luke + mallory leasure

Everything You Want To Say To The Person Who Tried To Define Your Self-Worth

By

To whom it once concerned,

Hi, there. You might remember me. I was the girl you got to know that one time. You know, the one with the hair in her face, solid Hollister clothing collection and checkered Vans? I never really fit into a proper social “box,” and I remember that confusing you. You didn't have to tell me, though. Your actions oftentimes spoke louder than words.

I kept to myself mostly. I never really stood out much. My main goal was to fly under the radar and escape those four years as unscathed as possible. I was never one to get into fights or cause a scene. I always tried to lay low with those close to me and have a good time. In true high school fashion, I was just trying to fit in with everyone else.

It's strange that you chose me. I didn't have a lot, but I didn't necessarily have nothing, either. I wasn't overwhelmingly talented in the sports I participated in. I listened to music, but I never learned to play it. I was smart, but I wasn't the smartest person in the school. I didn't have a job at the time, and my car was anything but impressive.

What I did have, however, was a great relationship with my family, close friends and a boyfriend. So, I guess back then that's the richest form of currency you could have. Maybe I took those things for granted from time to time, but we all did with certain things that we were too close to.

I wouldn't have ever classified myself as an overly confident person. I never saw a reason to be. But, I suppose if I had to label my confidence level, it would have fallen somewhere in between a kid who recently found a French fry in their onion rings and a bunch of actors on a new sitcom trying to discover their on-stage chemistry. It's like we're excited for the new show to start, but it's a little awkward watching things fall into place.

I'm not exactly sure when you decided to place most of your negative energy on me. I'm guessing it was somewhere in between a Friday night football game and Christmas. All I remember is things were slowly starting to change, and there wasn't anything I could do to stop it.

Have you ever felt so happy that you wanted to share that happiness with those around you? Only, you find out those around you had already pre-determined your happiness was no longer good enough for them. I felt like I was in a Great Value version of "Mean Girls," where everyone was poor and not as attractive.

You said some really awful things about me back then. You tried so hard to tell me I was stupid, ugly and not good enough. In fact, your words and actions did nothing but attempt to convince me I was worthless. You went so far as to build an army to take down someone who was never even aware she was in some sort of sh*tty battle.

I'll give it to you, though. For a while there, you were winning. I started believing I was worthless. I started believing I was stupid. I started believing I was ugly and not good enough. I ran out of energy and felt nothing short of defeated. I forgot who I was, where I was and even why I was still here. I hated everything, including myself.

I would oftentimes find myself asking questions like, “What did I do?” “Why me?” or, “Could I have done something differently?” Days blended together, and I lost track of time during all of this. So, it's unclear how long you had me convinced of these things.

I'll never forget one afternoon while I was sitting with my dog. The sun started to shine through the window, and I was finally able to eat again. "Maury" or some other wholesome, "family fun" entertainment program was on TV. My sadness started to escape me, and a sense of calm and relief began to take its place.

I decided to use this newfound perspective to prove you wrong and redefine my own happiness. I began to understand that you didn't have the right to tell me who I was, what to think or how to act. It was always up to me to decide whether or not to give that power to another person. You just made me forget that.

I felt — and still feel — sorry for you. Your life was so empty that you tried to steal what I had and make it your own. I was — and still am — caring, intelligent and good enough. The things I had weren't up for the taking. I wasn't worthless; you just weren't worthy of defining my self-worth for me.

It's funny how the strongest people don't realize exactly how strong they are until they experience something that doesn't allow them to be anything but temporarily weak. I hope one day you can find your own strength. I hope you find one that doesn't make you feel like you need to tear others down in the process.

Best,

The girl you almost convinced