2017 is YOURS.

Okay everyone, grab your coffee, wine, or whatever drink will get you through this article. It’s going to be a long one, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. But sometimes there are just so many thoughts in my head I think it would be rude to not share them with all of you. I know a good portion of you won’t really care at all what I have to say, but I know my mom reads all these so I like to think it matters at least a little bit.

Let’s lay out the basics of who I am as a person to start out with:

  • 22 year old college student way too close to graduation and the “real world”
  • strong-minded, opinionated, and probably too stubborn
  • a person who is over superficial, petty, catty life things – this is a big one. I’m way too old to care that your best friend in second grade ate your last cookie or ruined your pretty pink dress. Come on guys, there’s a lot more important things going on around here.
  • Lastly (this one may come as a shock to some of you), I am purely human.

 

The last bit may seem a little obvious, but I think it is worth spending some time on. Now, let’s not be ignorant and say that being human is something everyone truly understands. I am fully aware that my gender, age, sexuality, environment, upbringing, and literally every single factor in my life makes up for who I am as a person. So this is where I warn you: If you don’t want to hear about what a female/22/heterosexual/first-world country citizen/upper middle class person has to say about life, feel free to click out of this now and go back to binge-watching a show you’ve already seen three times on Netflix. I promise I won’t be upset. I will not apologize for who I am, but I am also not blind to my privilege – I realize I am in a great position in this life so for the love of God do not tell me my thoughts aren’t valid because I don’t know “the struggle.”

I’ll probably give another disclaimer: my opinions may not be important to you, but they are relevant (and for my own sanity I really must write them all out and send them into the world). In no way do I think I speak for anyone else in this life, but at our core we are all human, regardless of our own personal shit we have going on. (Basically I’m just saying all 7 billion people on this planet are of the same biological species).

Okay weird rant-y/disclaimer/ introduction over with. I’ll get on with it now.

It would be incredibly dumb for me to filter myself in any way because I’m genuinely so excited about the ridiculous stuff that goes on in my mind. If you know me in real life then you know that whatever I type is pretty spot-on for how I speak in conversation. Basically, I’m a huge proponent of being yourself without any apologies and living your life as authentically as possible because quite frankly, anything less than that would be a humongous waste of time and energy.

With that being said, I want to challenge everyone reading this to take a look at their lives and think about a time where you either held back from talking about something you believed in  or tailored it in a way that was different from your original, authentic thought. I realize sometimes we change our language and tone based on who we’re talking to -it really probably isn’t a good idea to tell your boss about the 4 tequila shots you took last Friday and how you stayed in bed all weekend recovering. While that is authentic and real, it doesn’t further great conversation or even make you a front-runner for that promotion. This is more about being authentic with your passions and things that give your life meaning.

Let’s take a little example from my lovely life. *I am not bashing ex-boyfriends without good reason so calm down*

Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always been under the assumption that in no way is it okay for a man to put his hands on a woman. When I was 15 a different idiot boyfriend felt the need to grab me by the neck, in front of my mom, for some reason he felt was necessary. Ever since then I’ve been pretty set in my ways about the whole “boys don’t hit/touch girls” thing. Fast forward to my current 22 year old self and my thoughts on the subject haven’t changed.

I’m sure you could guess my reaction to the upcoming story. One night while at a different boyfriend’s house (I don’t get around guys, I’m a serial monogamist with obvious bad taste) I heard a fight going on in the parking lot. I’m naturally a nosey person so I stood by the patio door and watched the events unfold. This poor 120 pound girl literally just wanted to tell her boyfriend about a problem she was having with her dad. The guy clearly wanted to get the hell out of there so he shoved his girlfriend out of his way a few times. That was enough to get my blood boiling but I stood there for a few more seconds to see what would happen. Long story short, the boyfriend picked up his girlfriend, turned around and forcibly threw her down in the bushes. uh HELL NO. As you can tell, that didn’t really fly with my so I immediately left the apartment to ask if the girl was alright.

So we’ll get to the part that really matters: my boyfriend later went on to say that it was the girl’s fault that anything even happened and he would hit a girl if he was in the same situation. He then went on to question why I involved myself. (Side note: I firmly believe the bystander theory is absolute shit. If something is happening you can guarantee I’ll step in, that’s just who I am.) I laid next to him, a bit dumbfounded and quite frankly a little bit scared that this person would put his hands on me or any woman if he was or felt attacked. Moral of the story: I just sat there and didn’t stand up for what I believed in, apart from saying “You’re an idiot.”

Physical and mental violence or abuse is something I am incredibly passionate about. This was an opportunity to be relentless with my feelings and tell that stupid guy off. However, for whatever reason, I pretty much kept my mouth shut. And for what….? This is exactly the kind of thing I hate about some people, and quite honestly why I hated that aspect of my relationship. The second you have to suppress your own thoughts to appease another person and hold back what you fervently believe in, that’s a problem. I’m not saying you should choose to argue with everyone you encounter for argument’s sake, but if you really believe in something there should be no harm in expressing that.

A huge problem I think we have in our society is our unwillingness to say what we believe for the sake of a bruised ego. We don’t want to offend people with our beliefs. I’m as sensitive as the next person, but being offended is a part of life. Nothing happens when you get offended. The world doesn’t stop, you don’t cease to exist; your feelings are hurt but you can go on with your life. I promise. I was offended when a younger boy mooed at me in the hallways of school when I was 10 but I didn’t spend a week crying about it. The beautiful thing about our existence is that we all perceive every aspect of life differently. THAT’S OKAY!!!! How incredibly dull would life be if there was only one shade of blue? Or if everyone thought there was only one kind of G/god? Difference is good and we need to be able to speak freely about the things we truly believe.

Today I challenge you to be as authentic as you can be. Wear the black lipstick your mom hates. Don’t “watch your mouth” because your friend doesn’t like hearing the word fuck. Call your parents and tell them you hate your degree and don’t want to go to law school anymore. (trust me, this one is terrifying but there’s so much freedom in honesty). Break up with your boyfriend if you can’t feel comfortable and supported in your own skin. Embrace your individuality and revel in the fact that you’re unique and complex. Take a chance and do or say something you normally wouldn’t because you’re afraid of upsetting the status quo. From personal experience, the second you forget about life’s “rules” and society’s “expectations” you’ll feel relieved and probably a little bit terrified. That’s okay too!! Use that energy to push yourself out of your comfort zone and live your life for the person you are or want to become. As soon as you learn to love and respect your individuality, the sun shines a little brighter and you smile a little bit bigger. There’s so much beauty in who and what you are, all you need to do is take a moment and be grateful for it.