OPEN by Ellie Israelsen
Why do we build walls? I have come to a very strong realization that building walls and pretending to be something that we’re not is so exhausting and not beneficial to anyone in any way.
A few nights ago, I was with some of my very favorite friends that I haven’t seen for a while. We got on the topic of clothes, as girls at dinner do, and one of them said “Ellie always looks cute at school, and I’m just like, she has her life together.” I seriously burst out laughing. I wasn’t trying to be modest or humble, I genuinely thought it was hilarious that she thought I had my life together. That made me question how I come off to people. I almost felt like I was living a lie.
I have no intent of coming off perfect, or like I live a perfect life. I don’t want people to think that I am happy every day of the week, or that my life is just as my instagram, snapchat, twitter, or any other form of media depicts it. Perhaps no one thinks any of those things of me, and it’s clearly evident that I am an extremely imperfect human being, but for those of you that think I, or anyone has it all together, we don’t. No one does. Yet it almost feels like we’re all in this war to make each other believe that we have little to no flaws, and that our lives are filled with nothing but love, laughter, and success. That is such a superficial and unsatisfying way to live, and I have decided I want no part in it.
I want to be real, genuine, open, and carry no shame. I would so much rather support and lift up another by letting them see my real self, and my real life, than tear them down and make them feel insignificant by putting up walls of fake perfection.
It’s almost ridiculous that we can see someone with a cute outfit, good hair, a smile, and almost instantly assume that they have their life together. It’s like we forget that there’s much more to life. It is human nature for us to compare our whole entire self, every part of us, to just the surface of another. We evaluate all of our flaws, mistakes, struggles, weaknesses and then compare it to the promoted and seemingly perfect parts of another person. It’s not fair, and we do it to ourselves.
I don’t want to play a part in this war, and I don’t want anyone to think that I am something I’m not. But first of all, I don’t want anyone to think I am writing this because I hate myself and think I have nothing but flaws. If anything, this is an article about self love, and embracing flaws and imperfections. We should all have hundreds of things that we love about ourselves, but we should also try to have enough self respect and confidence, to share the things about ourselves that we struggle with.
To start off, I am messy. I have a messy room, messy backpack, messy car, messy bathroom. I have gotten to the point that I’m kind of used to it which is kind of gross, but very true. Secondly, I have very splotchy, red skin that breaks out a lot, but I am honestly amazing at covering it with foundation and powder. I guess you could call that a talent. I also get compliments on my eyebrows a lot, but if you were to see me before I put a pencil to them, you probably wouldn’t even know I had eyebrows to compliment.
I am so uncoordinated. I have played tennis since 8th grade, and couldn’t even muster up the courage to play for Skyline’s team until last year. I was on developmental and was incredibly horrible at it, but I loved every second of every practice because of the people, and simply because it’s a fun sport. Oh, I also only played in two matches. Yep.
Let’s talk about school. I am exceptionally horrible at math, and I have gotten record breakingly low scores on tests before. I fall asleep in classes a lot, and very commonly have to ask the person next to me what on earth the teacher is talking about, or what we are supposed to be doing.
I was once an incredibly healthy eater. I really only ate raw and sugarless foods and it was so good for me. But after living this way for a bit, I developed an eating disorder. It was not a pleasant thing and I was not the most pleasant person through all of it. I remember being constantly tired, self conscious and lost. I really only paid attention and cared about the physical parts of myself, which makes life feel constricted and meaningless. I got over the eating disorder a long time ago, and now I mainly eat sugar and carbs. I go through phases where I eat healthy and try hard, but we all know it’s a lot more fun to eat poptarts and nutella than kale and carrots.
On a bit more of a serious note, I struggle with depression and anxiety. It doesn’t always bring out the best sides of me. Sometimes it makes me easily irritated, extremely unmotivated, anti social, unpleasant and negative. It is scary and hard and I do not always handle it perfectly. Yet, I am so grateful for the wisdom it brings me, and the empathy and desire I’ve gained to help other people through dark parts of life.
So yes, I have struggles and flaws. Lots of them. I am extremely emotional, I cry during every movie and book or really about anything. I sometimes get jealous when I see a pretty girl. I am a horrible cook. I’m much better at spending money than making it. I have almost destroyed my parents car by driving it. I talk way too much and tell the same stories hundreds times. I am rarely on time anywhere. I could go on and on and on. I know I am so far from perfect, but I am okay with it. I am learning to love every part of myself. I’m learning to forgive myself more quickly and completely, and I’m learning to be open. I want to be fully and completely open to everyone that comes my way, and I hope they will feel they can be the same to me.
Let down your walls, be real, let people in. It feels better.