And by performing, we mean acting. Stop the Act.
Yesterday, I suddenly had the letters ‘id’ come to me and I wrote it out. ID… Identity. Did I know who I was? I think that I did. I knew who I was growing up. I was that girl who wore the free t-shirt she got at Chinese School Summer Camp and because she had the best memories associated with that shirt she wore it everyday. I was the girl who wore messy pigtails and had missing teeth. I eventually got braces and glasses and I remember never being prouder to sport them. I was the girl who spent not one moment on her appearances because frankly she could care less. There was adventure to be had. She was loved, she had friends, food, and family what else was there to care about?
This was me at 10 loving life.
I posted about the Power of 7 Years a little over a year ago. In 7 years a lot can change. I read once that in 7 years every cell of your body changes! I have noticed that in the course of my life every 7 years that pass I am a completely different individual. 7 years later after this photograph was taken I was 17 and getting ready for my first party EVER. Not like a birthday party either, like this was a high school party (you know what I mean??) This was a huge deal because I only dreamed of parties as a 11-16 year old. Literally though, my friends (not to put you on blast, friends) would plot how we could talk to boys for hours without ever having any verbal communication unrelated to homework with one until we were 18. While we had the whole world because we had each other, boys treated us as if we were invisible. Which was honestly probably the best thing that happened to us.
Anyways, right before this party I was in front of my best friend’s parent’s master bedroom mirror with all this new makeup. While I had started wearing eyeliner when I was in 8th grade and I had my makeup done once for a bat mitzvah, I never had a full face before this moment. I vividly remember doing my makeup however I felt like, and there were talented friends to copy and creativity was flowing. The final product was a very different looking girl.
What I didn’t know though was that this moment would cause the next 7 years to be completely dependent and addicted to ‘this look’. I felt trapped once I got to college. I subconsciously made that decision that I really like my face with all this make up on… so I kept it on. All the time. While inside I was still the braces-wearing, smiling, free child on the outside I was this wanna be hot girl with not a clue how to keep up those appearances. It sucked. It was not worth it. If I’m honest with myself, this caused a lot of anxiety and self image problems. While awkward stages are a common thing, I must stress that the point when you’re coming out of it is a very critical time. You want to make sure that you remain YOU and not turn into someone you don’t even recognize. I’ve been seeing articles of “What Would You Tell Yourself as a Freshmen in College Again” and boy would I tell myself a few things. First off, you don’t need to go impressing other people. What’s the most important piece of advice as you enter college and adulthood? Be 100% authentically true to yourself. You’re perfect just the way you are. The game of trying to be someone else is a very tiring act.
And as all these thoughts came flooding to my mind about identity and my personal crisis as an 18 year old, I thought to myself, “Okay. For 7 solid years I did battle with this external/internal struggle but hey this doesn’t have to be my future. I know what it’s like to be that free, smiling girl who is grounded and knows who she is. I was that for 17 years of my life. Here’s to the next 7 years of freedom and being myself again. Here’s to the undoing of the 7 years of pretending to be someone I’m not.”