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The "Yes, you CAN!" Guide

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You can’t do it. You’re different, you stick out too much, you’re not taking AP physics or super –duper-advanced- only- for- really- smart –talented- people math. You fake panic attacks. You cry to get your way. You don’t dress like THEM, act like THEM, talk like THEM. You aren’t THEM.

Who are THEY? And why do I listen to everyone tell me I can’t do it? I can’t get into this college because I’m too lazy to try. Why invest in a film hobby because I’ll never make a living out of it. Go to a state school, or, better yet, a community college!

That’s all I’ll ever be. And you, that’s all you’ll ever be. A low life, do nothing. Of course that’s how life turns out if you don’t look at the people in your high school and go in their direction.

I’ve taken it. I’ve cried way too many burning, stinging tears. I’ve sunk low, sat in the victim seat, knew I’d never be good enough because I wasn’t meant to be.

That, my friend, is crap. Anyone can do whatever they want to do because everyone has it in them to beat it, stop on it, hold their head high and succeed. Don’t listen to the people whispering you can’t because you’re different. Different is better than normal. Is normal even a word?!

Everybody wears black leggings, UGG boots and Northface fleeces. They carry Vera Bradley and Juicy bags. I, on the other hand, have opted for the knee socks, graphic tees, crazy, twirly skirts and JanSport bags. I dress, some days, like it’s 1985 and I do not care.

People are looking at you, straight haired, UGG wearing, Juicy people. It’s about you. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s all about you in your head!

That’s because it’s in your head. If you want to wear your brand names because you LIKE them, do it! If it’s to showcase your money, don’t. Think about being…yourself? Other people are always going to be there, but they change. It’s like they are the leaves and you are the tree- come autumn, the leaves fall off and re grow, but the tree stays the same. Those “leaves” telling you that you are not good enough, or special enough…they’re going to go away and then it leaves just you, cold and lonely all winter. Parents who have faith in you are just leaves, too…maybe they’re the last to leave but it’s time to be you.

Different. It’s a scary word, isn’t it? Oh no, I’m different! I’m the freak! I have panic disorder! I’m the kid with ADD! I’m the kid with OCD…blah, blah, blah. Those are labels. Labels to be ripped off and thrown away. So you have panic attacks. That’s not you!

You have braces or glasses. Well that’s cool! Own them! If you’re like me and have a skin disease, like Psoriasis, well that’s not so cool, but own it! Yes, rock your acne or the patches of skin falling off your face and hair! It’s not private, the way you look, so you make the best you can out of it.

Unravel the thread that stitched you to the hands of your “best friends”. Be yourself, make your own choices- outshine everyone. There’s only one you. And that’s you.

You don’t think everyone get’s scared for the first day of school, or an interview or a first day of work? You don’t think everyone is afraid to fail, that everyone doesn’t think the worst? That’s human! Give yourself the “Mental Makeover” though. And here’s how.

Step one: Get a journal and write. Write about whatever you’re doing- school, work, whatever. Make lists, what’s the worst that can happen? What could I get out of this?

Step two: Develop your alter ego. No, I’m serious. Give them a name if you want. You’re alter ego is everything you want to be. Practice playing them. Maybe their famous, or super popular, or not afraid to wear what they want.

Step three: Take your alter ego and become them for the “scary situation”. If you’re not into acting, that’s fine. Be them, then. After all, your alter ego is a totally awesome version of you!

Step four: Use some imagination. Picture walking through the hallway on the first day like nothing bothers you. Those girls who cyberbullied you, those football players that egged your house or those totally dramatic, annoying clique of clones- no influence on you whatsoever.

So that’s your MM- Mental Makeover. Journals are great for MMs- write it and believe it, baby!

Maybe you still feel like you can’t. You’ve fallen to peer pressure, you’re sucked into a clique you can’t get out of, parents are killing you, you feel like you’ve made mistakes…here’s for you.

Look, right now, at the clock. Can you turn it back to the time you screwed up? Yea, I guess. Does time move back? Not to my knowledge. So, fix what you can and move on.

The people who tell you that you just can’t. Geeze, these are people I’ve seen my whole life. You know what feels great? Showing them you CAN! You know what may take some work? Showing them you CAN!

Maybe that alter ego isn’t working for you. Ok, so you have hats. You have a winter beret, a top hat, a fedora and a baseball cap. When you feel like being different, breaking barriers and running your show, put your top hat on! It’s weird, different, eccentric- just like every human secretly is!

You’re beret shouldn’t come out much, but when it does, it’s shy. It’s lonely, it’s cold. You’re shy, lonely and cold. Put your beret away! Same with that baseball cap- that is just blending in.

The fedora? That’s your “yes I CAN, I’m super cool, I’m owning myself and my life!” hat. That and your top hat, those are you.

Want some tips for the road?
-When you’re feeling weird in a bad way, like a freak…depressed or trapped in a strange world, just steal my slogan- “I wear ruby slippers”. The power is in you to return, right? That’s what Dorothy’s meant!
-If you feel like you want to be clothing-brave but don’t know, start slow. Wear a crazy jacket or socks you can take off. That way you’re good even if you’re not.
-Find your talent, or even what you LIKE, and do it. Cultivate it. If you get laughed at, well, laugh back.
-Channel that alter ego as much as you want. Slip into their shoes. Maybe they’re not even made up…maybe it’s a character on your favorite TV show! Slip into their shoes if you have to…but don’t make it too obvious.
-Take off that beret imminently if you feel it coming on!
-This should of happened because it did. Therefore, “should’s” live in a fictional world.
-Happy lists and your MM journal are you’re best friends.
-Lastly, love yourself, your friends and your parents. They want to help you, after all, no tree wants to shiver alone in the dead of winter!



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