Throughout my life I thought I knew who I was and who I wanted to be. But I realized all my self-expectations were dictated by who I thought others wanted me to be. Now, I am relearning to be human by searching for myself.
I am a straight middle-class white latino woman in a latin country. I have supportive, loving parents who have given me the opportunity to take chances others haven’t had. I have been able to travel both domestic and internationally, getting to see the beach, the mountains, other cultures, other loves. By most of my friends and family’s standards, I am successful. Yet at the end of the day, I would find myself crying, depressed, lonely, because no matter what I did, I never felt I was good enough.
Good enough for what? For who?
Most of my life, the answer to that question was good enough for everyone else, so that I would be loved. I was wrong.
How frustrating and ironic that I had the right answer all along, and I didn’t see it for most of my life. I was too busy binge eating and binge dieting to look a certain way, studying and working to be successful in the only way I knew how, keeping my opinions hushed, because if was a good girl who never caused trouble, I would be loved.
And I was loved. I still am. Even when I fail at looking a certain way, fail at being as successful as I feel I should be, and even if I succeed at making more mistakes than I would like to accept.
Then, after reading many books, seeing many TED talks, listening to others, asking myself many questions, and making even more mistakes, I realized I had also fallen in to the trap that so many of us fall into. While I was looking to be good enough for everyone else, I forgot to be good enough for me.
I realized that I needed to stop punishing myself with food for not being what I thought was expected of me and start feeding myself with love. To stop flogging myself for my mistakes and, instead, to start learning from them. To stop waiting for every single person I encounter to like me and start loving others despite their feelings towards me. To stop taking everything at face value and start asking questions, thinking critically of the answers I get or come up with. To start putting me first, so that I can show up for others. Not with the objective of becoming worthy because I am loved, but to be able to love everyone better, because I am worthy just by the nature of being human. To start loving myself, just because I am worthy.
So, here I am, a woman learning to be fully human, instead of the ghost of perfection; a woman rediscovering the world, instead of accepting what others say it should be; a woman searching the depths of her own soul, through fiction, through essays, to get to the answers that feel right to me.
Does it matter what my day job is? Does it matter how much I earn?
Not here. Not outside in the “real” world, either. What matters is what that I am a woman in progress, a woman who can and will make mistakes in the journey of life, but that despite the boulders and blocks she encounters, I am a woman who tries.