New Year, Better Me

I unintentionally took a few weeks off of writing because the holidays and wedding planning and life, in general, demanded more time than I could really give it. Something had to give, and unfortunately, it was this blog. But I am back and determined to continue writing and sharing experiences with whoever will listen.

As the first post of the year, I would like to explain what it means to me to live unapologetically. When I started this blog just a few months ago, my goal was to create a platform to express myself fully and without judgment. While there will always be negative people judging your every move, my goal is to stop concerning myself with their opinions. This blog is a personal journey that I want to share with the world in hopes of encouraging others to embrace and love who they really are.

The word “unapologetically” has been my favorite word for some time now. I have no idea where I first heard it or in what context, but I know it struck a chord with me and has been echoing in my mind ever since. By definition, “unapologetically” means to not acknowledge or express regret. Many confuse unapologetic behavior and mindset as someone who doesn’t take responsibility for their actions. This is absolutely not what I stand for. To me, being unapologetic means that you are wholly yourself without apologies or excuses. You love what you love, and you are not afraid to express that. You don’t change who you are to fit some unrealistic mold of who society thinks you should be. You are your own mold. You live your life for yourself and make the best decisions for your life based on your own knowledge and intuition, rather than the opinions of others.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, it’s not.

It has taken me years to be comfortable in my own skin, and I still have some work to do. I’ve always been a bit of a “fangirl.” Meaning, the stuff I like, I really like and get downright giddy about it. My biggest vice: anything and everything Disney. I have loved Disney movies since I was a child. My late grandmother used to always laugh about when I was about three years old I asked her to play The Lion King over, and over, and over all day long. When I was six years old, I went to Walt Disney World for the first time and thus began a love affair with Disney Parks. The rest is a magical history of yearly vacations to the happiest place on earth, and a lifetime of Disney trips with my soon-to-be husband.

But, it wasn’t always magical. When you’re in elementary school everyone loves Disney. When your peers find out your family vacations there often they are in awe and jealous of your privilege. It’s totally normal and acceptable to love Disney when you’re in elementary school, but something odd happens when you enter middle school. Suddenly, my peers weren’t eager to discuss the latest Disney/Pixar movie or appreciate my Mickey Mouse shirts. Everyone was “too cool” for the things they used to enjoy just the previous year. It was around this time that I began to struggle a lot with the way others perceived me. I loved Disney and that wasn’t going to change, but I no longer discussed it as freely as I once did.

This continued into high school. Only my close friends really knew about my “Disney side.” Too many people had patronized me or flat out made fun of me for loving Disney, and it became something I found myself apologizing about constantly. I even stopped telling people where I was going when I went to Disney. It was just a “family vacation.” I was constantly making excuses for why my family enjoyed vacationing there so often and explaining that no, we don’t get tired of it. Trust me, I’ve heard it all: “Don’t you ever want to vacation somewhere else?”, “Do your parents work for Disney or something?”, and my personal favorite “Isn’t that for kids?”

We did vacation other places, we just loved our yearly Disney trips. It was our family’s tradition.

No, my parents didn’t work for Disney. They were just really good at getting insane deals on hotels and park tickets.

And if you truly think Disney Parks are just for kids, you probably haven’t been there yourself.

These are just a few of the rebuttals I would use against people who questioned this thing that I liked. Most people would just politely smile and move on, which was and is extremely patronizing. Some would question more and insist we must be crazy or immature. Both reactions over time caused me to not share as much of my love for Disney with strangers.

It caused me to not share a vital part of who I am with others.

As I got older, I began to care less. Disney was something that made me happy. It was positive and didn’t hurt anyone, so why did it matter so much what others thought? In the past few years, I have begun actively embracing who I am, including my Disney side. I started to realize that the people I was trying to impress wasn’t actually the type of person I wanted to be. You shouldn’t have to change or suppress a single aspect of who you are for someone else to like you.

Going into 2019, I encourage everyone to wholly embrace themselves for who they really are. As many of you know, the end of last year was not easy for me personally. And I know last year was difficult for many people. As cliche as it sounds, a new year is a new opportunity. So why not use this new start as a chance to start loving yourself more?

I am determined to make the most of whatever 2019 has to offer me.

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