Today’s picture of success is a person dressed business casual, looks put together and beautiful. Their outfit consists of nice slacks from somewhere expensive, a colorful professional top, and a sharp blazer topped off with shining heels. Their hair looks as if it’s salon done every morning and their makeup looks virtually nonexistent because it’s done so perfectly, it’s easy to think they naturally look like that. Their purse is organized and has everything they need including pens, paper, business cards, calendar, phone, wallet, and has no hint of garbage. They probably eat healthy everyday, have a gym membership they actually utilize and live in an apartment, condo, house or whatever that is organized each day of the week without the help of a maid or anything because they can do it all themselves. Their bed is made, fridge is organized and decorations all shout, “I am successful!”.
Then there’s me.
I like sweatpants and wear them all weekend long. I prefer to sleep in my purple onesies and walk around in my fuzzy socks and slippers. My outfit of choice consists of leggings and a big sweater. Am I wearing a bra? Who knows. Did I sleep in this? Probably. My footwear of choice will probably be boots of some kind depending on the weather. I most likely ran my fingers through my hair a couple of times this morning and called it good. I prefer sleep over makeup so that’s out of the picture. For breakfast, I decided to wait until after class to munch on some toast and yogurt. That’s what, three food groups? I live by a gym but I haven’t stepped foot in it outside of dance practice for over a year now. My bed looks like I just got out of it which is true and my desk is virtually nonexistent, lost under a sea of books, papers, letters I swear I’ll mail at some point, a Christmas present I still haven’t given away and other things that I should put away but will probably forget about. I look around and see a cluttered mess. I look in the mirror and see another hot mess. I just wasn’t made to be someone that wakes up at 6 am to work out and look put together every single day. I’m comfortable in my own skin, hair and sweaters that keep me warm. I’m much happier coming home to a cluttered desk and messy bed because it’s mine. I’m not the typical picture of success but I’m me.
I have often put on an act and pretended this typical person of success was who I am. I’ll wear uncomfortable clothes that make me look smarter, pretend I didn’t struggle for hours on end with this silly hair style, say I’m going for a natural look when really I just couldn’t figure out this whole make up thing, throw my covers over my pillow and hope it looks neat, stash papers into drawers so my desk looks clean and suck in extra hard so it looks like I hit the gym.
I got tired of the pretending; no one can act forever. I lost sight of what I was made to do. I forgot what things I was passionate about. I threw myself into goals that were profitable instead of things I love, wasted time trying to get familiar with hair and makeup styles that made me feel awkward, spent money on clothes that I would maybe wear once but was considered “in”, and wasted time with people I didn’t really like. All for what? Looking a certain way? Playing a specific role?
Adulthood is all about peeling back those layers you’ve put on to try and pretend to be something you’re not. The older we get, the more we hide the things we truly love and lose our childlike ability to dream. I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to hide under layers of things I don’t like. I want to find those things that make me ooze with excitement, wear things that I can lay back in, dream about things without worrying about money and find me. Most people say this is unrealistic and we have to make sacrifices in order to survive but that’s the problem:
I don’t want to just survive. I want to live. I want to thrive. I want to grow. I want to be genuinely happy with who I am and what I’m doing.
I wasn’t made to go to school, pay bills, and die. I was made to live. So were all of us.
So that’s what I’m going to do. In my sweatpants. With my messy hair. With uncovered blemishes. With a messy bed. With slippers and fuzzy socks. But also with a smile.