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You're Not Perfect. And That's Okay

I grew up believing that nothing I could ever do was enough. Throughout middle and high school, I learned that to be successful, I needed to be the absolute best at everything and would constantly be berated when I was anything but perfect. I almost lost myself trying to win the approval of others, specifically, my parents. My journey to where I am now was difficult, but it will help you understand who I am. Welcome, to my messy, beautiful life. 

If you had known me in high school, you would have seen me running to either practice for a music competition, study for a test, or attend meetings for the multiple organizations that I held leadership positions in. From the outside, you probably would have thought that I had it all. What you wouldn’t have seen is the pain I masked with a smile or how entirely broken I was inside. I sacrificed my happiness and passions in an attempt to satisfy people who were never happy with how I placed in competition or my test scores. I felt suffocated. Like I was drowning in an ocean of stress and couldn’t breach the surface for longer than a couple of breaths. The only thing that kept me afloat was my love for art.

To me, art is anything that allows you to express yourself freely whether that be writing, music, painting, reading, or performing. Throughout the day, I escaped my reality by simply picking up a book and transporting myself into that world. It’s through books, that I found proper role models that taught me my morals. Characters like Hermione Granger or Atticus Finch showed me that sticking up for injustice while also being compassionate will get you farther than following societal norms. I would read whenever I could, simultaneously escaping from my nightmare while also learning more from fictional characters about who I wanted to be.

Reading brought me the much-needed escape from my day, but performing in the orchestra was the only time I felt fully and freely myself. For just an hour a day, I didn’t have to worry about what I got on my physics test, or how we were going to fundraise money for Student Council. All I thought about was the music and how I wanted to fill every note I played with my passion and my pain. While nobody knew how I was feeling, being amongst other musicians for a common goal was both beautiful and a release from the feelings that plagued my soul. Yet something was still missing. 

It wasn’t until I came to Baylor University that I realized exactly what was missing to fill the gap in my soul. I had allowed other people’s opinions of me dictate how I acted and who I was. I measured my self-worth based on how people reacted to my “success” and consequently, completely threw my passions and happiness out the door. This past semester was about refinding who I was and taking the bigger challenge in learning to love myself. After I joined Her Campus Baylor and started writing for fun again I slowly started loving myself. Now, I love how my writing isn’t perfect, how I can’t play the piano perfectly, and how quirky I am. I love how practically imperfect I am but I’m not going to lie, there are still days where I struggle being happy with who I am and I still catch myself trying to please others. The physical and emotional scars will always be there to remind me of where I was, but I’m no longer ashamed of them.

I love my practically imperfect self. So let me ask you, what is currently preventing you from fully loving yourself and how can you start making steps to change that?