For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with my own self-acceptance, self-image, and mental health. Between hating myself for years before accepting the fact that I'm bisexual, hating my body and appearance, and being diagnosed with both depression and an anxiety disorder, my life has not ever really known the peace and joy that I've outwardly expressed.
Even in the recent years, having devoted myself to fun and happiness and to spreading love as deeply and widely as I can among everyone in my life, I have struggled deeper than I have been willing to express.
I spent most of my childhood having uncontrollable meltdowns, lasting up through middle school. I had no control of my own emotions, a deep fear of authority figures and being reprimanded, and would get so frustrated at my own outbursts that I would be unable to calm down from them.
Some of the worst examples of my volatility as a child happened in first and fifth grades, as well as all of middle school. In first grade, I threw a desk across a room at my teacher because of her scolding me while I was bawling my eyes out.
In fifth grade, I was suspended from school twice for crying too often because I was "being a distraction to other students", and was referred to a child psychiatrist who diagnosed me with ADHD and unspecified anger issues, because of a particular outburst where I screamed out "I don't know what's wrong with me!!" made my teacher concerned for me.
In middle school, all of my parents' hopes of me "growing out of it" were squashed because I pretty much immediately began to be bullied for being the new kid and the weird kid, having moved halfway across the country and starting sixth grade in a K-12 school where everyone else had already known each other for six years by the time I enrolled.
Eventually, after years of torment, emotional outbursts, and feeling like I was "other", the summer after 8th grade something inside me changed, and I went from too emotional to un-emotional.
I forgot how to express my emotions, I stopped crying over every moment of sadness and frustration, and I never opened up about how I felt to anyone. Around this same time, my mental illnesses really came to the forefront of my brain and life as well.
To combat my inability to release my emotions, and my overwhelming feelings of numbness and fear from my depression and anxiety, I turned to self-harm, a struggle I still face today.
For years my only outlet was through hurting myself, and my anxiety was exacerbated by the fact that I had to constantly keep parts of myself hidden from public view because of fear of my parents and my peers finding out and not knowing how to handle the situation.
All of high school was this dangerous game of how much I could afford to SH without it becoming obvious to those around me that I had, and I had to learn how to lie well whenever I would get caught.
Along with my mental health declining, so too did my motivation and my grades. The further I got through school, the worse I performed in classes, even failing calculus my senior year simply because I was too de-motivated to apply myself to the work.
I scored a 33 on the ACT but graduated high school with a measly 2.9 GPA because of my inability to actually apply myself. This struggle has not changed now that I'm in college if anything it's gotten worse and I'm even more deeply underperforming.
As my life has fallen apart around me over the years, as I've struggled with my mental health, as I've hated the person I was, I have often made wishes to be someone else. Some of these wishes I realize now were foolish, such as me wishing to be straight before I came to terms with my sexuality. But other wishes I still carry to this day.
For example, I wish I was able to apply myself in school to the point that all my teachers over the years have known I could. Not only would I save a lot of money by still qualifying for scholarships I've lost, but I would also have something to be proud of because I would have grades that are worth sharing, rather than being 21 and still hiding them from my parents.
I wish I could be happy and healthy. I wish I didn't struggle almost daily with depressive episodes so deep they suck all the colors out of life. I wish I didn't have moments or entire days wherein I am so anxious that I cannot breathe or focus or even move because it wholly debilitates me when it strikes. I wish I was able to have an attention span longer than a few seconds or a few minutes at a time.
I wish I was confident in my appearance. I take pride in my clothing choices and I like my hair, but I wish it didn't constantly want to change aspects of how I look. I wish I was able to inwardly feel the level of full-of-myself that I outwardly project because life would be so much easier. I wish I didn't have so many nasty scars.
I wish I was a better person. I wish I didn't have so many choices that I regret in my past, I wish I hadn't wronged people the way I have, even if I've learned from those experiences. I wish I was able to still have some ex-friends in my life. I wish I could have gained the knowledge of my own flaws without hurting people to do it.
Overall, I just wish things were different for me.
But that's okay because I am actively taking steps to become that person. I have finally reached out to not only friends but also professionals about my mental health, I begin sessions with a therapist very soon and I am starting the journey of finding the right medication to help me out as best as possible.
I have devoted so much of my life now to spreading joy and love as often as possible to try and make people's lives better instead of being a burden on them. I have taken steps towards focusing better on my studies and in my daily life. I am reflecting and growing every day to try to become a stronger, healthier, kinder, and more productive member of society, to make sure I put more into my life and into the world than I ever used to take from it.
So while I may still wish to be a different person, and while I know I won't ever just wake up and have it all come true, I do know that if I continue on my current path and I work hard enough, the person I wish I was will eventually just be who I am. That alone brings me peace and motivates me to keep trying even when life gets dark. To the person I wish I was, I cannot wait to meet you.