Showing Your True Self

Showing Your True Self

You don't have to be 'on' all the time
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Who are you? I can tell you who I am.

I am a simple yet complicated dreamer. I am an open book with a few pages torn out, for there are some parts of my story I don’t tell many people. I am outgoing, but I can be equally as shy. I can be funny and confident, or sad and discouraged.

A few of my close friends can agree with those statements. Others simply take out the bad parts because they don’t see the real me behind the jokes, the laughter, and the outgoingness. It’s easy to think you know who people are. You certainly see some of their fine characteristics, but you never see the broken pieces.

Sometimes passing judgment on who we have figured people to be causes problems. I have noticed that some people just really don’t know me as deeply, and therefore, cannot detect certain moods of mine. Most people only see the happy-go-lucky version and expect it at all hours of the day. So naturally, anytime I am not cracking jokes or smiling, they assume the worst. Then, there becomes a repeated phrase: “Demi, what’s wrong?” “Nothing.” “There has to be something wrong. You aren’t being yourself.”

Oh, don’t we all just love those moments

I’m told that when I am not smiling, I either look really angry or really sad. But in all honesty, I am usually just super zoned out or focusing on the task I need to complete.

It’s easy to get wrapped into what others think of us. It’s easy to listen so much to them that we feel like we have to be that way all of the time.

I have a friend who is one of the most caring, sweetest people I have ever met. She is a very straight forward individual, so a lot of people don’t think so highly of her. After being thrown into this idea, she has given up on trying to show her real side, and just gives them what they want to see.

Isn’t that so easy to do? We get tired of trying to explain ourselves. We eventually just give in to who everyone thinks we are and act that way. After awhile, this, too, becomes exhausting.

I came to a realization this week about myself. I had a crush on a friend of mine for about two months. Every time I saw him, I thought I had to be on in order to grab his attention. I was scared that if I wasn’t my funniest each time I saw him, he wouldn’t pay attention to me. At the end of the day, I look back on moments like that and reflect on how the situation went. This week, I reflected on all of the situations with this guy that I could think of. I noticed a pattern. In trying to impress him, I acted completely against the girl that I am. In simple words, I said really stupid things that I would never say to anyone else. I became this fake person because I was scared to show the broken parts of me. Honestly, the faker I was, the more that I exposed about myself, and doing this made me show those broken pieces in the wrong manner.

Maybe none of this has applied to you. Let’s look at a different way. In the mornings, how good do you try to make yourself look before walking out the door? I don’t care if you got up 10 minutes before you needed to leave- you, usually, still want to look the best you can. Today, I threw my hair up in a ponytail after my second class because it was just one of those days. I assume that when my hair is up, I look completely bald. Thus, this was the first time in maybe a year (while at college) that I have worn it up in public. Not even 20 minutes later, I regretted the decision. I came to the conclusion that my hair hated me today and just wasn’t going to look good regardless. A thought came into my head through this: Demi, you don’t have to be on all the time. Hmm, isn’t that convenient. Here’s what I mean:

We are told we have to look our best all the time. I personally have this thought of “oh, well you never know when you will meet a potential partner, so you better look your best.” (Please judge me people.) Today wasn’t an exception. I immediately took down my hair because I didn’t want to not look my best. I wanted to make sure that people thought I never looked bad or whatever.

The truth is, we don’t have to be on all the time. We don’t have to compromise to this standard of always being our best. Sometimes, we aren’t in a happy-go-lucky mood. Sometimes, you just really don’t want your hair down, or you don’t want to dress up.

Walk out of your house in sweatpants if you want. Have a messy hair day. Be happy without forcing a smile. Regardless of what others tell you, it is okay to not be your best at every hour of every day. Honestly, that is tiring. Show who you really are behind all of the makeup and fake smiles, and do not be ashamed of that person.

Cover Image Credit: Demi Agresta

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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11 Things You NEVER Say To A College Girl Trying To Get Into Shape

Just never talk about a person's weight.

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When my family and friends joked that I was going to gain 15 pounds in my freshman year of college as a result of the "Freshman 15," I thought it was what it was supposed to be: a joke. However, as the year has come to an end, I realized that I actually did put on a couple of pounds, albeit it wasn't the predicted 15.

As I told those that I wanted to get into an ideal shape for my body, I was met with some insensitive and ignorant remarks. Everyone thought that I mean just losing the weight I had put on.

1. "You walk to all of your classes, why aren't you losing weight that way?"

My legs are more toned than they ever have been before. However, most of the weight I have been gaining has gone directly to my gut (annoying!) and walking does not remedy that. Unfortunately, I have to stick to ab workouts.

2. "But you look fine to me!"

I don't feel healthy to myself. I'm not trying to stay in shape for anyone else, just myself, thanks. I appreciate you trying to make me feel better about my body image but I know something has to be done.

3. "I didn't gain any weight in college."

Good for you. I did. I'm trying to do something about it.

4. "Just stop drinking."

I don't drink. Really, the only liquid I consume is water or iced tea. I don't like soda and alcohol makes me nauseous way too easily.

5. "Isn't the gym free on campus for students?"

Yes, but some people don't like working out in front of others. I am one of those people. My friend lives in an apartment complex that has their own gym and almost no one is ever there but not everyone has that luxury. Also, some are busy and do not have time for a quick jog or to stretch.

6. "You should try this diet/pills/exercise routine."

I am thankful that you are trying to help but my diet is just eating healthy and having a few cheat days in between. I know what exercises work best for me and I am just not taking pills. Bodies adjust differently.

7. "Don't starve/force yourself to throw up."

Trust me, I know. I'm trying to lose the weight healthily. If you do find yourself practicing unhealthy eating habits or realizing your body image is deteriorating, the NEDA Hotline is (800) 931-2237. Please reach out if you are going through hardships.

8. "Won't you have to buy a whole new wardrobe?"

If I drop (or even add) a size or two. We grow out and grow tired of clothes on the regular, what's the difference if you have to buy some because of a weight change? Plus, who doesn't love buying new clothes?

9. "Just eat healthier."

Didn't think of it! Options are limited at college where the dining halls don't offer all that much that is actually good for your body. Now that I'm at home, it's easier. But I'm already trying to eat healthy.

10. "You've evened out since the last time I saw you!"

This is code for you've put on some weight. I hear it mostly from older relatives because my friends will flat out tell me if I've gotten a little chunky.

11. "You're just stressed."

Personally, this one gets me livid. I do admit that when I am stressed or anxious, I do turn to food for comfort but when I am delighted and genuinely happy, will my body magically revert into a fit state?

Sadly, no.

Honestly, I am just trying to get my body back into shape. For me, that means cutting back on greasy foods and kicking a bad habit of sitting on my butt all day. For others, it could mean more or less. As long as your body is in good physical condition and you are content, the number on the scale and others' thoughts shouldn't matter. Take care of yourself.

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