When I was six, I wanted to be Jessica Boyd; a girl in my school class who had the longest and shiniest hair EVER, and a full set of glitter pens which she took every opportunity to show off. I wanted to have her hair and pens so bad, I begged my Mum. I’m not quite sure what she was supposed to do about my request for super long shiny hair, but she got me some pens nonetheless. They weren’t the good ones that Jessica had though, and I sat many a lesson staring across the table with raging jealousy.
When I was 14, I wanted to be Avril Lavigne. Again, the hair. But I also fell in love with her moody persona, catchy songs and tough-but-pretty style. You couldn’t stop me from belting out ‘Sk8er Boi’ every damn chance I got, and I wore nothing but vest tops and black jeans for two years. I did feel a little heartbroken when she changed and went all super pink and girly on me, how dare she?! …I’m pretty embarrassed about this now.
When I was 25, I wanted nothing more than to be Caitlin Moran. True, she has epic hair; but this time it went a little deeper. Caitlin made me laugh louder from the written word than anyone I’d ever read before. She comforted me that all my insecurities were something others felt too, and that it was silly because we were all beautiful. She taught me about how sexism creeped up in conversations, and in simple gestures every single day. She opened my eyes, and I desperately wanted to be just like her. She was fierce, funny, intelligent and brave.
As much as these examples are massively different, there remains this constant theme of me wanting to be someone else.
..and the thing is, I’m not sure I want that anymore. I think I’d really like to be myself now.
My 100% honest, crazy, wonderful self. The people I admire most these days, are the ones who are utterly, unashamedly themselves. You know those people who just ooze confidence and almost sparkle wherever they go? Yep, I want to be like that. But still ME. I want to celebrate who I am to the very core.
As I’m sure many of you know, this can be so hard! We are constantly facing unrealistic expectations, bashed with images of ‘perfect people’ in the media. We are told how we should look/feel/act/dress/voice opinions/work and basically how we should conduct our whole lives down to every detail. It’s absolutely exhausting and totally crushing to the soul. We are not mindless clones.
I propose we stop looking to the media for validation, and make small changes in our own lives that make US happy.
We don’t all have super smooth, clear skin. We don’t all have the perfect figure (actually, what the hell is the ‘perfect’ figure anyway?!). We don’t all want to look pretty, stay quiet, and follow in the footsteps of others.
We want to be ourselves, we want to rejoice about who we are, and we want to make our own paths.
(We also kind of still want glitter pens too, just FYI.)
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