I am a people pleaser to the boot.

I will do everything in my power to make people happy. I avoid conflict like the bubonic plague. The pleasing aspect of my personality is so big that it makes up a big part of who I am. The older I get though, the more I realize that it's not always the best trait to have.

Sometimes you have to put yourself first, and learning to do that has been difficult for me.

It's okay to disappoint people.

Just typing that sentence out makes me a little anxious. The idea of being a disappointment to someone I respect and hold to a higher standard is a terrifying thing. My family, my teachers, my friends, my bosses, or just someone in the grocery store, the idea of those people not looking at me with the same amount of respect is this awful thing in my head.

It's okay though. Every decision I make is not going to make sense to others. What's best for me, might not be what they think it is. Sometimes I am going to have to make the harder decision. Just because someone is older than me, or has done something longer, does not mean they know what is right for me. I have to make my own decisions. I have to make my own mistakes.

It might not be something that those around me always agree with, and at the end of the day it might disappoint them, but that's okay. It does not take away from who I am as a person. If they truly do care about me and how I do, they can accept these things.

It's okay to go against the grain.

I am from a small, tight-knit town in the South. You go to church on Sundays. You have manners. You spend many a Friday nights at a football field. It's the stuff out of movies in some ways. It is also a place deeply steeped in tradition and everybody thinks their way is the right way. I love my community, and without them, I would not be who I am. It can be intimidating though. Religion, politics, the refugee crisis, the LGBTQ community: those are only a few of the things that can be hot topics in a small town. To say everyone in towns like mine thinks the same would be an unfair and incorrect assumption, but to say people are deeply rooted in their beliefs is correct. My political stance is not something I advertise out of fear that is will affect the way people view me. That's something I have to get over though and goes hand in hand with that disappointment thing.

I have the right to express my political views just as much as anyone else. If someone from high school does not like what I share on Facebook they can speak with me about in an adult and rational conversation or they can delete me. I do not have to apologize for my beliefs.

It's okay to be who you are

To throw everything I want to say into a blanket term, it's really okay to be who you are. I've heard it for years. You've heard it for years. We all have. It's a lot easier said than done, but it is true.

So wear the skirt that no one else in your school would never wear. Go get that job out of state. Be the "jock" who loves choir. Be politically involved, even if it's not what you parents want. Read books and watch foreign films. Even if it's just one little thing that makes you feel a little bit more "you", do it.