This is a very special piece by an incredible young woman who has kindly decided to share her story with us so that we may be inspired and empowered by her journey. I hope you enjoy and I know you will love reading about her journey and perhaps you may find aspects of her story that may be able to help you with aspects of your own. After reading this piece I am incredibly inspired and honored for her to be apart of the MelloMel community-enjoy!
My name is Leah bird. I am nineteen, turning twenty in December- a proud Sagittarius (and member of Hufflepuff). I am currently in a strange phase in my life consisting of a lot of self-exploration. I feel like everything is a mess all the time- sometimes a happy mess, filled with so much laughter and love, and sometimes a sad mess when I’m dealing with my anxiety and depression, where things feel like they’ll be in a dull hue forever. I’m writing to you today to share what it’s like to be in this binary-opposition-like mess. Hopefully you’ll gain some insight if you’re experiencing a similar sort of thing.
I am currently studying a general Bachelor of Arts with my potential majors as Linguistics and English. I strive academically – writing essays and studying is my thing. However, I’m finding this degree difficult, not because I’m failing but because my instinct tells me that I should be engaging with my passions more. I love to dance and make art. My heart feels like it’s at home when I’m on stage with my lips painted red or when I’m painting with my new set of watercolours. I’ve been told many times that my so-called potential, manifested by my 6-distinction matric, is being wasted on a general BA. What would those people say if I went into a career of the arts? A helpful piece of advice given to me was that I should have balance: if I decide to continue with the BA, I should not stop dancing- academics and passions can work together. So, I go to dance classes twice a week still, along with my daily, reason-less, dance outbreaks. Although my mind is still on a see-saw about what I should pursue as a career, my future doesn’t need to be figured out right now. As long as I succeed in one small thing a day, even as small as getting out of bed and getting some sun on my skin, then I will make the right decisions for myself in the long run. The future is impossible to control – it is the present we should be focused on.
With regards to self-confidence and a positive body image, it’s been an ongoing roller coaster. My body and I haven’t had a symbiotic relationship for the longest time. In the last few years, I’ve been trying my best to be gentle with myself, to listen to my body, and treat it in such a way that was nurturing to my mind and soul. I felt like I was achieving some sort of equilibrium. Until my acne flared up and my weight fluctuated during my gap year. After consulting my gynecologist for a usual check-up, she diagnosed me with PCOS about a month ago- a hormonal imbalance that could be ‘cured’ with weight loss. The most ironic solution! I feel like a superhero in a movie- the one thing that could solve most of my problems (weight fluctuation, mental health issues, acne…) is the thing I hate the most. Dieting. It’s been rough. I think people think it’s okay to fat-shame others when there’s some medical evidence to support it. I’ve been trying so hard to be gentle with myself and to trust that my body will respond positively to that gentleness. It’s hard when I’ve dieted once in my life before and strongly believe that anyone can be their best version of themselves despite any physical appearance. We live in a society where being thin equates to health, but what happens when that thin person toxifies their insides with cigarettes and alcohol? I don’t know. Everyone seems to turn a blind eye. But heavens forbid if I gain weight or go on a diet- suddenly it’s everyone’s business because I’m becoming “healthier”, even though I am at optimal health with my blood pressure, hydration levels, exercise… all that stuff. Blah.
The third aspect that I’d like to share with you is my relationship. My partner is beautiful. She brings so much happiness to my life that my heart can hardly take the love on some days. She is just wonderful. A few years ago, I was in a toxic relationship that ended badly, and it was unbearably painful for a long time. I thought I would never feel loved again by a significant other because I felt damaged by this break up. Sometimes the feeling of not being good enough that manifested in my last relationship comes up in my current relationship. For the last 8 months, I have been blessed: I feel loved, supported and am reminded every day that I am good enough to feel an abundance of happiness. There are ups and downs, as there are in all relationships, but the thing that helps the most to alleviate those downs is honesty. I make sure that I communicate how I feel and in turn, my partner practices that same honesty with me. It is a gift that I could not be more grateful for. I was born into a family of acceptance and love as the main priority and so my journey of coming to terms with my sexuality has not been a difficult one. Of course, there are closed-minded people who I have encountered and am surely going to encounter in the future – but I am here and I am proud to be myself more than anything.