Every teenager at some point feels embarrassed by who they are. It’s unfortunately common, given the impending pressure of adulthood and examinations where we’re expected to grow up quicker than we should. We start to lose sight of who we really are.
As a 19 year old reflecting on my past, I’m ashamed to say I was one of those teens.
I went through a brief phase of being embarrassed by my love for the Harry Potter series. I was always mocked for being too obsessed with it, even to the point where I didn’t pick up one of the books for a long time in fear of being made the centre of a nerd joke. I started to avoid everything that made me happy, including reading and music, simply because I cared too much about the opinions of others.
I was insecure. I felt like the outcast at school. I didn’t want to be hated because of who I was, so I changed myself to impress other people – especially those who I believed were above me on the popularity scale. I was desperate for validation. I was self-conscious about what other people thought and said about me when I wasn’t around.
But most importantly, I was lying to myself and I was refusing to embrace my individuality.
If I could go back, I would honestly slap some sense into myself.
There is nothing wrong with being a nerd. To this day, I unashamedly obsess over Harry Potter and other books. I enjoy sitting down with a nice cup of coffee, watching the latest episode of one of my favourite TV shows on Netflix, and writing. I love blaring my music out loud from my headphones and singing out loud to all of my favourite songs. I love going to gigs and being pushed around in the crowd, and losing myself whilst seeing my favourite bands live. I love being weird with my friends and coming up with lame puns.
And I love it. I love being myself, even if no one else approves. I slowly realised that I wasn’t born to impress anyone else but myself.
One lesson I gained from this was never be afraid to be you, because there is no greater feeling than living the life you want to lead.
And I say it loud and clear: be yourself and be proud.