The past is just a story.

Those who know me, know that I am a very nostalgic person. I could sit for hours just delving into my past memories or read old journals and still be captivated by what happened to the young girl I used to be. But sometimes there are things I don't ever want to remember, things I want to sweep under the rug and pretend they never existed. But the thing is, they did, and I shouldn't hide from it because the past is just a story, it doesn't define me. Though it may shape the present, it has no control over me.

Truth time?

I am overly self-conscious and very insecure about myself.

In my college years it took a toll on me, mentally and physically, to the point of obsession and self-harm. It absorbed me inside and out, and dictated how I lived my life. It was torture, yet it gave me some sort of sick control. I kept it in like a secret, or rather a morbid promise to myself.

I'm not sure what fueled it. Perhaps it was rejection, the fear of being disliked, or maybe self isolation. Or a combination of everything. Every time a pair of eyes fell on me, I felt like they were judging, analyzing, and critisizing. It didn't matter if I was kind, intelligent, or passionate. The superficial eyes wouldn't see those things. They could only see the image painted and etched into my skin.

I'll admit it. I fell prey to the media's standards of beauty instead of recognizing my own inner beauty. It was only until the promise had been too much and was unsustainable that I gave up. But the failure only propelled me in a different direction of self punishment.

And this whole time, I never thought I had a problem. It seemed like nothing compared to other cases that were more dire and severe, but I was wrong. I thought that it would run its course and I could simply sweep it under the rug as life went on, but now I know I can't.

So when life started to get better, the more I buried the problem. I edited my life, cutting myself off from negativity, breaking up with the boyfriend who wanted to 'fix me',  threw away others expectations and pursued what made me happy, and peeled off the person I was trying to be and stepped into myself.

That year, the only thing I wanted more in the world was to love myself.

At the end of my junior year in college, my sister took me to Paris. I've idolized Paris since I was a child. To me the city was a fairytale come true, and the Eiffel Tower my prince charming. I am a hopeless romantic. I believe love is everything. Love for family. Love for friends. Love for others. Love for the things you do. It makes the world go round. So when I saw the Eiffel Tower, this icon of love, for the first time, I realized that I did love myself. It was just so hard to get there because I was listening to everyone else and their opinions instead of listening to myself.

Flash forward to now. Life has been great to me. But a few nights ago Michael said something so normal, so harmless, yet the choice of words triggered the problem that I buried long ago. Like a tidal wave it crashed into me. All of a sudden I burst into tears and all of the horrible emotions I once felt bombarded me as I was suddenly brought back to the young girl in college hiding the morbid promise. It was a side of me I never wanted Michael to see.

But he did. He was there for me. And he still loves me nonetheless, just as I am. Nothing more and nothing less. And I too love myself just as I am.

To this day, I am still self-conscious and insecure, but I will never let it dictate how I live my life anymore. I had buried this for a long while, but I know I can't just sweep this under the rug anymore if it can still effect me now.

I wrote this more for my benefit than for your reading pleasure, because it's time I finally own up to it and realize that the past is just a story. It may shape my future, but it certainly doesn't define my present.

On a final note, I would also like to reshare a poem I wrote in my last quarter of college, called Vanity's Downfall.