Once upon a time there was a girl who told herself she wasn’t like everybody else. She would be different.

But she saw the other girls with their swinging ponytails and their soccer shorts. She hated competing athletically, but everyone around her seemed to love it… so she lied to herself everyday.

This little not-so-self assured girl is me of course, and let me tell you, I tried it all: lacrosse, basketball, dance, soccer, volleyball, tennis, field hockey, and even the occasional month-trial of karate or badminton. But, with a big smile and a secret feeling of guilt for making my mom take me to countless practices, I didn’t give up. I would like sports if it killed me trying. I would look like those other girls with their skinny legs and their pin-straight hair. I didn’t care what I had to sacrifice, even if that meant my own happiness.

Now I get to high school and I’m supposed to be “finding myself.” Whatever that’s supposed to mean. I keep playing the sports that my town has taught me are essentially crucial to my existence. I wouldn’t say that playing sports crushed me as a human being, because to be honest I made some great friends and got some funny stories out of it. But, my passion for it just wasn’t there, and I was doing it for all the wrong reasons.

I would look in the mirror everyday and shrug, only to look down at my phone to see the endless social media posts of girls that I would’ve loved to look like.

It’s hard. I’m not gonna say it’s not. And I’m not gonna say that one day you can wake up and decide to love yourself for good. But, you can try. And that’s exactly what I did.

It was about a year ago that I became selfish. It was about a year ago that I quit trying to find a passion for sports. It was about a year ago that I started to get to know myself, and allowed myself to indulge in the things I actually did love; writing, working out, playing guitar, etc., etc..

My only new year's resolution last year was to start to get comfortable with who I was. Just start. Confidence isn’t something that comes in a day or a week or even a year, because there are gonna be bad days when you feel worn out, or when you feel like you aren’t good enough. But the best thing you can do is start.

Start with noticing your negative thoughts, and letting them pass. Start with doing things that make you happy, things that make you proud. Start with telling yourself you’re beautiful, and eventually, you might just believe it.

Put down the soccer cleats that make you cringe. Lock away the hopes of your natural curls suddenly flattening out. Silence your fears of not being enough like those models you see, and instead, focus on who you are. Get to know the amazing individual you are, because I have a feeling you just might learn to like them.