“This Is Me”

Over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the movie “The Greatest Showman,” more specifically, the song “This Is Me.” To save you a read, I spoke about how the song had impacted me and had become an “anthem” of sorts to explain how I was feeling as I was navigating life and friendships as an adult in a brand new state.

Well, with the comeback of the Jonas Brothers earlier this year, I went on a JoBro “kick” and started listening to all of their old music which in turn, allowed me to stumble upon “This Is Me” from Camp Rock.

How old were you when Camp Rock came out in 2008? I was 14. I remember very clearly hearing Demi Lovato belt out her song at the end of the film, finally stepping into her place in the world and learning how to be comfortable in her own skin.

I’ve always been the kind of girl
That hid my face
So afraid to tell the world
What I’ve got to say
But I had this dream
Right inside of me
I’m going to let it show
It’s time
To let you know
To let you know

This is the real, this is me
I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be now
Gonna let the light
Shine on me
Now I found
Who I am
There’s no way to hold it in
No more hiding who I want to be
This is me

I don’t know about you but when I was 14, I was incredibly insecure. I wanted to fit in so desperately that I begged to have the same phone as everyone else, wear all the same clothes, watch the same movies, listen to the same songs. I was the opposite of me, I was just like everyone else.

Then in high school, I’m not sure what shifted but I became unapologetically me. You know that memories feature on Facebook that loves to pop up and shove your old pictures down your throat? Well lately, a lot of my high school photos have been popping up. 9 times out of 10 I’ll have my tongue sticking out or I’ll be making a funny face. I never have good posture, it’s never a good angle, and I always look ridiculous. And you know what? I have great memories of those photos and those moments in time.

Now we’ve entered the Instagram era. Everyone has a filter on everything and there’s this unobtainable level of perfection that needs to be met. I look at photos of myself in a whole different way than before. No more funny faces, no more bad angles, now every photo that is posted has to be framed perfectly and in the best lighting.

Not that anything is wrong with that, to a degree. I absolutely love Instagram and the community that it has created. I think creating beautiful images is fun and I enjoy it as a hobby. But somewhere along the way, I lost what it’s meant to be unapologetically me.

Maybe it’s because I feel like I’ve been battered and bruised for being me. Maybe it’s because I feel like people won’t accept me for who I am. Maybe it’s because I moved away from everything I knew and had to start over. Maybe it’s because I’ve lost a lot of friends and struggled to find my tribe. Maybe it’s because I’m different than everyone else. Maybe it’s because I don’t fit into people’s molds. Maybe it’s because I haven’t found my “soulmate” friend who accepts me for who I am. Maybe it’s because I crave connection and community more so than ever. Maybe it’s because I hold strong to my morals and values and will not compromise.

Regardless of the reasons, I feel like I’ve tried to become everything for everyone and in turn haven’t been who I need to be for me.

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

That’s why I love the line “I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me” so much. Every time I hear that song and I’m alone, I will belt along. Totally off-key because while I would love to be a singer, I am anything but that (if anyone wants to give me some vocal lessons, I’d appreciate it so much! So would everyone around me).

I’m turning the corner to my 25th year here on planet earth and I feel like I am for sure having a quarter life crisis, as ridiculous as that sounds. When I was 18 and graduating high school, I remember feeling like I could do anything. I could become anything, accomplish anything, achieve anything, my heart desires. Now, here I am about 6 years later (dang am I getting old?), and that feeling is gone.

A mentor of mine told me about a year or two ago that I need to teach myself how to dream again. I was having a hard time finding my career path and deciding what I wanted to do in life and what my five-year-plan is. Well after reflecting, I realized that my five-year-plan was limited by what I thought was achievable, not by what I actually wanted. I was trying to fit my life into this box of what I thought a military wife, a college graduate, an executive assistant, [fill in the blank] could accomplish or what was reasonable or what the world expected of me.

No. That’s not how it works.

Right now is the time to DREAM. It’s the time to be myself and to conquer the world.

I’m not sure entirely what that looks like. I’m not even sure what my next steps are. But until I figure it out, I’ll be belting along to both versions of “This Is Me” and taking my identity back. I won’t try to be who I think I should be any longer, I’m going to be me.

“I’m not scared to be seen. I make no apologies, this is me”

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