“Excuse Me While I Steal My Joy Back.”
Updated: Oct 25, 2019
How’s it going? I’m staring down the tunnel of life, and Spring Break is so close I can almost feel the Vegas desert sun on my skin. I actually just got my nails done for the trip, and typing this out on my computer is a task in itself, but I’ll stop complaining. Last time we talked, we talked about you. I feel as though I use this site to preach a lot, and while I want to apologize, this resounding echo is in my head– a quote that I once read somewhere that says something along the lines of: The advice we give others is really just advice we give to our past self. It goes something like that, and there are no truer words. So, in light of my own preaching, here’s a bit about me, in case you came to this page hoping to learn more than just a set of preachings from yours truly.
I’ll confess a little something about myself: I used to have a BIG issue with comparison. I still struggle with it from time to time, if we’re all honest here. I would compare myself to everything and everyone. I would find traits that I wanted in other people, physical or personality-wise, girl or boy, and I would resent them for having it. I would compete with this one girl in particular, but I bet she never knew it. I would be eaten alive by how badly I wanted the things that she had. No matter what I would do, she would always seem one or two steps ahead and it would just really get to my heart and to my confidence. I would compare and compare and compare until there was nothing left that I liked about myself. How awful and miserable does that sound? I would hate myself because I didn’t have the same talents or passions that other people had. I wasn’t happy with who I was at all. When I joined pageants, it didn’t get any better. I would try to morph and become who I thought the pageant queen was supposed to be. I would try to mold my likes and dislikes and habits to fit the industry. I had absolutely zero sense of self. How absolutely sad is it that all the stock that I put in my self-worth came from the things? I even kept a boyfriend because he was well liked by a lot of people. He had a lot of friends and I didn’t, so I clung to that even when it became poisonous. I had no opinions and no sense of self. I just wanted to be well liked, and I didn’t know what for.
I stayed that way until very, very recently. I stayed that way until I forfeited pageantry, if we’re honest. I’ve been increasingly comfortable in who I am as an individual. I quit the competition and started competing with myself. I decided to focus on being happy. I decided to uplift other women instead of competing against them.What good does it do to hate someone else? Despising someone else’s success will not make you succeed. Someone else’s beauty doesn’t negate your own. As women, we are taught to compete against each other. We are taught that we cannot be similar and be friends. We are taught that we should not band together; we must fight, whitened tooth and acrylic nail, to succeed and beat each other. But I have to ask: why is there not enough room for us all to win? This realization didn’t come from a note in the sky. I didn’t win the pageant and decide that this should be a platform of mine. I didn’t finally make best friends with the girl from before and I didn’t watch her fail either. I just got tired of comparing and competing. That attitude is exhausting. Constantly waiting and watching for someone to fall is absolutely exhausting, and what’s the benefit? It may sound cliche, but coming from a girl who’s been on both sides of the fence, it’s much more fun to cheer on all of the friends that positivity brings. I find true joy in helping them solve their problems, big and small, instead of grabbing popcorn and watching as they struggle. I find joy in commenting and applauding encouraging words instead of wondering why my picture didn’t come out that way or why the judges didn’t “choose” me. I take my own pictures and I “choose” me everyday.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t have my bad days. I have days when comparison creeps back up and I wonder why I’m not as spunky as one girl. I’ll ask why I don’t have the singing voice of others. But I really do remind myself- I chant it in my head and aloud : “Someone else’s talent doesn’t negate my own.”
Watch The Netflix documentary about Elmo (yes, from Sesame Street), and you’ll see how someone embracing his talent can lead to things more wonderful than could ever be imagined. It’s inspiring. What you were given was meant to fulfill YOUR purpose. Don’t think for a second that you would be able to fulfill YOUR purpose if you had a different set of skills and traits.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy