I hear from a lot of people that I’m outspoken, confident, fearless, and that it’s why they like me. I didn’t use to be this woman, though. For a very long time, I was painfully shy, desperate to fit in, and followed what others told me to do and believed what they told me to believe.
I was born and raised in the Bible belt, and went to a Lutheran school for six years. The majority of people here are Conservative, Christian, and white. I wasn’t exposed to different beliefs and cultures, and only saw different universes through the films I watched, the books I devoured, and the games I played. Even though as a child I questioned what I was told, I held my tongue. Who was I to say that this or that didn’t make sense or seemed cruel? Obviously I was the one who was wrong, right? As the years passed by, I grew deeply insecure. I was overweight as a child, then suffered a breakdown when I was twelve years old, causing me to drop to 88 pounds. During this time, I was told I was ugly, fat/anorexic, and that no guy would ever find me attractive. I tried to fit in however I could. I bought the same purses the cool, pretty, popular girls bought, wore the same perfume, etc. I wanted so badly to fit in and be liked that I lost my identity and became a wannabe.
I continued this trend up until about the eleventh grade, when I started to stop caring about what others thought of me. It was clear to me that I was viewed as plain and would never be popular, so I started experimenting with fashion and delved into my love affair with vampires. This was the beginning of my “I don’t give a fuck” attitude, and it would only grow stronger as the years progressed.
Fast forward past my college years and THAT mental breakdown. I started up a YouTube channel because I was severely depressed and felt like I had nothing else to live for. As I navigated around the site and found channels that discussed my favorite topics, I started to see that the world wasn’t just Conservative, Christian, and white. I was exposed to people who shared my passions, and who held different religious views, were of different sexualities, etc. It was so freeing to realize that these people were adored for who they were, and it gave me a push to test my boundaries.
At first I was scared to drop the f-bomb, to wear provocative clothing, or to even think of tattooing my body or coloring my hair crazy colors. After a while, though, I realized that life is short, fuck is just a word that holds no power unless you give it a negative connotation, and your body is yours. I started to see myself as beautiful, and I truly love myself now, scars and all.
If you want to show it off, show it off. Want to get a tattoo? Go for it. Dream of having brilliantly colored hair. Dye it. Life is short, and no one besides you can dictate how you live your life. You are beautiful just the way you are, and anyone who says differently doesn’t yet have the vision to appreciate true beauty. So go ahead and be yourself; make silly faces, wear crazy outfits, and make a mark on this world with your unique stamp.