Self-conscious is not a term I have ever used to describe myself.
Remember that kid in elementary school who would chime in on every conversation? That was me. The one who would raise their hand for every question even if they didn’t really know the answer? Guilty as charged. If you’ve ever seen some girl singing loudly on her bike between the Westbrook Music Building and the Nebraska Union, that was probably me too.
I like to think of myself as someone with a strong sense of who she is, someone who takes a hold of life and doesn’t let go.
Not surprisingly, that’s not the whole story.
It’s a scary thing to realize you aren’t the person you present to the world. Sure, the parts I present are certainly me, but they’re not the whole truth. The truth is more complicated. The truth involves sometimes feeling like I’m not at all the person I want to be and I’ll never be satisfied with who I am.
I don’t like thinking about that part of me.
I use the good parts of myself to hide the not-so-good ones. When I’m sad, I smile like I’m having the best day of my life. When I’m nervous, I act carefree and unconcerned with everything happening around me. When I’m scared, I exude confidence in the hope no one will notice.
This behavior isn’t unique to me. I’m sure everyone at times uses the things they like about themselves to hide those they don’t. What I’m starting to realize, though, is that a person without without flaws isn’t a person at all.
We are all just combinations of our different parts, both good and bad. I’m an upbeat, confident person who loves to sing and write. I’m also someone who struggles to feel like I belong at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with so many talented, wonderful people around me every day. Neither of these qualities are me, at least not entirely. They’re just parts of me, whether I like them or not.
Lately, when I find myself feeling down, I don’t pretend things are fine, because they’re not. I tell a friend how I feel or I take a break and listen to some music. Regardless, I’m finding a way to be okay with the fact that I’m not perfect.
If you’re having a great day, that’s awesome. If you want to sing, go out with friends and take over the world, do it.
But if you’re not having the best day, that’s okay too.
We are more than the sum of our greatest fears or proudest accomplishments. We’re all looking to find ourselves and there’s no need to make it harder than it has to be.
No matter what you’re feeling today, remember, there’s always more to you than you let on.
With love and encouragement,