Live Fearlessly, Even When It's Not Your Best Life

Live Fearlessly, Even When It Isn't Your Best Life

Be proud of who you are. Every part of who you are.

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This past December, just like every other December, I was asked to sing at church for the Christmas service. I was so used to it that it had become like clockwork, so on that Sunday morning, I woke up early to start getting ready. After brushing my teeth, combing my hair, and applying mascara to my lashes, I put on a black dress I bought the year before, pulled up my pantyhose, slipped on some heels, and went out the door.

When I got to church, however, I suddenly had a rapid shift in the mental state. I went on stage to practice before service and attempted to sing, but words wouldn't come out. I couldn't even look up from the floor. I ran off stage and sat down, trying to be as calm as possible as I explained to my dad that I needed him to sing without me. He didn't understand why my mood seemed to change out of the blue, and I didn't know how to explain what I was feeling.

As I was standing up there, all I could think about was how my dress and pantyhose were much more snug on me than they were a year ago. I was thinking about how when I open my mouth, I get a double chin and how when I smile, my chubby cheeks are all I seem to notice. I was convinced that while the congregation watched me sing "O Come All Ye Faithful," they'd be thinking about how the girl they last saw in August had come back from college with more than just another semester under her belt--she brought back enough extra pounds to need to loosen the belt a whole loop.

It's the same reason I'd been avoiding wearing my cutest outfits, shopping for myself, planning fun events, and taking pictures with my friends. I couldn't tell my dad that. All anyone ever talks about is how they're losing weight or improving their lives. How could I tell him that the semester I just had kicked my butt and I was feeling lower than I had in a long time?

These thoughts caused me to remember something a sorority sister of mine posted on Facebook a few weeks ago. She explained that she had a rough six months and that she didn't have an inspirational story to tell about how she overcame it... at least, not yet anyway. She said she wanted to put it out there, plain and simple, because it was the truth, and it's okay to admit you're not always feeling on top of the world.

This made me ask myself: why do I only let myself enjoy my life when I am at my best? Aren't I just as much myself when I am barely surviving as I am when I'm thriving?

So what if I made a batch of cookies and ate them all in 48 hours? So what if my face broke out in a place where it never had before? So what if I don't get a call back from a job I applied for? So what if a boy I was crushing on liked someone else?

The reality is, that's life. There will be times when you lose weight like a champ, and there will be times when no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to take off even a pound. There will be times when you get up early and have a productive morning, and there will be times when you accidentally sleep until noon and miss an important obligation. There will be times when you cross off everything on your to-do list, and there will be times when you have to cancel all of your appointments to allow yourself room to breathe. There will be times when you laugh with your friends for hours on end, and there will be times when just the thought of socializing causes you to burst into tears.

The thing to realize is, those so-called failures are just as much part of who you are as are all of your accomplishments. You don't have to hide parts of you and put other parts on display. You should be just as proud of yourself for getting out of bed on a day where you feel like leaving your house takes all of the strength you have as you are of yourself when you ace an exam or land a new job.

You don't need to only love yourself when the scale says a certain number or your skin is blemish-free or your eyebrows are perfectly plucked. None of these things should stop you from going out fearlessly into the world.

Maybe you're not always living your "best" life. But that should never stop you from living.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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Why You Should Bring Your Close Friend As Your Formal Date

Before asking that cute girl to formal think about asking a friend

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Every year since I was a junior in high school I have always looked forward to homecoming or prom. When I got to college I began to look forward to my fraternity formal. I was never concerned with what to wear or the expense of formal but rather who I was going to ask. It can be difficult to make a decision. If you ask anyone friends with me they will tell you how I am one of the most indecisive people out there. There are so many people I am friendly with or have a close relationship that it can feel difficult to make a decision. But let's look at that phrase again. You might think why does he want to bring someone who is his friend to his fraternity formal rather than someone he likes or is dating. To answer this question, some of the girls I have liked I have not been able to be the true me around and that also applies to the girls I have dated as well. I am different around my friends and I want someone to know the real me rather than me just having to pretend.

Maybe I am still experiencing the effects of a fun weekend but I have noticed that every formal or prom that I have brought a date with not only was a fun formal but interacted and connected well with my friends. That is the main thing I look for in a formal date, they need to be liked by my friends and many of them are still pretty friendly after the formal. You are spending the weekend with them and the drive down for you formal. There will be a lot of time spent with your date so it is important to bring someone you know you will have fun with. I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with bringing someone else but I always found it best to bring a friend if you are not dating someone.

Think about the people you know you will always have fun with. This can be an indication of who you should bring and why but you should also think about the positives in this situation. Your fun and the time spent with the people should be prioritized before anything else. This event is about you and you should have someone with you that you know is fun to be around and someone you can enjoy yourself around along with your friends. Friends know you as well as you know yourself so there is not an idea of having to pretend to be someone else. The good thing about friends is that you do not run out of things to talk about and there is always something new to learn. Take your formal as a trip that you get to experience with the people closest to you. That is my take.

The key for me is to know that I will have fun with my date at formal. The drive to formal can be long and you are sharing a hotel room with your date along with spending time with them during the trip. I talk a lot. I want someone I know who I can carry a conversation with and will not just respond with words such as Yeah or Sounds good. I have always been able to remember not only my formals but specific parts of it as well. I think this is possible because of who I have brought and the memories I made with them.

Formals are important to everyone so think about who you want to spend that moment with. There is nothing wrong with bringing someone who you like but there also is nothing wrong with bringing a friend. Some people might bring someone they are dating but you should not have to compare yourself to other people. Do what makes you happy but remember this weekend is about you and you deserve to bring someone you will have fun with.

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