learning to let go

I want to talk a little bit about something today thats become quite relevant to me since social media has taken off. I know I’m not alone in this, I’ve seen so many speak out on it before, but I want to say my piece, and explain how it’s affected me personally.

Instagram, in my opinion is brilliant. It’s the only form of social media that I enjoy using. At the same time though, it makes me quite disappointed in myself.

Every day I get on, I see beautiful photos, whether it’s people or places that they’ve visited. As I sit in bed, or at work, or wherever I may be, it’s frustrating. I know everyone says “don’t compare yourself.” But in all honesty who doesn’t? If you don’t, well props to you.

I’ve never been happy with the way I look. There’s always something I find to criticize about myself. My cheeks are too big, my eyes too small, my legs too short, or the cellulite on my thighs. Whatever it may be I tear myself apart because of it. Then as I browse my feed it’s filled with people I find breathtaking, and I start to compare. “Why can’t I look more like her?” “If only my jawline was that defined.” “I wish my lips were that full.” The list goes on. No matter how many times I’ve heard, “you’re beautiful” it’s never mattered, because I can’t find the beauty in myself. At the age of about 14 is when it really started to affect me. My self-hatred formed an eating disorder and something called Body Dysmorphia, which I later learned I suffered from in therapy. I’ve gone to the extremes to look up plastic surgeries, diets, and other options on “how to be more beautiful.”

I’ve forgotten all the compliments I’ve ever received, but the insults I have never. For instance, in third grade, at Skate-Rattle & Roll, in the snack room my crush had his bestfriend come up to my and say I had chipmunk cheeks. That was about 13 years ago yet I still remember the moment clear as day. It’s suck with me through all these years, now I know he didn’t mean for it, but here I am 21 years old still hating my cheeks. I don’t believe I have the same beauty standards as most of society, but still I compare myself to so many others and it makes loving myself that much harder.

They say “you’re your own worst enemy/critic.” And man, do I believe it. My mother has always been hard on me, but it’s for other reasons, to reach my full potential and live the best life I can. While I judge myself on not reaching my goals and dreams fast enough. I follow hundreds of amazing photographers on Instagram, who live out my dreams and capture these moments beautifully. It inspires me to push harder, but at the same time it’s so off putting. I fell into photography. I’ve been passionate about it since I was young. The moment I picked up my first camera, it felt like home in my hands, that the world I wanted was mine to make. I take the photos I do for myself, yet I still find the need for validation from others, that they enjoy my work as well, sadly.

“How are they able to travel to all over all the time?” “If I had a better camera, I could shoot the images I picture in my head the way I want.” “Do I just suck?” “I’m not good, I should just give up.” “If I could just travel to these magnificent places, I’d be happier with my work.” These thoughts constantly race through my mind. I don’t want to use the lack of resources such as money or equipment as my excuse, like so many others do, so in return I often just blame my lack of skill and effort. I want more than anything to be happy with myself and proud of the work I do. But again, I make excuses and sit at home envious of these people. It’s one of my worst traits, I’d say.

I know nothing in life worth a damn is easy or free. Trust me I’ve been through the wringer to get where I am even now. I guess I just want more for myself, to be more, to do more. I want to live an extraordinary life, full of unforgettable moments, without regrets. Yet here I am living a life that’s quite ordinary. I know no one can do it for me, besides myself, but I lack the patience…I want it all now.

I have a lot of learning and growing to do. I’m hoping by being honest with myself, I can learn to love and be proud of who I am. To take a moment and let things happen rather than scrambling about. I know if I want it bad enough I will make it happen, but there are more moments where I feel hopeless than when I feel that it’s possible.

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