Yesterday it was seven years since I graduated high school. It feels like that was a lifetime ago—like it was a different me. So much can happen in seven short years and it has been a journey full of ups and downs.
They say the body replaces its cells every seven years. The thought that I am an entirely different person from the one who walked across that stage in 2013 makes me happy. I didn’t like who I was then.
As my body has replaced those cells over the years, I have replaced other parts of myself. I like to think that I have been pruning myself, cutting away the bad, unhealthy parts of myself to make room for new growth. It’s hard to look closely at yourself and pick up those shears. The process was painful and not without tears but a necessary step to becoming who I am today.
In order to change my view of myself, I had to rethink everything that I thought I was. All the lies that had been put in my head had to go. They would have no place in my new life. I ripped off the labels that people had stuck on me, tuned out the echoes of hurtful words and erased the distorted images of what I thought my body looked like.
No longer will I let others define what I think of myself.
I am not worthless.
I am not ugly.
I am not stupid.
Despite what I was told, I have worth. It comes from inside me and does not depend on what others think of me.
I am still sad for the girl I was. It took a long time for me to come this far—to go from crying myself to sleep almost every night to being grateful for the life that I have. I wish I could go back in time to comfort that girl and tell her she was beautiful. I would tell her that things would get better, that there is hope.
Since I can not go back and change my past, I hope to change other’s futures. I want to help others on their journeys to love themselves. It is my wish that the words I write will help people to know they are not alone.
For so long, I was so sure of my lack of value that I didn’t believe any positive comments. I thought people were just trying to be nice but that the words they said weren’t genuine.
There have been some amazing people in my life who have made me believe in myself. These people helped me weed out those negative thoughts and gave me the seeds for positive ones be planted firmly in their place. The dark corners of my mind have been replaced with beautiful gardens.
I had to do the hard work. In spite of that part of me that said those positive seeds weren’t real, I planted, watered and waited for them to grow.
Let’s spread the seeds of love and compassion. You never know what will grow when you give it the chance. The seeds you spread might just help someone start their garden.
As I used to doubt but now believe, healing comes with time. Your happiness is worth fighting for.