…When I’m actually an adult and not an emo teenager.
The amount of context needed for these posts is not to be underestimated. However, I’ll keep it short. You see, I was one of those ‘goody-two-shoes’ kids growing up. And by that, I mean to say that everything in my world was extremely back and white. I was a terrible person because I actually enjoyed Harry Potter. Dying your hair fancy colours is nothing but a cry for attention and that’s bad. Even wanting to hold hands with a boy is just weird and not appropriate. Blah blah blah.
And so I lived my life this way. As you might imagine, I’ve struggled with feeling guilty for most of my life over things that I did ten years ago. But that’s besides the point.
The older I get – and I know I’ve talked about it a lot before – the more I realize that there’s nothing good about trying to be perfect. You expect flawlessness from yourself, believe everyone else expects it too, and you’re setting yourself up for failure. Not only do you turn yourself into something that’s more Vulcan than human (because emotions lead to bad choices), you’re putting massive amounts of pressure on yourself. So you live your entire life filled with the stress of trying to keep up with a standard that’s impossible to attain, and you lose everything you are along the way.
After all, we’re human beings. We’re freaking messy.
And now we get to my point: why I’m trying to be edgy. Which, I know, sounds like a ridiculous thing to do. Lived my whole life trying to be perfect, so now I’m rebelling against the system and now I’m making an effort to go through all my difficult teenage years in my twenties.
That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about allowing myself to be messy. I can experiment, screw up, try different things – all without fear of failure. I don’t have to be perfect. Despite how competitive I am, I don’t always have to be the best at everything. I’m free to explore who I am and who I want to be, and if that sometimes ends more in mistakes than successes, then that’s okay. That’s how I learn and figure out life for myself. So what if I want to get a few tattoos and piercings? Watch TV shows where they swear a lot, and throw out a few bad words myself?
Maybe not everyone would agree with me, but life isn’t meant to be put into a box. People aren’t meant for that. We label ourselves as being ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ ‘girl’ or ‘boy,’ ‘religious’ or ‘nonreligious,’ ‘neurotypical’ or not. Pardon me for saying so, but it’s absolute BS.
I understand some people’s need for labels. They help them to feel acknowledged and understood by the population as a whole. And that’s great! If labels help you discover yourself, then awesome! By all means, go for it.
But for me, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of trying to be perfect, to be good, when those concepts don’t even exist in the first place. Why would I keep limiting myself and who I am to try to conform into the labels that have either been forced upon me, or I’ve forced upon myself?
In the end, I’m just me. Messy, screwed up, smart, cute, whatever-else, me. Just as you are you, not the labels you wear.
So here’s my challenge for you this next week: take a look at yourself. What labels are you using to identify yourself? Are these labels there to help you, or are they putting you in a box and restricting the freedom in your life? How can you start letting these labels go?