I am other, I am different, I do not belong...
Today, as I sit here at 6 O'clock in the morning on my 22nd birthday, I have realized something. I have gone my whole entire life not knowing who I am or what really makes me happy.
I have lived my entire life trying to be everyone else but myself. However, how can I be myself if I do not fully understand or comprehend who I really am?
The reasons that I feel this way? It could have been society, the media, my parents, my upbringing, my environment, or just my own insecurities. All of which may have caused this deep-seated sense of inadequacy.
Being alive is tough; merely living and thriving can be difficult. I sum up my life right now as merely existing. I am just a mass that is barely surviving on this Earth.
I am like a puppet with my strings being controlled by someone else. As each day passes, as I get older, and as I realize that my childhood is further in the distance; I realize it is time for me to be a productive member of society.
With this realization my hope and my happiness fade even more.
Society, something that I have been struggling with for a very long time. For so long, growing up I felt like I did not fit in with this 'society.
Wondering, when will it be my turn to be happy? Trying to fit in with what society told me I was supposed to be, what I was supposed to look like and how I was supposed to think.
A society that told me I needed to be thinner, prettier, lighter, and that my outward appearance is what defined me as a person. I struggled with my sexuality, my race, my skin color and the way I talked.
Being a dark-skinned, black girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I grew up feeling ugly and different. That my skin was too dark, my lips were too full, my thighs were too thick and my hair was too nappy.
I did everything to change myself.
I grew up feeling like: I did not matter, I was inadequate and I was insignificant.
In the years since I became a legal adult at age 18, I have tried to embrace my abnormality. I have learned to embrace my uniqueness, the things that made me different, and my weirdness.
I wanted to be apart of a sub-culture
I was beginning to reject everything that I thought was associated with mainstream society.
I wanted to fit in and feel apart of so much, that I was assimilating into what the sub-culture told me to be, thus it was no different than the way I felt growing up.
I wanted to be anything but myself. Even as recent as yesterday, I did not want to be me.
I never learned how to be me.
I was so used to everyone telling me what to do and who to be. Until I graduated high school, I was told when to wake up, when I could use the bathroom, when I could eat lunch, and when I could be excused.
Then I graduate High School and I am expected to know who I am going to be for the rest of my life.
I was thrust into a world where it was time for me to make my own decisions; this world in which I could barely survive.
Trying to decide the destiny of my life in four years, took its toll on me. I was more confused and unhappy than I had ever been.
Being pulled in all different directions. Living a somewhat monotonous and mundane life.
I still do not know who I am.
What I have realized since I turned 18 is that I feel the need to be defined. Not for anyone else's convenience, but for my own sanity.
I need to know who I am. I know what I stand for, I know what I am passionate about, and I understand the labels that I put on myself, but I still do not know that deeper sense of self.
I do not want to be defined because deep down I know am undefinable. Yet I am still searching for the definition of what it means to be me.
So, as I sit here on my birthday looking in the dictionary for the definition of what it means to be me; I do not find my name.
Here I am at the ripe old age of 22 years old. The weird age where my adult life is supposed to be starting and my adolescence is fading.
I am moving away from the age category where it is still acceptable to not have my life figured out.
I sit here at a stagnate point in my life: Living at home with my mom, no longer enrolled in school, massive amounts of debt piling up behind me, with no degree.
All while working a part-time minimum wage job in the service industry. Here I sit with one important question looming over my existence:
Who am I ?
I still do not have the answer. However, I am learning, that I can just be and that is enough.
I will still struggle everyday trying to figure out who I am, but it will not ruin me.
These struggles and hardships will lead me to true happiness because without triumph there can be no victory.
Today, I stand looking in the mirror back at myself continuing to struggle with my identity, my happiness and my meaning; I am 22 years old today and it is the day that I stop simply existing and start living.
Dr. Seuss said it best, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You