February: Self Love

HELLO all! The second month of 2018 is in full swing, and it's time to talk about my favorite subject: love. But not the love you're thinking of. Not the love associated with this month in particular. No, I'm talking about self-love.

Self-love is something I used to struggle very heavily with. I used to have virtually no confidence in anything I was doing, wore, or said. I second guessed myself so much.

"Will people like this?"
"Will people think I'm weird?"
"Will I freak people out?"

These are the questions that ran through my head every day throughout middle and high school. I was so worried about being a weirdo. I was worried that people would point and stare (they did) or even worse, stare and laugh (they did that too.) Now, it sounds like I'm talking about my clothes and makeup and stuff, and I was worried about that too. But my real issue during this portion of my life wasn't my appearance at all.

I have a reputation that isn't true to who I am. I have a reputation for being quiet, shy and reserved. For not standing up for what I believe in. For standing on the sidelines and being a wallflower.

Guess what?

 I'M NOT.

While I am an introvert (btw, this means that I recharge by being by myself, NOT that I want to be alone all the time and that I hate people), I am loud and eccentric and weird as hell. I get excited over the dumbest little things. I absolutely obsess over movies and TV shows and music and everything on the planet. I love to dress up, no matter the occasion. I like to sing. Correction: I LOVE to sing. I like to dance. I love musicals. I love theatre. I love to write and draw. My laugh is so freaking loud. My smile is huge. I scream. I cry. I feel an extremely wide range of emotions. I am absolutely obsessed with school and learning. I learn and study for fun.The idea that I can never, ever run out of things to study and learn about is AMAZING to me. I spend 99% of my life daydreaming (think Walter Mitty level daydreaming). I daydream about things that could never happen, like being the star of a musical or writing a book and becoming a best-selling author. I'm a dreamer. 100%. My head is in the clouds so often that I have to constantly remind myself to sit down and get work done and worry about the practical things for a little bit, like feeding myself and making sure I sleep. I daydream about a lot of things, but the number one thing I think about is what it'd be like to actually be able to be myself. How sad is that?

I learned to hide this part of me (aka my entire personality) pretty early in life when I discovered that people were freaked out by me. As a kid and young teenager, I was told to calm down and sit down and relax because "it's really not that exciting and you need to chill." I spent my whole childhood being made fun of. I was told every day of my life to calm down and relax. The things I loved stopped being important to me because everyone else told me they weren't. I'd go home and cry after another day of trying to be me and being shot down. So I stopped. I literally stopped being myself. And it stayed that way until, well, this year.

10 years. That's how long I had to hide. I hid behind normal clothes and no makeup. I hid behind little laughs that should have been big laughs and small snippets of words that should have been paragraphs.

I hid behind silence.

But the other day, I was talking to someone who, get this, has the same exact problem. She and I share such similar life experiences and personality traits that I nearly began to cry because there was finally someone that understood what was going on with me. Someone who has to live their life reserved, because of the fear that they'll be judged and made fun of. We spoke for quite a while, and after learning that I was, in fact, not alone in my struggle to be myself, I started thinking.

I'm in college. I live alone (sort of). I have the next two and a half years to experiment and learn what really works for me. So I've decided that for the next two and a half years, I'm not going to hide anymore. I am not in middle school anymore. I don't have kids looking and pointing and laughing at me. I have a campus full of 40,000 students who could not give less of a crap what I do. I'm 20 years old, I know what I want and who I want to be. What better time to actually learn how to be me?

I want to be myself.
I literally do not want to be anything else.
That is my wish for the rest of my college career. That I would be able to live my life with reckless abandon and love things and people without fear of judgment.
That's all I want.

When I'm a teacher, I want my kids to understand this, first and foremost. There is no one that can tell you who to be. The only person who gets to dictate who you are is you.

So love yourself. Love your quirks. Love each and every part of your personality, even the flaws. Understand those flaws and work with them instead of trying to get rid of them. Work on doing things because you want to. Work on wearing what you want and saying what you want. Stand up for what you believe and what you deserve, even if your voice shakes and you cry through the whole thing. Feel your emotions. Don't apologize for them. Understand that there is not another you on the planet and there never will be. As far as we know, we have one life. One. And let me tell you, it is way too short to be anything other than yourself. It took me 20 years to learn that, and I'll still be learning and working through it. This journey will never be finished, but today, it's starting.

Happy February, and don't forget to love yourself.

Love,

Hannah

Comments

  1. I love you, kiddo. Keep fearlessly discovering who you are meant to be. Not much else matters until you do...as you are no doubt becoming aware of. The thought of you getting to share that powerful message with your students is very exciting for me as well. You will make such a difference in their young lives.

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