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We don’t want to admit somewhere inside us there lives a person who believes they would be better if X, Y, and Z were put in order. We don’t want to admit there are people who, despite our preference, will carry fragments of our being.
When moments happen and there is no one left around to be the parameters of where your personality starts and ends, there is a gap. As time goes by, the gap gets bigger, until it’s just a hole where all the sad, regret, and loss fall.
It seems to be part of human programming to have a predisposed self.
They are handed down from the cumulative pasts of not just our parents, but those strangers and family who managed to put fingerprints on their lives. So, it would be ridiculous to say an individual needs to be completely free of anyone.
People have the ability to shine and also to smudge our lives. In our declaration of autonomy from those obstacles that kick us around (ED, depression, etc.) we decide those who get to be in our life.
We decide who gets to be close and make us vulnerable. Social dynamics call for different blueprints — a person will act differently when he or she is with a parent versus a professor or a significant other.
I don’t have the ability to say to anyone I am completely comfortable with myself or I know exactly who I am in every instant.
I can’t say I act the same with each social group I find myself included with. My only offering is my own truth which is in attempting to fit in with everyone and be good enough I simply made it easier for my anxiety to get inside my head and tell me I was nothing at all.
There is no clear-cut remedy for low confidence, or conflicted ties, but it starts with you (yes, all of you). Who is the one who will say “keep going” even though you are tired and scared? Who is the one who will smile when you present an art creation, or when you tackle hurdles you thought were too high? Who will be the one to say there is something more than being agreeable?
It is the same person who keeps you from giving up, who reads self-help blogs and books, or watches recovery videos. It is the same person who cries each night because there is too much noise rolling around inside. Identity is such a flexible word, with much potential, but it is just that — a beautiful yet frightening word.
We are more than words and more than beautiful metaphors or well-meaning comments friends and family make.
People are crucial because we all need socializing, no matter how introverted we may be. The people who are called into one’s personal circle are there for a reason. Friends are the ones who will not be fazed if you do the ridiculous, like cutting your hair in the shower with no mirror (true story).
I know I would stress because I didn’t feel I deserved a group of friends. I felt I was too dull and awkward, so I tried to remake myself into someone exciting and funny.
All pretending gave me was more juggling, and made it hard to look myself in the eye. There was an important moment I had with my best friend, where she said her love was unconditional, and it clicked something in me.
Maybe part of the stress comes from trying to fix the past, and make sure we are safe and able to be enough, or able to quiet the noise that echoes. It’s scrambling, how easy it is to sink into artificial existence.
Taking it moment by moment helps to tackle it at the root.
We were not born loathing ourselves or feeling the need to impress. Somewhere along the way, it was signalled we needed to rearrange ourselves.
Trying out new things, like wearing your hair down, or cutting it (though maybe not in the shower without a mirror), may be your yay moment. Maybe, your yay moment is watching a series you have been excited for, or listening to a new song. Maybe it’s taking time for silence and time for art.
Identity doesn’t come walking through the door in a posh suit, and it doesn’t carry anyone away. Instead, it is a blanket, and each person has the power, and the right, to decide what it will mean.
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Kira, recent graduate of Coastal Carolina University (B.A English), is a self-proclaimed bookworm. In 2012 she realized her anxiety was more than a phase and sought out counseling. Through journaling, she learned the value of art as a coping mechanism. Kira continues filling sketchbooks, journals, and bookshelves with inspirations and stories. Rough days come and go but she remains positive and hopes to share this with others who may be struggling to find themselves.
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