Being the Person You Love

Alex - union, Kentucky
Entered on December 11, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in loving who you are. Many people, in fact the majority of people, in this world strive to be who they aren’t, changing everything from the way they look to the way they act just to impress those around them. I can say that at many moments I am not unlike this, but growing up I have also learned to embrace who I am and in turn have become a stronger individual.

Growing up I guess you could call me the nerd. I had long curly hair that for the majority of the time was frizzy for I had yet to discover styling cream. Due to my complete lack of vision, until the fourth grade, I wore the big 80’s style glasses that were at least a centimeter thick. I was the kid in class that knew most of the answers, shy, and afraid to raise a hand to answer questions. Shyness and fear held me back in class and in my daily life, all because I felt the awkwardness of my looks.

Shyness comes from the sole fact that a person is afraid of their peers it is all a mental image that an individual creates in their mind. So for the majority of my schooling I was the quiet girl in the back of the class. Due to the fact that from kindergarten untill the eighth grade I went to school with the same people, that image of me never changed and I hated who I was because of it.

All of this changed my freshman year when I moved all the way from Nebraska, my childhood home, to a town in Ohio. I wanted so badly to change who I was and to have people like me. Being the timid girl, I was terrified of being in a new town. So I changed much of who I was. I no longer had glasses; I wore contacts and changed my hair. I hated that my hair was curly, all the girls I saw on TV and at school had such perfectly shiny straight hair and that’s what I wanted too. Every morning before school, I would wake up at 5:30 in the morning and dry, pull and flatten my hair. But oh how my hair was resilient to this change and by the end of the day there were kinks and waves galore slowly forming throughout my hair. The next morning it would simply begin again. It was a wearing process.

All of this work was due to the images presented in everyday life, on TV, magazines, and every sort of media. They show girls how they are supposed to look and pressure them to conform to a certain type of “beautiful”. But how can, in a world full of different types of people, can only one or two looks be the standard for beautiful. This image needs to change and would not exist if every person just embraced who they are.

My changing however went beyond just my physical appearance. Being the new student at an unfamiliar school, I desperately wanted people to like me. Two of the girls in my group of friends lived next to each other and were always hanging out, but with that constant togetherness they would always be in some type of quarrel. I, being friends with both of them, seemed to get pulled into the middle. This is the way my day would go, first period-Kelsey was complaining about some tedious thing Ashley had done. Third period—Ashley would complain. Fifth period—Kelsey was on to something else that she happened to have done throughout the day. This happened day in and day out. Just wanting to belong, when they would complain to me I would agree with whatever it was they were saying even if they were being ridiculous. This is how I compromised myself. This continuation occurred for a very long time and I slowly began to become very down on myself. I wasn’t being myself, the girls I called my friends only liked me for who they thought I was. I never was comfortable around them to be myself, only pieces of myself. Everyday people change who they are to be someone they think someone else want them to be. I thought that that would make me happy, that that was the key to this perfect life I wanted. But I wasn’t I was depressed when I would go home at night. I realized that the relationships I was forming were fake. This is not who I was or wanted to be and then one day all of it came crashing down.

Both of the girls had came together realized what I had been doing, seemingly talking badly about both of them in turn to the other. When confronted by them I realized the entirety of what I had become. I explained why I had acted that way, that I was the new girl and I had just wanted them to like me. Again, why had I felt the need to please them so much, I should have simply been myself and they would have liked me for who I am? However, even with my new determination to be myself it was hard to change my relationship with my friends and there was always an awkward tension. They never really knew if I was being myself and I didn’t know how to be comfortable around them without hiding behind the persona I had created.

After only a year and a half in Ohio we moved again, to Northern Kentucky. With this move I knew I would be able to do things right, to show everyone who I really was, to be myself. I began straightening my hair less and less, occasionally wearing my glasses. I had purchased new pair that was a bit more fashionable to say the least. I became more outgoing in class, learning not to bother with what others would think, and speaking out. I quickly become friends with two very outgoing girls and for once I could be my complete self. These girls helped pull me out and realize that I can be myself.

There are always times when in daily life I wish I looked a certain way, or want to change something about myself, but all I do is have to stop and think. I am far from without flaws but life is about embracing those flaws and the things you wish you could do differently. When I finally realized that I couldn’t be anyone but myself is when I finally found the true happiness in my life. No one can be content unless they are themselves.