I feel compelled to explain where this urge to renew myself has come from. It comes from a long string of cyclical events that have left me with two choices; 1, get off the hamster wheel and figure out what the heck is going on or 2) continue spinning in circles until I puke..
For what seems like the bulk of a year, I have been living a high/low lifestyle (two week high followed by a two week low…) For most of this time, I have been making excuses as to why I’ve been feeling the way that I do. Most of these excuses place me as the martyr but the reality is, I’ve been doing this to myself for such a long time that it just seems natural. Two week high, two week low… Now I don’t want you to get the idea that I am depressed, I truly believe I am far from that but I will say that I am struggling with something. Some days its more apparent than others but I am struggling with the often debilitating issue of self-love (or lack thereof). It’s tough to pinpoint when this all began and even harder to pinpoint when it really became something that I wasn’t going to be able to shake without major effort.
Let me go way back… When I was younger, I was unbreakable. My father used to call me “Tuffy” because nothing would phase me. I would get hurt, I would get angry, I would get called a name, and I would not cry (these are all legends, I am taking my father’s word for it and I promise he is an honorable man). I was a tomboy through and through and I did not know any different. My older brother influenced my decisions (leading to the terrible choice to cut my hair into a bowl-cut that I kept for the better part of three years) and my interests. You could find me playing with the boys instead of the girls at recess, always returning to our classroom a little bit sweatier than your average girl. All of this changed, however, when I entered fourth grade. It sounds so ridiculous and cliche to say that puberty is what caused all of this but for me, this was the year I really remember not liking the way that I looked for the first time. As time went on and I began my teenage years, things just got worse. Everyone goes through their own set of changes during their teenage years– you test your foundation and usually come crashing down! But I’ve seemed to test my foundations well into my twenties. I’ve battled eating issues, exercise obsessiveness, anxiety over my self-worth because of my body image, and bad decisions made because I didn’t value myself. Slowly, I have been able to overcome some of the things my inner critic makes me battle about myself but I have yet to overcome them all. I could continue to go into detail but for my sanity, I will stop for now.
I am the unwitting product of a culture that places impossible standards on its women and because of this, I have placed impossible standards on myself. Let’s be real, the things that I see as problems are not truly “problems” to everyone and I could be mocked for how I feel but we all have our demons this just happens to be mine. At the ripe age of 26, however, I’ve decided that in order for me to live up to my full potential I have to make a change. The good news (I keep reminding myself) is that I truly believe I have an incredible amount of potential. I have just been selling myself short for so long that it takes a constant set of reminders for me to believe it and feel empowered enough to do something about it. This spring I have set to improve my mind. The rest, I truly believe, will come once I can find balance inside my own head. There is something so beautiful about finding your own strengths and I am determined to find mine.