Ever since 2017, I vowed to be the best version of myself I could be.

I clearly had no idea what that meant.

When I thought of people living their best life, I thought of various social media influencers who seemed to have perfect lives. They looked like they were always happy and had absolutely no problems.

They were the people I looked up to for authenticity, but I've had to learn numerous lessons about what it means to be the best version of yourself.

I would take on project after project, I never said "no" when offered an opportunity (even when I knew I couldn't handle it) and most importantly, I would try my hardest to be the happiest person in the world even when I felt like I was dying.

I wanted to make everyone else happy. I wanted people to be proud of me because I didn't know how to be proud of myself.

I was being the real me, but I wasn't being the best version of myself.

I thought if I took a break, turned down an opportunity or had a bad day (as we all do), then I wasn't being my most authentic self. I wanted to prove to myself and everyone around me that I was Superwoman and I could do it all.

I crashed last summer after going through the absolute worst time in my life.

I had taken on too much responsibility and I couldn't do anything anymore without burning out soon after.

I took five classes, worked two jobs, continuing to write for Odyssey and I tried to maintain friendships and relationships.

I tried to be happy through it all, but I was miserable 24/7.

I thought I had let everyone down, but the only person I let down was myself. Everyone else was proud of me.

This fake persona I thought I had to put on lasted until a few months ago when I broke down crying in front of my best friend. I was terrified of how she would respond, but she hugged me as tight as she could and reassured me that it was okay to be human.

For the first time in forever, I realized the difference between being happy and being authentic.

Authenticity is honest. It includes the days where you are tired, cranky, unmotivated, lazy, or even just "off."

Authenticity is about being human.

Don't be afraid to be human. I wish I hadn't been.