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All I Ever Wanted Was To Be Loved For Who I Really Am
"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing." -Elbert Hubbard
To say that I avoided criticism, would be a lie. I have had to deal with criticism all my life, like most of you who are reading this. However, that criticism should have made me hard, but it didn't. Actually, it desensitized me. Whenever I am faced with criticism, I just shrug it off as if it's nothing because honestly, it is nothing to me.
But, I won't bore you with the explanation of that. Let's talk about all the people who criticized me; family, friends and random people who I don't really know. But for the sake of this article, I am only going to focus on the biggest critics, my family and people at school.
My first cousin on my mother's side is like a sister to me. Our mothers are sisters and because we were raised by their mother, we were forced to live like sisters. Now, she is the brainy type. The one who always excelled academically. I was the one who had the dashing good looks (I say this very sarcastically).
We went to elementary and middle school (or junior high for the old school folks) together. Therefore, we always had the same professors and friends. Because she was the one who never got into trouble and was always the "golden child", people loved her and they would always say to me, "Why can't you be smart like her?"
Now, let's pause because I'm starting to feel some type of way.
Let's move on....
I would always get mad whenever I heard this because I believed I was smart. I wasn't a bad student, I was just the social student. I had friends and I wasn't going to lock myself in my room and just focus on my studies. (I'm not saying my cousin was like this, but she was a nerd.)
I was a people person. I had charisma and she didn't. Sometimes, I think people liked being around me because I was pretty. I didn't want to be labeled as the pretty one. I wanted to be seen as the smart one.
Now, you're probably thinking, "Being pretty is nice". But it isn't, because once people see you as pretty, they don't notice anything else. I always believed that I had to be pretty because that's what people wanted. I would act as if there was no brain in my head. Although, I knew I was and still am smart. Despite people always saying I was pretty, I never felt pretty because I knew there was more to me than my looks. I knew there was a heart that cared and brain that had more knowledge than some of these degree holding people.
I made good grades in school, mostly Bs. I didn't mind Bs because it meant I was passing. However, all the Bs in the world couldn't match my cousin's A+ average.
My family always idolized her because of her grades and intellect, but I was always the one who just couldn't make it to the top. I was the one whose teachers called the house and said I was being disruptive in class, which is semi-true. As I mentioned earlier, I was the social person. The one who always had friends, which meant I was always talking in class. I didn't mind being in trouble because it is what I lived for.
If people wanted me to be pretty, then that is what they were going to get. I was the pretty girl who loved to talk and talk is what I did.
Talking is what made me who I am. I could talk all day. People listened and I loved it. I loved the attention because I wasn't getting the attention from home.
In my family's eyes, I was a bad-ass. But in strangers' eyes, I was the good girl. Playing those roles felt good, very liberating. I could be who I wanted and I didn't care what anyone thought.
The only down side was I got confused as to who I was. I was wearing too many masks, which sent me down a spiraling path.
I would get in trouble in school a lot. However, my family never knew about it because by this time, I was in high school and no one called home in high school. I used my charisma to my advantage. (I won't go into details.)
In high school, I was again labeled as the pretty girl and all the guys wanted to date me, but only two did. I had standards. But this is besides the point.
My point is when everyone is putting labels on you and you're trying to adopt the roles of each category, you lose yourself. I wanted to be what my family wanted, the troublemaker and I wanted to be what my school mates wanted, the good girl. But I never asked myself, "What do I want?"
And the answer to that question is, I just want to be myself, whomever that may be. And I want to be loved for being Shay.