Although I could present to all of you an invigorating read about the secret to making all your Pinterest boards a tangible reality, the truth is I would be very hypocritical to do so. Having the most luminous skin that could light up even the darkest of nights, the most stable mental health that could never manifest a powerful storm that could shipwreck your self-esteem, the ability to wear different hats with ease — the gym rat, the journaler, the academic, the partier — it all feels like this haunting facade to me. It is haunting to me because I hold this deep, buried desire within to prove everyone who has negatively impacted my childhood and adolescence wrong — that I should persevere and rise from the ashes without any scars or battle wounds as that girl.
Perhaps my performative attempt of emulating that girl is indicative of my defense mechanism to conceal the anxieties and insecurities of my younger self. However, as many of us know, concealers are not long-lasting cover-ups. I can paint my face with as much makeup as I wish, practice this picture-perfect smile and continue acting as though I’m unbreakable. Yet, at the end of the day, I look at myself in the safety of my own mirror and I see right through this facade.
So through all of this rumination and agonizing self-introspection, I’ve decided — to put it lightly — to get my stuff together and attempt to embrace the that girl identity without any ulterior vendettas.
Instead of continuing to fool myself into thinking that I have resolved all of my issues, I have decided to journal more frequently and intentionally. It allows me to write down and articulate the things that weigh me down and confront the irrational thoughts that are often the cause of my own demise. Although, going back to therapy is another wonderful remedy for confronting such fears.
Instead of relapsing into my anxiety-inducing perfectionist ways, I have decided to reassure myself that the that girl aesthetic will always be unattainable, no matter how much I am willing to sacrifice for it. There are, of course, days where I’m insanely productive, sipping my matcha tea latte with oat milk, checking off all the boxes on my to-do list ranging from going on a hot girl walk to grocery shopping for ingredients to make a nutritious meal. However, there are days when I lay in bed until 3 p.m., only to rise from the dead to eat a burrito. On these days, I proceed to savor an abundance of cookie dough-flavored ice cream while watching a horribly written and cliché but awfully entertaining rom-com.
Instead of seeking external validation from others that I am a feminine force to be reckoned with by emulating such an aesthetic, I’ve decided to strive to be the best version of myself I can be. I refuse to size myself down into one specific mold. I can pretend to like yoga and light-wash Levi jeans, but the truth is, I don’t. I can pretend that underhanded jokes and back-handed compliments are beneath me, but they aren’t.
Perhaps the only true way of becoming that girl is to not always imitate these trends but to embrace where I relate to and divulge from these trends. I’m becoming my own version of that girl, the one who is constantly on edge because my anxiety is bursting through my seams, but also the one who will do the forty-minute walk to class for some lovely endorphins. I may not have the best sleep schedule nor the best skincare routine, but truly becoming that girl is not found by replicating these highlight reels, but instead by embracing all parts of you — the good, the bad, and the in-between — in a warm, comforting hug. My personal findings and research have led me to the conclusion that it is only when one lives their life as a testament to themself that they have truly become that girl.