I told myself for many years that I had faced my demons. There were insecurities that I told myself didn't rule my life. I told myself I was okay with how I looked, my past, and the outlook of my future. It wasn't until recently that I faced my demons in a way I never have before, I really found myself.
I struggled with what I wanted to be for a long time. I really thought I wanted to be a chef, then an Olympic swimmer, a swim coach, a journalist, then an author, and now just a general writer. The main reason I struggled so much was because I felt like I didn't have any talent. Demon #1.
Another thing I struggled with was my weight. I am the youngest of six kids, all skinny except me. I was never bullied per se, but I was teased. Even though my siblings didn't mean any harm, I still felt like an outsider. Demon #2.
When I was growing up, and even now, other people's opinion of me was always a big thing. When I was little, living in the ghetto because the tuition for private school cost a lot, this wasn't a problem. It did become a problem when I moved to a rich part of Ohio and went to public school. How I looked and how I presented everything. I was a fat girl from a poor family dropped into a suburb famous for everyone looking pretty and pushing all their problems under the rug. This was not who I was. It was sink or swim. Demon #3.
My life has been very difficult, largely due to how I was raised. When I say that I don't just mean how my parents raised me, but also how I was raised and shaped by society. All the pressure to be perfect and to not let anyone see your problems all became too much for me. I began to cut. Demon #4.
Fast forward about three years to the present day. Even after not having cut for about a year and a half, I got professional help. I thought it was ridiculous and unnecessary, but I still went. She really opened my eyes. After all the awkward conversations that only had to do with her getting to know me, she told me I had anxiety. I thought she was being overdramatic and brushed it off. Later, I recognized that I did. While I'm lucky enough to realize that my anxiety isn't as severe as some others I still had it. Demon #5.
Realizing that I had anxiety really opened my eyes. It made me aware of how I treat other people, why I do the things I do, and even renewed my sense of purpose. That was when I faced my demons.
I acknowledged that I was poor. I acknowledged that I won't get to have the things I wanted or what everyone else had. I acknowledged that there might be a time when I will have to give my paycheck to my family. I acknowledged that going to college would be a financial struggle. Then I faced my past.
I faced the feelings and experiences of past me. I had tried to push my past away and ignore it. Even though I thought it was gone, it ruled my life. This time I acknowledged that, too. I took everything that has happened to me and what I had been through and greeted it like an old friend. Then I put it in my back pocket.
I keep my past with me wherever I go. I acknowledge that it made me who I am. However, I don't let it rule my life. I am beginning my life as a new person. Hopefully she will be ready by the time I go to college next year.
I'm still finding myself. I will always, for as long as I live, be finding myself. I will meet more demons along the way and I bet they will be much harder to face than those five I listed for you. But I look forward overcoming that and coming out a new, person on the other side. I look forward to seeing you all there.