When I was seventeen years old, I didn’t have a date for prom. In my seventeen-year-old head - it was the end of the W O R L D. My mom, bless her heart, pointed out to me that “in the long run, prom isn’t that big of a deal.” I’m pretty sure that my response was something along the lines of, “SHUT UP MOM, YOU DON’T KNOW.”
Now I’m 29 and you know what was overrated? Prom.
When I was nineteen I was in my first serious relationship and it had, let’s call them, “hiccups.” If hiccups end two years later with you getting picked up in front of your apartment by your friend because your boyfriend hit you in the face when you broke up with him. Before it got to that point, in the first few months of the relationship, my mom pointed out that it’s better to enjoy being young versus trying to define yourself through a relationship right away. I’m pretty sure my nineteen-year-old response was more mature than my seventeen-year-old self. I think I just rolled my eyes and scoffed; “Sure, Mom.”
Now I’m 29 and you know what I would change if I could? I would have been single in college instead of spending countless hours trying to fix a broken relationship.
When I was 23, I found out that my boyfriend and I had different hobbies. My hobbies included trying to train my deaf dog to do tricks and his hobbies included hooking up with girls who weren’t me. This time around, I didn’t share that failure with my mom. Instead, I thought about what she would say and I kicked that boyfriend to the curb. I didn’t debate it. I didn’t go back on my decision. I told him to pack his crap and get out of my apartment.
Now I’m 29 and you know what I don’t regret? Kicking that loser O U T.
After that, I spent the next two years putting myself first. I ate what I wanted, I watched what I wanted, I went out when I wanted and I stayed in when I wanted. My only responsibilities were my phone bill and my dog. I was able to figure out what I needed to be happy - and I quickly dismissed relationships that didn’t support my happiness. I started to recognize that I didn’t have to put up with negative behavior.
I didn’t have to stay with a boyfriend who didn’t make any effort to see me for two weeks.
I didn’t have to feel like a failure because I wasn’t living the same sort of life as my peers.
I didn’t have to feel threatened by people copying my ideas.
I finally began to listen to the advice that my mom had been giving me for years and realized that I didn’t need to accept crappy behavior as acceptable because I deserved better. Plain and simple. I found my own purpose, and it didn’t rely on anyone else. Except maybe my dog.
Self worth is a journey - it doesn’t come along right away. Sure, we’d all like to be as confident as Beyoncé, but you know - as Lemonade taught us - everyone struggles with not feeling good enough. Everyone struggles accepting the truth that they deserve the best and it takes time for everyone to realize that they don’t have to put up with other people’s bullshit.
I look back on my timeline of ups and downs and realize there were so many situations I could have excused myself from, but that I remained in because I thought it was normal. I thought it was standard. I thought that bad stuff happened but that you just had to accept it.
N E W S F L A S H – no one deserves to feel second rate. And if you’re surrounded by people – in your relationship, in your work place, in your friendships – who make you feel bad about yourself? You don’t have to put up with it. Are people going to judge you for making changes – dropping a friend who makes you feel like crap – breaking up with a loser boyfriend – getting a new job? Honestly, probably. But hey, in the long run who cares? What matters here is you.
It’s easy for me to write. I went through my shit, my ups and downs - experiences that seemed like the end of the world at the time, but that now feel like minor blips on the radar that is my life. It’s easy for me to dole out advice based on my failures, it’s easy for me to tell you all that you’re wonderful and you deserve the best. (Because you do!)
But you might be sitting there, rolling your eyes and scoffing, “Sure, Rosemary” or “SHUT UP ROSEMARY, YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE.”
I don’t, that’s true.
But I know that part of the anxiety of growing up comes from thinking everything’s the end of the world. That your failures feel like they’re going to always define you as a person.
And I know that part of the freedom I feel now came from accepting my failures and refusing to let them define me. Part of the happiness I feel now came from taking the time to take care of myself. Part of the confidence that I have now came from not accepting people’s shitty behavior and opinions or making excuses for the manipulative behavior of others. Part of my self worth comes from recognizing that these failures and mistakes have turned me into the person I am today, and if anything, I’m a person with a great background story full of cautionary tales.
When I was young, I was an idiot. I pushed off my mom’s advice because my hormones and my roadblocks seemed so major, but she stayed consistent - letting me know that I could get through anything, letting me know I deserved better, letting me know it wasn’t the end of the world even when it felt like that.
She helped build me into the person I am today - the person with self worth to know what I deserve and to not accept any less.
As much as I can dole out advice and pep talks, it’s really up to each individual person to realize their own self worth. I went through my shit to get to this point, and everyone else has to get through theirs.
Just know I think you’re the best. And I’m on your side. And if you need someone to pep you up - I’m your girl.
Thanks for reading,