I used to wish and dream of having a great personality.
I was always jealous of the girls at my school who were so skilled at social situations. Who already had high school boyfriends that were enchanted with their witty charms and physical allure.
I hated it. I hated it so much that I thought my personality wasn’t good enough. It’s embarrassing to admit this but I actually started a creativity journal – which turned into a personality journal. It was there that I became obsessed with the perfect personality type.
I suppose the precursor to my wanting to be a completely alluring and attractive female started when I saw a Keira Knightley movie for the first time – Pride and Prejudice.
It did not matter that this novel was written long before Keira Knightley was born, it seemed to be written for her. I reveled in the eye contact Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy shared with one another, and dreamed that one day I too would be full of enough pride and interesting thoughts to succeed in attracting the sexy, misanthrope intellectual.
It seemed from that point on that I collected characters like one collects trophies. I would find myself picking up a book that would alter my perspective on life. More importantly, the characters spoke as promises. Of what was to come and of who could love/be loved.
Then the fairytale craze began: Once Upon A Time and two Snow White movies. Soon fairytales were becoming popular again. Who was I more like: the innocent and pious Snow White or the humble and kind Cinderella? I feel even embarrassing admitting this but I have Disney princess dedicated Tumblr blogs.
I began to obsess over the hidden meanings in fairytales. I began to see that people held value in their beliefs just as strongly, if not stronger than, any religion or political ideology.
I learned that I did not fit into the binary categories that are instilled by our society. Good or bad, selfish or selfless, crazy or sane.
Yet I pursued. I studied astrology. I wished for a different moon sign, mercury sign, and sun sign. I analyzed zodiac relationship compatibility. I studied Myer-Briggs. I hated that I got the INTJ type. I got the INFP type. Hated that too. I studied mental illnesses. I worried about having every single one.
Yet I’m learning to stop being so obsessed with labels. To worry about myself constantly. To stop being self-centered, and to stop imagining that someone out there is having a better life than I am.
The truth is, we are complicated individuals. We do not fit neatly into little boxes, no matter how much they give us comfort. Though I suffer from my skin color, my brain, and my body – I believe there will be one day when I learn to love myself as I am.
That there will be at time I forsake the idealism that I believe defines the world and other individuals, as well as stop worrying whether I am living up to someone’s ideal of what I should be. There will be a time I step outside of my door with wrinkles, sunspots and weight; and I will dance and dance until my heart wears out.
Though I still love fairytales, pseudoscience, and personality quizzes, I know that there’s a great deal to gain in not labeling people as we wish they would be but as they are.
In not labeling our ex a narcissist, even when we don’t understand why he/she broke our heart. In not using our diagnoses as a crutch, or claiming that others are faking their diagnoses when we have real ones.
In not blaming the other side for the ills that have befallen our shaky political system, but in seeing the unique effect each individual has on the whole of a multinational, democratic society.
In stories where man and woman do not get together, where Rhett Butler stays with Scarlett and where Cinderella wages an army against the Prince.
Where a Leo can be as soft and emotional as a Cancer, and where a ISTP can be a manic-pixie dream girl, just for a day.
Where the mystery turns into an galactic, realpolitik adventure and where the romance does not end in happily-ever-after.
For when we accept ourselves, we see and understand a person that has been loved by multiple people and has loved multiple others.
Who is affected by and affects his/her society. Who has strengths and weaknesses, and whom with the right power of will can conquer any kingdom and slay any dragon.
I believe you can learn to love and accept yourself – because you are words and ideas, worlds and people, dreams and infinite futures.