Growing up, I was always striving to be perfect. On the outside, I looked like I had it all together. In high school, I was captain of the cheerleading team, ASB Speaker of the House, on homecoming court, part of several clubs, had a great family, and drove a red convertible Porsche. Yup, my life was pretty great. But really, it was only great on paper. I struggled a lot trying to meet that expectation of perfection. On the outside I may have looked like I had it all together, but on the inside I was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.
If you were to look at me back then, you would’ve never known that I was battling these serious thoughts. I acted just like everyone else, and I tried hard to be this person everyone expected me to be. I had extensions in my hair, fake eyelashes on my eyes, wearing clothes that were “in”, listening to music that was popular, and saying things I knew others would find funny. But I always felt like I was living a double life. Because in reality, I was nowhere near that girl I was pretending to be. On the inside, I was really struggling. And the craziest part is that no one even knew.
Whenever someone would ask how I was doing, I would say “good” and pretend everything was okay. But at that time, I was really debating whether ending my own life would be a better option. I never told anyone what I was going through because I knew there were so many people who had it worse than I did. I mean I was driving a Porsche as a teenager; I had no right to complain about anything. So I decided my problems weren’t as bad, and the suicide thoughts weren’t worth mentioning.
But now I look back and think, “What if the struggles got so bad that I went through with it?” My problems would seem pretty big to everyone if it came to that point. So as time went on, I realized that my struggles were just as important as anyone else’s.
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we all have something we are going through; we all have our own battles in life. But instead of hiding our problems from one another, pretending that we have this perfect life; maybe we should be honest and open. Why struggle alone when there are people around us who may be struggling with the same thing?
It took a long time for me to accept the person that I am and accept the battles that I still face today. But with the support of my husband, family, and friends, I was able to admit my faults and accept that I am not that perfect person that society wants me to be. I am a woman who is most comfortable in t-shirts, wearing minimal makeup, with my hair up in a bun while driving my Hyundai. I am a woman who still struggles with depression and being overwhelmed by doing too much in life. Today, there are still days where I just don’t want to get out of bed, and honestly sometimes I don’t. I am a woman who has days of just crying about everything…seriously everything. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I will let people down. But that’s okay, because I’ve learned to accept that this is who I am and I’m not perfect; none of us will ever be. I think we’re all just walking together through this battle we call life.