It's Alright To Just "Be"

Are you a girl who has to have her shit together, but is quietly falling apart on the sidelines of her own life? I’m talking busy schedules, little sleep, and way too many obligations with frantically scrawled due dates in red all over your planner. Sound familiar? Well girl- I’ve got you.

In high school, my schedule was about as busy as any other young woman’s from a low-income family. I woke up around the butt crack of dawn for school, led an after-school practice for my band and auxiliary teams for a few hours, and then drove straight off into the sunset -excuse me- to work afterwards, not getting back home until around one or two in the morning. I then had a handful of hours left before school started to shower, eat, and get a full eight hours of sleep. Piece. Of. Cake. Except most of those hours weren’t spent doing those things. My mom would frequently find me lying in the fetal position on the bathroom floor dry heaving because I was overworking myself.

You know the confusing part to all this? Even though I knew I was overdoing myself to the point where I was getting physically sick, I felt like it was a badge of honor. Or at least, that it was meant to be. I was getting my classwork done, I was earning some great money, and I was getting to lead my friends in our practices as we readied ourselves for performances. I was having fun, so I didn’t stop. People had expectations of me. I had expectations of me. Everything went like that for a while. I was helping people. Everyone around me had their own little piece of me, and they used those pieces of me to fill the holes in themselves. But, you know that they say- “what goes up, must come back down.” And girl, did I fall.

I once read a quote from European singer Nana Mouskouri. She said, “I do believe that if you haven’t learnt about sadness, you cannot appreciate happiness.” Once I graduated high school, I was well-versed in all the hidden crevices of anxiety and deep sadness that sometimes you yourself may not even notice. I had learned what it was like to be at your lowest. Despite that, I saw reality in its purest form. And reality sure has a way of waking you up. Thankfully, I decided to go off for higher education and that was a huge turning point for me.

In college, I have a very different life compared to the past four years: I go to class, eat full meals, study (doing homework with a passion I never even knew I had), and take the time to get to learn myself and see how a free me interacts with new friends and faces that aren’t getting to know me to take pieces of me apart for themselves. I concede that within the first week of coming to Nacogdoches, I took Zumba classes with an older lady instructor named Gloria, who LOVED to randomly yell incoherent noises in the midst of a rather fast-paced Columbian tune. Gloria also liked everyone participating. I have no shame in the yelling I did that day. But that’s it. I didn’t have to rush back to my dorm room to get ready for work. I didn’t have to worry about if my manager scheduled everyone correctly, or if I’d need to help a lone coworker close- a three person job that with my help, at least two could complete. I wasn’t meeting new friends that were only concerned in besting me somehow. I was getting to know real people and have real me-time. Mostly, besides classes and studying, I just chilled.

Wanna know something positive since my coming to college? No more two a.m. dry heaving on the bathroom floor in pain. Not a single one. I had gotten to the point in high school that I didn’t even know what it felt like to feel relief. Home-time was pain-time, but it was also the only time I stopped moving. Now, it’s like I’m a completely different young woman. I’m living my life, not doing much, granted- but doing just enough to, well… be.

Photo by: Abby Burfine

To all the girls who know what it’s like to overwork yourself for others… or even for yourself- stay sincere. Believe that you’re more than what you’re being used for. You may think that you’ll forever be stuck in whatever sucky part of life you’re going through, but trust me: it is not permanent. Let yourself grow and change. You don’t have to plan anything, just go where your feet take you. I wish I had the courage back then to have quit; I truly believe it would have been better for me to have given up on toxic things or people that have used and given up on me. Let yourself feel that courage within you, and believe that you need change. Once you accept the fact that going 90 to nothing does NOT equal your worth, you are invincible. I know what it’s like to give all of yourself to others, barely leaving yourself anything after. It’s unhealthy, and you have to recognize that. You don’t have to do everything laid out in front of you to be the you that you’re one day meant to be. Just live your life as it goes, be happy, and you are all you need to be. Don’t worry so much about being something… because sometimes? You just need to be.