Photos: Taylor Love Studios
Every day I feel like I'm learning a little bit more about myself.
What makes me tick.
What I can improve.
What I'm good at (volleyball, apparently).
What I'm bad at (also volleyball, sometimes).
What I like and don't like.
How I feel about certain topics.
How my actions, opinions, and feelings affect others.
How I am affected by the actions and feelings of others.
Why I act in a certain way, or say certain things.
Why I have certain feelings.
Why I think the way I do.
And each day as I reflect back, the answer is so clear:
I'm not perfect.
In fact, it's more than that.
I'm not above anyone else.
I don't have golden standards.
I make mistakes.
And you know what?
All of that is OK.
How do I learn if I don't make mistakes?
Trust me, I make a lot of them.
Each. and. every. day.
What I work so hard to do is move on from those mistakes.
They are in the past.
I can't change them.
But I can learn from them and move forward.
Each day is a new day, why stew on them and lament the past?
I don't do that.
Not anymore, anyways.
But what I don't need?
I don't need to be reminded of those mistakes.
I don't need to be reminded of the past...
and the bad decisions I made.
Everything happens for a reason.
And everything I have done has brought me to where I am today.
And I am so proud of the person I am today.
I like me.
I like the changes I've made.
And as I said before, I'm always figuring out what to do better next time.
Yesterday I got called out for being "me."
In front of friends.
And then more privately, as I tried to go directly to the source.
I was reminded by this person of all that I've done wrong.
And like a ton of bricks, it dropped me.
Literally. To the ground.
If I am able to move forward, change by life, and try to be a better person,
why can't others just let it go?
I get it.
I messed up.
But that was over a year ago.
I have risen up from that old self.
I am NOT the same person.
And as I have said before, I am NOT perfect.
As I found myself broken and hurting yesterday,
I was reminded by my best friend that I don't need to be affected by this.
Every person is entitled to their own opinions.
They can think whatever they want.
For instance, if I don't want to love the book 50 Shades of Grey, I don't have to.
But my sister? She loved it. And that's totally fine.
In fact, I think that probably 50% of the female population is all about that book right now. And if that's what you like—then read it! It's OK!
If one of my closest, favorite, most awesome family members does not think I'm a good person,
that's OK, too.
And I need to learn and teach myself that I do not need to be hurt by their feelings.
As one of my friends pointed out yesterday, would life not be so boring if we all had the same opinions?
Is it weird to think about the whole
"sticks and stones may break my bones
but words can never hurt me" mantra?
For me, words can be hurtful...
but they don't need to be.
It takes a lot of strength to bear words that feel like swords,
slashing and breaking you down.
And while I don't have all of that strength quite yet,
I'm still learning, right?
So as I move forward,
still finding out more about myself each day,
I just need to remember to give thanks.
I expect to be doing a lot more learning every day... for the rest of my life.
And as often as I claim to be the girl of "not's,"
my greatest "not" of all is that I am NOT perfect.
Nor will I ever be, no matter how hard I try.
So instead, I'll just be me.
If you're with me, then praise you,
because sometimes, you'll have to deal with my garbage, my emotions, and my mistakes.
But it means more to me than you will ever know.
And to that best friend, the one who is always there and supportive, thank you...
Daniel, I don't know what I'd do without you.
So tell me—what are YOU learning about yourself? What's one of your 50 shades?