I Believe in You
“Chelsea, I believe in you.”
There was silence before this statement and there was silence afterwards as I tried to hide the tears running down my face. The words had been said before throughout my life, but they never made an impact. It was always something I shrugged off because I believed it was a phrase that was the right thing to say at the time. But this time things were different. There was no reason for these words other than the fact that they were on this person’s mind. This time, the words felt like they engraved themselves into my skin, into my heart, and into my mind. I believe in the words because I believe in the person. I believe in the relationship we had.
My entire life I molded myself into exactly what society wanted from me. I became annoyingly aware of the way people behaved in public, in private, with friends, alone, or with family. I was attune to social cues, yet so far off base at the same time. Each time someone complained about the way someone acted, I took an engraved mental note to make sure that I wasn’t that person. I became an introvert, a people watcher, and someone who stood in the back of crowds to avoid being an annoyance. I always felt like I was intruding on things, even if outwardly asked to join in a place that maybe I wasn’t initially invited to. I felt like my presence was unwanted more often than not. I make sure I don’t chew obnoxiously at the dinner table and will go out of my way to eat carrots in the quietest way possible. I’m always cautious of the volume of my voice, so more often than not I speak too softly for those to hear me. I tried very rarely to speak about myself because I feared that no one would care, so I put everyone in front of myself. I believed that everyone else had stories and issues more important than my own.
All of these things I can imagine caused me to be a very minimal disturbance. I was always lost in the crowd because I never wanted to interrupt a conversation to speak my mind. I felt like what I had to say wasn’t important enough or would be a waste of time so it was easier to just not speak. It was more polite to just let others talk around me. Plus, it gave me more time to observe those around me for more ideas on how to formulate myself.
Of course, society influences all of us. We are all shaped to some degree on things we should and shouldn’t do. We are taught how we should act in different situations and when people do it poorly, it’s often criticized. But I feared failure. I never wanted to lose people around me because I was annoying or I didn’t understand a social cue. I feared failing in a society that I had looked to as a role model of who I should be. I never grew up with a distinct role model, at least one that wasn’t a celebrity. It took me years to learn my own likes and dislikes about simple things, such as, music and clothing because I wanted to be just like everyone else. I was trying to build the perfect person or what I saw as the perfect person. I wanted to be the perfect daughter, the perfect sister, and the perfect friend. It helped, of course, when my older sisters would do poorly in school or throw house parties. I was able to learn from their mistakes, like many younger siblings do. But I found too much pride in overtaking my siblings grades and tried to be the angel daughter my mother thought she raised.
But when things started going down hill to a point where I couldn’t control it anymore, I felt like I not only failed myself, but I failed my mother. Suddenly, her perfect daughter was far from perfect. I went from being a daughter who told her mother everything to absolutely nothing. From a daughter who “never” drank to someone who placed herself in the hospital for drinking too much. Suddenly, I wasn’t going to be the perfect child that went to university and graduated in four years, which would have been progress because one sister hadn’t gone to university and the other sister took six years to complete university.
Within one week, I had become a person who realized they had absolutely no idea who they were. The ideals had shattered themselves and I was left to figure out what I believed in and what I really needed. I needed to start from scratch.
I am still influenced by societies pressure. I struggle daily with the idea of trying to reach the perfect person, striving towards something I may not reach, and trying to maintain myself higher than the average person my age. I struggle to find balance in letting go and keeping composure. The difference now is I wake up each day and try to think positively about what’s to come.
I’m not perfect and I am happy with that. I know I’m a great friend and I’m a good person. I can recognize my strengths and weaknesses. I know I have something to offer to others and I’m excited to see what my future holds. I believe in who I am as a person and where my life is taking me.
I just needed to realize that I couldn’t do it alone. I needed the help from people around me.
I’m putting my puzzle pieces back together differently this time. It’s the same picture, but the ideals are different, stronger, and happier.
I’m not a victim to my struggles. Without them, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today. I believe everything happens for a reason.
I believe in me. I believe in beginning again. I believe in change.
I believe in you.