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Your life experiences have shaped who you are.
That’s what makes us all wonderful and unique. Why, then, does our culture promote sameness?
Sure, there are trends in what the “norm” is, and the masses scramble to emulate it.
But what if you are not the norm? What if you always knew you did not want to be the norm? What if your life experience taught you that you would be ostracized, bullied, and shamed if you deviated?
Most of us can relate to this, in some way or another. I know there are many degrees in this statement.
There are some, like me, who have never had to fear for their lives because they don’t fit into the norm. Those of you who have to endure that trauma and have managed to survive or thrive despite it will not even pretend to know how you do it.
What I do know, in my fifth decade of life, is that I wish I could go back and tell my past self that she is perfect just the way she is—that she has her own beauty, and her parents do not get to define her. Nobody can belittle her for being who she is.
I wish that child knew that her shyness, empathy, and sensitivity were gifts, not a reason for anguish or self-sabotage or self-harm or suicidal contemplation.
I wish I could go back and tell her how fierce, how compassionate, and how transcendent she is.
I wish I could go back and tell her how important she is—that she matters.
I wish I could read her the quote by Atlas that says:
“…we’re all pretending to be normal when we could be insanely interesting instead.”
I want to tell her that her beauty does not have to be everyone else’s definition of beauty, that her heart and soul and mind belong to the world where she is appreciated.
As an adult, I am working to tell my inner child these things. So that finally, my heart, my mind, and my soul can be at peace. So I know that I matter, and beauty can be found everywhere in this life (and it doesn’t all look the same).