Then and Now

Once upon a time there was a girl. She was beautiful, talented, driven, smart, and had the biggest heart. The only problem was that she didn’t see any of those things in herself. She struggled everyday trying to figure out who she was and who she wanted to be. In her fourteen years she didn’t have anything to complain about. She had a wonderful family, some great friends, and everything in the world made sense to her.

This is the girl we’re talking about… (While these are obviously embarrassing photos that are typically kept hidden in the depths of Facebook, I felt it was necessary to suffer a little bit of embarrassment in order to understand who this girl is.)

This is who I was when I was fourteen, and a freshman in high school.

When I look at these photos I don’t see the girl that was described in the very beginning of this post. I see a girl who deals with insecurity in almost all aspects of life. She doesn’t think that she’s good enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough, or talented enough. Her biggest goal is to be on the homecoming court and to date a football player. She’s naive like all fourteen year olds are and she’s just waiting for the day when she turns sixteen so she can drive. She wanted the senior boys to notice her like in the Taylor Swift songs because she wanted her life to be like a Disney movie. She let other people define her and decide if she was worthy.

That was in 2011. This is me in 2015.

Not only am I thankful that I grew up a little bit *insert the “see no evil” monkey emoji here.* I’m thankful that I’ve changed on the inside as well.

Through the loss of two family members, cheerleading, the Governor’s Scholars Program, teaching and being a role model for nearly two hundred young girls in my time at Pep and Pizzazz, my sponsorship with Compassion International, graduation, my first semester of college and all the other things that have affected me over the last four years I have become a totally different person.

When I look at these pictures I still see a young girl; but this girl is comfortable in her own skin. She’s strong, courageous, and loves the life that God gave her. She’s fiercely independent. She’s stubborn, driven, passionate, and creative. Her ultimate goal now is to conquer the world, and then save the world. She believes in the good in people and she wants to make everyone feel loved. This girl is willing to work for everything that she wants. She’s sassy, opinionated, and isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

This is the girl that got everything that her fourteen year old self wanted; and then realized that those things were not good enough for her because she deserved more.

I know that a lot of those statements seem to be conceited or arrogant. But they come from a place that still feels the sting of insecurity everyday. They come from a place that hears that voice inside that says that she’s not good enough every single day. They come from a heart that’s been broken, more than once,  and is still trying to put itself back together. They come from a girl who has fought hard, and for a long time to become the person she is.

This girl chooses to overcome those insecurites daily. She chooses to believe that she’s good enough and ignore the negative, nagging voice inside her head. She stopped letting other people define her and started trying to only please her God. She knows who she is, what she wants, and understands what she deserves. She’s not conceited, or arrogant, or full of herself. She’s confident, comfortable in her own skin, and understands her own self-worth.

She’s not an expert on life. After all, she is only eighteen. She’s still naive when it comes to certain things. She still makes mistakes and struggles because she’s human. She’s still learning. But she also likes to see the bigger picture, and she hopes that one day all girls will stop letting labels, people, and the status quo define them. She wants people to understand that it’s okay to love yourself. She lives by quotes from the Bible and Sophia Bush and encourages everyone else to do the same.

“As a woman, I know you’re young, but you gotta hear it now: the most valuable part about you is your brain. Get an education; don’t let anybody tell you that your body or the size that you wear or any of that BS matters, because it doesn’t. Your brain matters, so be the smart girl in the room. Because, to be funny, you have to be smart, because you have to get the joke.” -Sophia Bush

“I live by two mottos: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world,’ and ‘Make no small plans.'” -Sophia Bush

“To be happy, it first takes being comfortable in your own shoes. The rest can work up from there.” -Sophia Bush

“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” -Proverbs 31:25

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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