to share the songs that have validated my experiences:
I’ve found myself desperately seeking validity,
“Why did I stay?”
Then I remember:
Connecting at every concert,
Striving to be every beacon I see,
Reconciling my relationship with the mirror,
Sharing and healing with my story,
Freeing myself of the weight of my mask,
Learning that I’m not alone,
Defining myself as a warrior,
Accepting the love I’ve deserved,
Embracing hair that is my own,
Surrounding myself in light,
Continuing to find calms in my chaos.
(I hope to have some real writings to post soon, until then here is some self-promo)
Last night I attended an open mic night, and let my voice be heard (literally) in a welcoming environment with the comfort of a full band and some friends. It was invigorating, and for the first time this month I felt capable. This sudden appreciation for myself benefitted me this morning, as I made it through a driving lesson without nearing an anxiety attack. Life is less heavy when you see yourself as capable, here are videos from my performance below: