So, here’s the thing. You will never truly know just how much stuff you have until you are required to put it all in boxes and bags and move it somewhere. That’s the most truthful thing I can say right now. Moving out of somewhere is the most eye-opening experience when it comes to realizing how many material things make up your daily experience.
I know this because, before coming to New York, I had to pack up everything in my apartment so that a friendly nursing student could sublease it for the summer. This also included cleaning out my closet, which was honestly the most time-consuming part.
So, with the help of my very sweet boyfriend, I cleared out my living space. He sat patiently on my floor with a trash bag and asked which things should be stored and waiting for my return, and which things could be thrown away for good.
(Thank goodness for him, honestly, because I probably would have opted to keep everything. Like, yes, I definitely need that clay bowl I made in first grade that’s full of dust, under my bed…where else is my under-the-bed dust going to go?)
Anyway, as we were finishing up, he held up two journals and asked whether they were to keep or throw away. I figured I would want to scribble down some documentation of my summer experience, so I had him add it to the things I would bring with me.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and I’m sitting in a comfy hotel bed in Chelsea ready to jot down some thoughts about love and lipstick. I plucked one of the journals from a duffle bag and thoughtlessly flipped it open while fishing for a pen out of my purse.
I thought the journal was empty, so I was surprised to find large, loopy handwriting (that most definitely belonged to me) sprawled out under a neatly printed date: “January 7, 2014”. Over a year ago.
So, I read it. Then, I read it again.
I was 19. Interning at a local news station in South Florida for the winter break. Casually texting a few boys while trying to get past a tough break-up. Figuring out that I could definitely rock a bold, dark lip but should stay really far away from any reddish-orangey coral shade.
I was funny. I was bold. I knew what I wanted. I knew that I needed to stop pretending to be shy in new situations because I’m simply not shy. I knew that I desperately needed to find the balance between being kind without being a doormat and being bold without being hard. I knew all of that.
Most of all, I knew what I was worth. I knew I was no longer going to tolerate anything less than that. Not in my friendships. Not with boys. Not with how I decided to walk, talk and dress on any given day.
She, the girl I was when I wrote all of that, was pretty dope.
You know those home videos you watch of yourself from when you were a toddler? The ones in which you’re solely wearing a diaper, your hair’s flying all over the place and there’s peanut butter smeared across your cheek? The ones where your eyes are round and unbothered? The ones where you’re completely indifferent to the fact that fitting in is a thing, and that judgment is scary?
The ones that remind you of a time when your only concerns were crawling onto a taller surface, and getting as many places as your little feet will carry you before you get scooped up for bath time.
The girl I was when I wrote all of that had the heart of that person. The one who’s completely indifferent to the fact that fitting in is a thing and that judgment is scary.
She and I were the same person a few weeks ago when I was struggling to figure out how to wear a pale pink shift dress. A simple necklace and flats would have been too simple. Not “me” at all.
So, I snatched the pink fur vest my mother had given me for Christmas off of its hanger and slipped my feet into heeled, cheetah-print booties. I teased my hair up a bit and was out the door. I didn’t care about the confused looks. That outfit is most definitely in my top five. It probably will be for a long time.
She and I shared a soul that day.
However, last night was different. I wanted to wear this pastel and lace dress with cutouts on the sides. My skin pooched out of the holes a little. There wasn’t a centimeter of loose space anymore. I didn’t have my hair extensions to hang down my back; I simply had my shoulder length hair that’s full and wild.
This was me. This hadn’t been me the last time I wore this dress.
What if my hair was too big and not long and flow-y enough? What if the lack of loose space in my dress made me look too fat? Too big? What if how I walked in my heels wasn’t right?
More importantly, where did she go?
Where did the girl from January 7, 2014 go?
The thing is, she isn’t some fictional character that lives in my journal. She is who I am. Without the pressure. Without the fear. Without the doubt. She is who I am in my purest form when no one’s watching and the music’s playing.
She is who I am when I pay attention to my soul and its magic.
So, here it is- you can be whatever you want. You can be whoever you want. No one can really stop you from telling yourself anything. No one can keep you from being who you want to be. Not really.
You get to pick, but before you do, I think you should try to remember that there’s magic in you. There’s a bunch of glitter that you just have because you exist. There’s a shine that you’ve been toting around since you were running around in a diaper with peanut butter on your face.
There’s a strength in your heart that builds up after you’re done crying. The one that you use to stand back up and try again. There’s a boldness about you that makes your skin warm when someone dares to tell you that you can’t (oh, please). There’s a fire in you that lets you send that application in because, in the very bottom of heart, you know you have a chance.
They hide sometimes, but you’ve got all that.
So, I just think that before you decide who you’re going to be…you should find them. Find them and sit with them for a while. Let them sink in. Let how bomb you are really sink in, and then decide.
You will never be perfect, so stop trying. You will never please everyone, so let that go. There will always be another woman who’s jealous/hates you/wants your boyfriend, so just pray for her. There will always be a man who will try to make you feel smaller, so learn to roll your eyes some more.
Life will never be without its flaws, but you shouldn’t lose your magic because of that. If you do that, then what’s the point of this whole thing?
Surely, you’re bigger than that. Right? Surely, you’ve got more soul and spunk.
Remember who you are when choosing who you will be. I am willing to bet all of my marbles that there’s some real good stuff there.