We All Deserve Our Best Chance…
by Erin Honor
If you are anything like me, you lack a social life and spend way too much time on the internet. My website of choice? Well, that happens to be Youtube. You can actually find my channel right here. (Whoops, shameless plug of my own channel on my own blog…)
Anyway, Youtube is a pretty big thing these days. “Youtuber,” is an actual viable career and people who started off as nothing more than a teenager with a webcam are now attaining actual celebrity status.
One of these extremely successful Youtubers (as well as one that I have been following for over 4 years now) is beauty-vlogger Ingrid Nilsen.
This is a girl who young girls want to be. She is beautiful, successful, and witty. She is one of those rare people who are so genuine that you can actually feel it through the computer screen. She has been extremely open over the years about her relationships, childhood, health, etc.
Then this happened.
I don’t think any of her viewers ever saw this coming.
Even if you don’t know Ingrid or anything about her, I really recommend that you watch this video. In it, she comes out (something that nobody would ever have expected), explains when she first realized that she was gay, and talks about all of the years that she felt the need to suppress who she really was and how she finally came to the realization that she could no longer keep this crucial part of herself under lock and key.
In the video, Ingrid describes the definitive moment that led to her coming out. She talks about getting in her car, driving 50 miles down the California coast, sitting on a rock on the beach, and hearing one sentence play on a never-ending loop in her mind.
“We all deserve out best chance.”
This is the point in the video where I absolutely lost it.
I would be completely lying to you if I told you that I completely related to Ingrid’s situation. Do I have issues with my sexuality? Yes. But not in the same way that she did. However, I don’t think that I would be wrong in saying that most of us find ourselves, at some point or another, at a crossroads in life where we need to decide between staying true to ourselves and risking rejection and slapping on a mask, hiding our real selves, and being accepted but feeling empty. From an outsider’s perspective, the obvious choice be staying true to who you are and not giving a damn what others think… But it’s never really that easy.
We all want to be loved and accepted. I don’t care who you are or how much of a loner you claim to be. It is human nature to seek out connections with other beings. Even the most secure person on the planet still feels that need to be loved and accepted. You know what else we all want? To be our best and most authentic selves.
If these are two of the most fundamental emotional needs in humans, then why do they so often contradict themselves?
I am an extremely insecure person. I don’t know that I could tell you one thing about myself that I like, nor could I give you a good reason why anyone should like me. This insecurity led me to hiding most of what made me who I am for a large chunk of my life.
I fit the basic “I don’t fit in,” model background in middle school. The music I listened to, the way that I drew, the books that I read, my weight, my hair, my face, none of it was right and it led to books being thrown down the stairwell at me while the boys chanted, “Emo. Emo.” Already struggling with body dysmorphia and depression, I very strongly believed these claims that those hobbies and interests that I loved were inherently wrong. I decided that I had to hide those parts of me at all costs.
My first day of high school came and I made the decision to take all that made me the person that I was and put them away in storage. God forbid the kids in my new school knew that I listened to Five Finger Death Punch and watched anime. How would I ever be accepted if I liked the wrong things?
I made friends, had a social life, all of it. It was great. In fact, I loved school my freshman year. In my mind, it was the happiest I have ever been.
So why is it that if I look down at my arms right now, I can see dozens of scars from cutting myself open on a daily basis during this “happy time?”
Here’s the thing, while this pseudo-self that I had created was having a grand ‘ole time at school, my true self was at home, crammed into a box and left to rot. I worked so hard to keep my true self under wraps. I refused to let others borrow my notes in fear that they would see the anime-styled doodles I had absent-mindedly done on the side of the page. I hid my iPod from sight (yes, this was the stone-age and kids didn’t all have iPhones yet) in fear that others would see what I was listening to. I put all of my books away in fear that some day, a friend would be in my room and see them.
I stopped writing. I stopped drawing. I stopped living.
Again, in this screwed up head of mine, I really see this time as the happiest in my life… But then why was I not able to keep up the act?
The thing about hiding your true self is that it is is next-to impossible to keep it under wraps for all of eternity. At some point, little pieces of yourself are going to start poking through the cracks. When this happens, there is a flush of relief, bliss, excitement. It feel so freaking good to be your real self. Unfortunately, the crack is quickly spackled over and you are left with a feeling of complete and utter fear and humiliation.
How could I let that part of me show? Everyone must think I am a complete freak now. Oh my God, what am I going to do?
It’s not healthy. This type of behavior is in no way healthy. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that suppressing your passions and emotional is one of the most dangerous behaviors out there.
And you know what? By suppressing who you are for long periods of time, you begin to lose all that made you the perfectly unique and interesting and crucial human being that you were born as. You begin to forget how to appreciate what once filled your heart and made you feel whole. I have trouble writing now. Writing was always something that I loved and was good at, and I feel as though I have forgotten how to do it. I need to reteach myself how to be me. That is in no way okay.
So that bring me back to Ingrid’s video and the idea that we all deserve our best chance. There is nothing truer than this statement. It is our birth-right to be happy, but we can’t do that if we do not embrace all that makes us who we are. Now, I am definitely not saying that this is something easy. I mean, just watch Ingrid’s video and you will see how difficult it island has been for her to fully embrace herself. Still, you will also physically feel the weight that is being lifted off of her soul. She is embracing herself. She is giving herself her best chance.
I think that it’s about time that we all begin to try and do the same.