A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine approached me to speak at a summer camp being held through her job. She wanted me to talk about my history with self image, self worth and where I stand today. My first thought was "Why me? Do I really have a story to tell?" Actually, my first thought and question to her was, "How many f-bombs can I drop?"
But seriously, I was shocked she considered me. Yes, I've been through things (and am still going through some) but do I have anything to offer that could be inspiring?
Last night we met with the girls whose ages ranged from14-17.
My high school years were some of the roughest years of my life. Never had I felt more insecure and ugly than I did during high school. It doesn't help when people tell you to your face you are ugly. Boys suck. I had a group of friends but not the core group like I had imagined. I didn't have anyone I could truly confide in. Granted, I didn't give anyone a chance to know me but I saw too many girls flip on each other so quickly I was not going to let that happen to me. So, at school, I would be happy, bubbly, talkative, and never let anyone see what was really happening with me. When I got home, I could let my guard down. I would go to my room, turn on the TV, and mellow out. Pretending to be happy is exhausting. Because of this, my grades sucked, I didn't try out for any sports or extracurricular activities (because I was concerned what people would think of me). I didn't have the motivation to apply myself to anything. I definitely focused on the things that should have been secondary: my hair, my clothes, getting a car (I rode a bus all four years. Only driving my moms car here and there my Senior Year). I would always think if my hair was longer I would be prettier, get a boyfriend, be happy, and then I would start doing better in school. I'm pretty sure you are furrowing your brows right now because that logic makes absolutely no sense. You're right. It doesn't. But the mind is strong as hell and it can make you believe anything you want. Countless times it made me believe this world would be a better place without me.
This mentality occurred during the majority of high school (and beyond) until the second half of my senior year I had asked my parents to check me into a mental institution. I thought this would be the "cure all end all" fix I needed. It wasn't. I got out and went back into the same routine. My parents didn't understand. No one really understood. And I don't blame them. Depression is one of those diseases many people didn't understand or talk about. There is still a stigma surrounding it today. A lot of times I was told to "Get over it!" "Suck it up!" or informed of how everyone has problems too. Some advice: DON'T say these things to someone struggling with Depression. These words may be the tipping point for something very bad to happen.
I'm a huge believer in signs and that "everything happens for a reason." So why did I go through my own personal hell for a majority of my life? To be there last night for these girls and share my story. I know to some that may be outlandish but as we spoke to these girls last night I scanned the crowd and saw myself in a lot of them: the ones who don't feel beautiful, who are depressed and hiding everything inside. I made sure to be as open as possible about my Depression. I think this allowed some of the girls to open up about their own struggle with Depression, no matter how mild or severe. I hope I was able to show them it DOES get better and there will be those days that it completely sucks but realize it and then fight tooth and nail to be happy. Being happy is hard work but if you find innerpeace and surround yourself with the right people, you can do it.
And yes, some days you will fall but it's OK, you're not perfect. On those days, I watch The Twilight Series and knit.
The girls I met last night have been heavily on my mind today. I hope they all heard something from one of us that will impact their life in a positive way and to rise that extra step towards getting help, being compassionate, speaking up, and not feel ashamed.