From the #YOLO to metaphorical boxes, you must all be thinking- what on earth is this girl going on about? Trust me on this one people, you’re going to enjoy it.
Growing up in Secondary school or High school (for you American readers out there), I think we can all agree we are faced with some of the toughest and most memorable years of our lives. It’s not just about education, it’s the social side of things; it’s the girl gangs, your first boyfriend/girlfriend, the parties and the petty fall outs over the tiniest of things. Subconsciously, school can be a trap for teenage minds. Which is unfair considering this is the time when were most vulnerable, as were going through some of the biggest changes in our lives, such as puberty.
As were growing we absorb the energy around us; the likelihood is if you’re hanging out with bitchy people you’re going to become a bitchy person. We do this willingly quite often out of fear that we won’t fit in with the group. So the girl who ended up being a bitch was actually a very loving, genuine person, but felt she couldn’t promote that energy around her toxic circle of friends. This stems back to the Stone-Age times, where the threat of being kicked out of the tribe would have been deadly since there was better chance of survival in a pack, being on your own, you had less of a chance. Therefore through the teenage school years these metaphorical boxes are created, the stereotypes that we feel ought to be followed depending on the group of people we surround ourselves with. Brainy people are labelled the ‘nerds’, the girl who doesn’t go out socializing every weekend is labelled ‘boring and anti-social’, the group who go out drinking every weekend are ‘popular.’ By following these stereotypes and confiding yourself to the box you were supposedly allocated, you have limited yourself to a whole world of possibilities, break down the walls of the box and start owning yourself, because you are a badass.
My story: For me, I was the pretty girl who many perhaps assumed lived in the ‘popular’ box because of the people I surrounded myself with for years in school, and for a while I fulfilled that stereotype. However once it got to my final years in sixth form something clicked for me. Everything sort of shifted into perspective, and I got on my grind and worked hard because I didn’t want to risk doing poorly in my exams and ‘ruin’ my future. I realised I actually really disliked clubbing and would rather sit at home and read a historical fiction novel, but I still liked to look pretty and dress up nicely, so why didn’t I enjoy the things that I felt I should be enjoying as part of being ‘popular.’
I faced this sort of identity crisis, I tried to force myself into the introverted or extroverted box, and failed miserably as I slowly realised I was a combination of both. It was almost like I needed the guidelines on who I should be acting like, since I no longer reflected how my friends acted around me, I wanted to find new walls for my box. This spiralled and I felt hopeless, who was I? I so wished I enjoyed clubbing and drinking like everyone else, but I didn’t, and if I tried to force myself I knew I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t which no one should ever have to do.
So how did I break the box? I learned to love and accept myself. It’s that easy. Except it’s not.
We are so used to the comfort of being the sheep or the follower that were scared to be the Shepard.
Learning to love yourself and achieve what you’ve always dreamed of means getting out of your comfort zone, you have to move away from the heard and take the risk knowing that you’ll be happier for it in the end, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the beginning.
How do you break the box? I want you to write a list of all the things that make you happy and spark joy in you. List the things that you love so much that you lose track of time when you’re doing them, realising that hours have passed. These are the things that make you your amazing, breathtakingly awesome self! And if you look at this list and realise you’re not doing these things enough, because you’re forcing yourself into someone else’s box, or following a stereotype that isn’t you, this is me telling you to freaking own yourself and break that box down.
A box without walls may seem vulnerable to begin with, but once you see past that you’ll realise you are free to endless possibilities, you are the bird without a cage.
Before you know it you’ll become the Shepard and you’ll have sheep loads of people following your league, because loving who you are and doing what makes you happy isn’t a crime. It’s a human right, and we need to spread the word.
With all my love,