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True to Yourself

Elisabeth Rockhill

I was always one who cared so much about what people thought about me. The point of my life where I distinctly remember starting to put all of my focus into how people perceived me was in middle school, for I just wanted to be liked and thought of as normal around my peers. Middle school is an incredibly rough time for everyone: you’re just beginning your teenage years accompanied with crazy fluctuating hormones. It can for sure be overwhelming, and that was definitely the case for me. I had myself convinced that if I did not act and follow what everyone else was doing, I would be labeled as an outcast and no one would want to be my friend or talk to me. I dressed how all the other girls dressed, in girly shorts and shirts, when I really just wanted to wear Nike shirts and shorts everydayI talked about the same things they talked about: it was mostly only ever about boys or the new earrings they got. All that mattered was that I was accepted.  

Moving onto high school, I still acted in ways that were not true to myself, but would make me fit in. I felt like I was pretty well liked in high school, and did not want to do anything to ruin that. I distinctly remember one time I was lifting weights with my high school soccer team, and a lot of girls on my team were talking about how girls should not lift heavy weights because it will make them look to manly. I immediately put down the weights I had and chose a lighter option out of fear of being judged. I was so concerned about what others said that I was not developing in the person that I wanted to become.  

I really feel as though I had not begun to act as my true self until about a year ago right around this time. During quarantine at the beginning of the pandemic, I had a lot of time to do some self-reflecting and question who I really am when no one else is around. It was not easy, but I came to the realization that the time we have here is too short to not live a life true to who you are. Admitting this to myself, I put aside and fears I previously had about what people might think of me. I started to dress the way that I wanted to dress, and I began to do things such as lift heavy weights because that is what made me happy and feel good about myself. I even became closer to my current friends by doing this, the complete opposite of what I had convinced myself would happen. I am still constantly working on myself everyday and are not nearly where I want to be, but I for sure am so much farther ahead of where I thought I would be at this point in middle school.  

Elisabeth Rockhill