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When I think about my life and the direction it is going, I quickly become anxious…

I have lived my whole life in fear that I will never accomplish anything substantial. I have been taught that if I don’t do great things that I will never amount to anything; that I will never truly leave my mark on this world.

I turned 22 this week and I’ve been thinking about how old I am… Let’s all laugh in synchrony. I start brooding in my own thoughts about how I don’t have my degree yet, I am at dead-end job, and I am living my life the way I am ‘supposed’ to live it. I am doing all the right steps, but somehow I still feel unfulfilled? I still feel like there are pieces of my puzzle missing.

One of my childhood friends just got married and she’s having a baby boy. I couldn’t be more excited for her. My other friend is graduating college this year– a whole year before me. She’s excelling and has the most coolest life/internship ever… And I can’t help but feel like I am doing something wrong.

Both of my friends are on such different paths, but they have their lives together. They know what they want and how hard they’re willing to fight to get it. I don’t have that same passion for life as they do, because I feel like I’ve been given this big hindrance called self-doubt. I’m never sure of anything, I don’t know what I want and I’m constantly second-guessing if what I do want is going to amount to everyone else’s expectations of what my life should be.

In an ideal world, I would be so happy. I’d be married, and would throw the best, most beautiful wedding anyone has ever seen. I’d have a baby, and I’d foster as many children as my means allowed me to. I’d be a surrogate mother for someone who isn’t able to have children. I’d live in a big house, like the one’s you see in the magazines. I’d have a partner who supported every dream and goal I had, no matter the consequences. My family would be whole– I’d have my mother and my father, all my siblings and none of my family members would be sick. My friendships would be lifelong… My best friend and I would buy houses next door to each other like Lucy and Ethel. Our babies would be best friends and as would our husbands… We’d be happy and never fight. I wouldn’t be scared about my future and the impending unknown of the world I lived in. It’d be perfect and more than ideal. There wouldn’t be such a thing as depression or suicide… Nobody would ever be raped or hurt. There would be no need for law enforcement because everyone would just follow the rules and live happily, peacefully, just existing. But, this isn’t my ideal world and I’m scared for my future, for my life and the uncertainties that I am hindered with. I don’t know how to live unapologetically and do the things I wish I could do.

I love my parents, even the one who isn’t involved in my life anymore and they really did try… I did learn a lot and I turned out OK. I’m not doing drugs or selling my body on the street. I’m able to support myself and it is because of the things they’ve taught me and I’ve learned. But, the one thing I wish I would’ve been taught more of was self-love and not to doubt every thing that isn’t “normal”… Nobody is normal and nobody’s lives turn out exactly how the envisioned them. But I was taught to work for my dreams and never settle, which has given me so much hurt and disappointment because not all dreams are realistic.

A year ago, when I decided to cut off my toxic parent, I made the decision to live unapologetically. To do more than exist and be the person I’ve always wanted to be. I truly stopped caring about what everyone around me was thinking and just started living.

I stopped holding my life up to the expectations of what “normal” is. I don’t expect anything anymore, that way when something positive does happen, I’m excited and happy instead of just expecting good things to happen. That might sound so negative to some people, but to a person who is a constant control freak, it is so liberating.

I’ve recently got my nose pierced, something I never would’ve done before… I would’ve cared way too much about what my mom would think or how people would perceive me. I’m going to get a new tattoo, probably on my hip and it’s going to be so rad. I’ve started slowly transitioning to blonde hair, because life is too short not to do crazy things that you want to do. I’ve been planning vacations and doing random things that make me happy– like spending all night at a dance club, drenched in sweat, but feeling so free. I get drunk until my lips are numb and everything is hysterically funny and is kind of blurry. I’m not saying all of my decisions are smart, but I am not afraid if they’re stupid.

We have one life to live. That means I’m going to eat that fucking 900 calorie piece of cake. I’m going to dance on the table, I am going to say how I feel and I’m going to have that God damn open bar at my wedding so everyone can enjoy themselves. I’m going to be a surrogate mother whether or not anyone agrees with it. I’m going to travel the world and drink the best wines, eat the most delectable foods and laugh until I cry. I don’t care what people think anymore because I know what it feels like to die… Or at least to lose some part of you and think you could’ve lived so much more.

I’m not scared of this world anymore because all of our fates are the exact same. We will all end up six feet under ground anyways… Nobody is going to care about what I did once I am dead, so why should I care about what everyone thinks now?

If you can relate to this on any level, start asking yourself are the people or self-doubt worth all of the life you have not lived? It’s OK to be a little overweight because the food is just so damn good. It’s okay to wear a foundation that oxidizes or blue eyeshadow because you want to, regardless if it looks good or appealing to others. Don’t let anyone tell you less is more if more is what you desire. Don’t settle for other people’s expectations of what you could be or should be… Be your own example. Set your own expectations– that way even if they aren’t met you’ve only really let yourself down, but even that is fixable.

I wish I would’ve thought this way three even four years ago… I wouldn’t have been so lost. I probably wouldn’t have made myself suffer and would have done what was best for myself earlier.

The day you start living for yourself is truly the first day of your life. I can’t imagine living any other way now… I might have lost some people, but I gained something so much more valuable. My own confidence, self-worth and love. That is more than anyone could ever give me. That should be more than enough for you to live unapologetically.

If you’re ever questioning yourself or think, “What if I died tomorrow? Have I been living the life I want to live?” and if your answer is no, then maybe it’s time to change. And when it is, I want to hear all about it and how happy you are. How fulfilled you feel… How much love and appreciation you have for yourself. Be your own hero, be your own savior– nobody else ever will be.

– Taylor