One of the best things I ever did for myself was validate my existence.
It happened in March 2016, right before my 21st birthday. I decided, for whatever reason, to celebrate myself without shame. With the big date looming near, I made a big deal about it. I sent out reminders and did happy dances. I smiled a lot and told strangers it was my special day. I fully embraced this happy mood, and refused to let anything dull my sparkle.
And, while the “big night” came and went, one thing did not. A newfound appreciation of myself and a confidence in who I was has since stayed with me.
Now, being happy and confident and loudly proud about who I am is not a problem. It’s only mildly uncomfortable. Each week I try to remember a handful of positive things about myself, which carry me into a deeper state of appreciation.
I’m not perfect. My skin is not ever totally clear. I make mistakes. But one mistake I’ll never make again—selling myself short, disallowing myself to take up space in the world.
Here I am, world.
And, in case you missed it, today is my 24th birthday. Cheers.
Originally posted in the March 2016 edition of the CU Denver Sentry.
I’ve always been a person to exceed expectations. Whenever I’m assigned a role, I try to fulfill it and go beyond, without making a huge fuss or production. As a student, daughter, and teammate, I’ve always been more about embracing rules and convention, rather than breaking them. Change is in the air.
Since the beginning of the school year, I’ve been obnoxiously counting down the days until my 21st birthday—there have been vocal announcements, crafty puns, and routine text reminders from me to the people in my life. For the first time ever, I’ve made a big deal out of something about myself. It feels completely counter-intuitive, and like the humble pie I’ve been baking my entire life has fallen to the floor, smashed into pieces. I cleaned up the mess by buying a sparkly dress.
This rhetoric comes with purpose.
I don’t like to make things overtly about myself. I haven’t for a long time. Yet, as March 29 has arrived, the anniversary of my birth, there’s a new kind of thrill for me. I’ve been making a production of this date and this event to save myself from an overdose on my carefully executed roles and expectations. If I continue to hold myself up as always sweet or innocent or humble, my finely stitched edges will start to fray in the worst ways.
Step-by-step, I’m able to peer outside the boundaries of the straight outline I’ve drawn myself. I can be a little tipsy, a little loud, and a little narcissistic. There will glitter eye shadow, and lots of dancing. You won’t catch me with any guilt. Instead, I’ll be embracing the feelings and emotions I never let come too close—a sense of pride, confidence, and a shot of selfishness.
For one night, there will be celebration—of who I am, what I do, and how I strive to be. Probably, in a week or so, I’ll settle back into my more comfortable characteristics. Quiet and introspective, back into my favorite roles. However, I’m not going to lose that sparkle.
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