The first thing I did when I got home from college was scream Panic! At The Disco songs with my best friend. The second thing I did, soon after she abandoned me, was rearrange my room.
As I moved my bed to the adjacent wall, I noticed a stack of twenty pages hastily ripped out from a journal. I started the journal for a friend on New Years Day of 2015. I wrote many things, but it was never completed. It’s probably for the best it wasn’t, but in these pages, an entry stood out to me.
In it, I questioned whether or not I should actually give the journal to my friend. The saddest part of it all was that I thought my words — my billions of ideas, memories, and thoughts compiled into a beautiful book — held no value. I was terrified that the only reason I had friends was because my friendship was convenient. I knew I wasn’t important enough. I knew no one would ever care to read the little things I noticed. I knew I was worthless.
That entry and many other writings of mine around that time confirm that I failed to value myself. I lost so much time feeling bad about myself when I should have spent time loving myself. Self-love is healthy. I lacked it, and what’s worse is I failed to realize that I lacked it. I was hypocritical. I’d literally think to myself, “I’m lucky that I’m comfortable with who I am” and then proceed to criticize everything about me.
Going to college cured the severity of my insecurity. For the first time in my life, I got to choose who I wanted to be without judgment. I had no one to hold me back. Many parts of my first year of college were tough, but through the struggles, I was happy because for the first time it was me facing my struggles and joys — not a poor reflection of who I wanted to be. And even better, I faced them alongside people who truly cared about me — not the fabricated person I tried to be.
I’m still happy, and it feels weird to be happy. After struggling with depression throughout high school, any bit of light is foreign and beautiful. Part of me is terrified that I’m still in the honeymoon period of happiness, but despite life throwing its regularly scheduled curveballs at me, I’m okay. My roommate turned out to be the most amazing and loyal person I have ever met. I’m obsessed with the sect of music journalism I’ve had the privilege of working in. And, I am so incredibly happy with who I’ve become.
No matter where you are in life right now, remember that you are not a burden. You aren’t annoying to be around. Embrace who you are. Do things you’ve dreamed of doing, love the life you’ve been given, and find the strength push through the hard parts of it. You’re amazing, and it doesn’t matter what other people think. They don’t define you. You define you.
So go out there. Scream whatever Panic! At the Disco song you want with whoever you want. You are super cool and deserve to be loved exactly as you are. Face the world, you rockstar.