Okay, give me a few minutes to prove myself before I sound just the same as every “New Year’s resolution-er” in America. I am not special, my goals are not more significant than any one else’s, and I am most definitely not better than any person with the goal to become their best self. If we were to stand together now, I would mirror your tears and your desires to shed light on your immaculate gifts rather than your oh-so-insignificant flaws. I struggle, and God, don’t we all? I struggle with self-worth, honesty, body image, grace, faith, friendships, family, love, and school, but what I’ve taken so long to realize is that it takes an entire lifetime to master a single one of these. We spend so much time pinching our un-defining fat and foolish flaws in the mirror and reassuring ourselves that it will be gone by the new year that we forget that seven “new years” have already passed. I’ve pinched every inch of my body to the point of hate and disgrace that I’ve literally forgotten what self-worth, body image, and faith even mean. I don’t just pinch my boobs, butt, and thighs, though…I pinch my self-worth, dignity, honesty, and value into the smallest, most unrecognizable pebble that I literally forget that I am a human worthy of making the same unachievable and unreasonable “New Years Resolutions” as everyone else. So, here’s the thing…I shouldn’t have waited for 2018, so I’m here making up for lost time. I should’ve been my priority the minute I looked in the mirror and saw a tear shed for anything other than the Maggie I wanted to be. I am looking at every inch and pinch of my body, mind, and soul in the mirror, and have decided that instead of making a list of resolutions, I will rise. I will rise beyond my definition of beauty, because as far as I’m concerned, there isn’t one. I will rise above the mountains and land among the clouds. I will rise above my past and pave my future. I will rise above the negative comments circling through my clouded mind. But most importantly, I will rise above anyone who said I couldn’t do it, including myself. I will no longer try and pour out an empty cup but rather nourish myself with every drop of water and grace that lands within it because I deserve it, and you do too.
I am a psychology major, and before you continue to read this, I will assure you that I am not here to read your mind or predict your future. In fact, as much as I wish I could, that is the furthest thing from what I will be able to do. I have learned throughout the course of my education that many people are compelled into their majors based on life experience and generational influences. In picking my major, I wanted to reach for reason. I wanted to understand my mind and the depths and valleys of the places it took me and the ways I could use it to benefit myself in the future. I am not ashamed to say, that among millions of pieces of information I have learned, one profound thing has made it’s mark in my mind. In my neuroscience class (it’s sounds fancier and smarter than it is), I’ve learned about the brain’s ability to pave “thought paths” throughout our minds. It’s just about as simple as it seems…A person, through the help of neurons and synapses within the brain, can create and form paths that the brain uses to get from point A to B. Just like that of a foot path, the one’s that get the most use are often the most traveled. I have created a very treacherous and rocky, yet seemingly all-too-accesible path of negativity throughout my mind. It guides me to many places that most people don’t know exist. Until this year, I was unaware that I had the ability to start drawing up a new route to my unknown destinations. I am building connections between faith, self-love, family, body image, and gratitude, and rather than connecting them with sour bites of hate, I’ve decided that I will rise. I will rise and I will dig trenches and valleys of hope, faith, and promise over the mountains and trails of my past in order to come to the immaculate and untouched horizon of my future. My new paths are my priority because life is simply too short and cruel to let it get the best of me and the boy sitting at the other end of the bar is simply too good-looking not to say hello too. I am not just going to doodle in my notebook anymore, I am going to write sentences, and then paragraphs, and then pages, and one day I will read my story and be proud of how far I rose and forget the resolutions I didn’t have to make, because I had risen so far that I no longer needed to repair my past but only live for my future.
I used to wish life was easier. I would literally whisper to myself, “what did I ever do to deserve this?” I wish I could go back and shake the insecure 16 year-old in high school and tell her that it wasn’t going to get easier and warn her of her upcoming battles, but if you knew me then, not even a flashing red stop-sign would have been enough warning. A “rise up” mentality would have never worked because the 16 year-old, high school consumed Maggie was afraid and immature. She was afraid of being left behind, forgotten, and unwanted…things the 21 year-old Maggie still struggles with. The 21 year-old Maggie will rise even if it takes climbing the same foggy, grassy, tree-covered path until it becomes apparently clear that self-worth, happiness, family, and love are not connected by the teeth of self-hate but by the gentle caress of struggle and it’s friendship with love.
This kind of “post” is hard for me to write because it forces me to be honest with myself. There are so many things I can do better, and I will, but the hardest part of it all is realizing how long I’ve been promising these things to myself without actually doing any of them. I have mini goals, and I have big ones, but they aren’t going to all be accomplished within 2018 because “mastery” takes a lot longer than 365 days. I want to stop avoiding mirrors and start embracing my reflection, I want to move forward instead of continuing to look back, I want to pave a path to my horizon instead of walk on the winding roads of my past, and most importantly I want to finally just do it for me. I will rise, and you will too, because 2018 isn’t just “your year,” but rather the start to a fresh, and ever improving life. Here…right here…is where we rise. We let go of our grudges and reclaim the lives we promised ourselves after we finished pinching our flaws in the mirrors and minimizing ourselves to our unjust and cruel definitions of “good.” I will rise beyond my insecurities. I will rise above society’s definition of beauty. I will rise above a man’s opinion. I will rise above my past and set goals for my future. I will rise above the mountains and sit amongst the clouds. I will collect my millions of worthless, self-hating pebbles, and I will build a mountain and one day I will sit upon it and revel at how far I have risen.
…I will rise
Inspiration for post: New year, 2018, I will rise
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