For so long, I wanted to be someone else. I spent hours scrolling through social media thinking, “She is so pretty, I wish I was pretty like her”, “I wish I was fast and skinny like her”, “I wish I had money like them”. I kept chasing a reality of someone’s else’s life, because mine felt not good enough. I felt that my life would be happier and more complete, if I was more like someone else, and less like me.
Can you relate?
But what does being less like who you are even mean? It would mean there would be a lot less of the amazing qualities that you have being shared with the world. It sounds cliché, but there truly is only one of you. You were uniquely made to be you, not someone else. But I didn’t realize how beautiful and important being unique was. So I pretended for years to be someone else. I was made fun of in school that I acted “too white”. As an African American young girl, I did what most students would have done after being teased, I tried to change who I was in order to fit in with my peers and stop the taunting. But trying to change who I was only made me more uncomfortable, as I struggled with the constant overthinking and over worrying if what I was doing was or wasn’t “black enough”. In college, I pretended to have my life all together, but on the inside I was falling apart. I pretended to have an amazing relationship, but it was truly tearing me to pieces.
It wasn’t until I was fed up with pretending, that I had to figure out who the real Ivy was, and show the world that person. When I was pretending, the world saw less of my quirkiness. When I was pretending, the world didn’t get to hear my story, and I didn’t get to tell it, so I didn’t have the chance to truly heal. When I was pretending, I hung out with people who I didn’t really want to hang out with and made choices I didn’t really want to make. When I was pretending, the world saw less of me.
But over the past year and a half, I have been working on showing the world more of me and showing myself more of me. This year, with the holiday season among us, I will be opening a few gifts, but the most important gift I have given myself this holiday season is the gift of myself. The gift of learning that who I am, exactly as I am is enough. Recognizing that who I am is a gift has brought more light into my life, has allowed me to grow in ways I never thought possible, and has pushed me to be a better person.
It’s inevitable that you will be influenced by social media and society’s standards of who you should be. But you have a choice to make a decision and tell society that you will not play into its’ game, but that instead you will be celebrating you in all of your uniqueness. When you choose to be you and realize that who you are is a gift, you influence others to do the same. How beautiful would this world be, if we all chose to be who we wanted to be, loved ourselves unconditionally, and realized that who we are and what we bring to this world is truly a gift?
Even though we are all far from perfect, and could all improve in some areas of our lives, it is important for us to recognize our worth and to recognize the value we add to everyone around us on a daily basis. I hope that this holiday, the best gift you unwrap is yourself. Whether you are unwrapping yourself slowly and figuring out who you are and who you want to be or you are ripping the wrapping paper off in a mad dash to show the world how amazing you are, I truly hope that underneath the wrapping paper that you may have been hiding under, that you find the shiny, amazing, fun, and beautiful gift that you are.
Cheers to a life where we pretend less and celebrate ourselves more, exactly as we are.
Be Beautifully Simply You
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