September 14, 2020
Fear of Being Average
Ever since I was a teen, I’ve strived to be “the best” at something. And let me tell you, I was never “the best” at anything. I got straight A’s, danced competitively and always cared about my physical appearance. I thought if I was just the best dancer, best student or the prettiest then I would feel like I was good enough. Average wasn’t good enough for me. I always thought of myself of someone who would do great things and be known for reaching the top if I worked hard enough, hustled and didn’t give up. Coincidently around this same time in my life I struggled with disordered eating, anxiety and my self-esteem was based on how much cute boys paid attention to me.
After highschool, I took a year off to teach dance and study nutrition which I’ve always known was my passion. After that year, I decided to go to University to study Kinesiology because it felt like the right “next step”. In efforts to beat average, I started competing in fitness and bikini competitions while I was in university. Because getting a degree and just staying healthy wasn’t enough for me. Was it enough to be the youngest person competing in fitness modeling competitions? Well it did help my confidence and self-esteem, but I wasn’t the best and not placing in the top 5 in these competitions made me feel not good enough. During my early 20’s while I competed in these shows, I did well in school and experienced a few unhealthy romantic relationships. It felt like I had changed everything in my life compared to the teen years, but do we see a pattern here? Same feelings about myself, different time and place.
So then I graduate University and retire from competing in fitness shows. I saw the toll the shows were taking on my mind and body and I knew I needed a break from that world. Who Am I now? Where do I go from here? I fought being average for so long and I was left with an unclear career path and a somewhat lost identity. I continued to do some side jobs as a personal trainer, earned a certification as a nutrition coach and worked the job I had in university which I was interested in. I had an entrepreneurial spirit and thought THAT was going to keep me from being average.
Working part-time, became working full-time at my day job to support myself because what I was doing as my passion wasn’t paying the bills. I began to lose faith that my dreams wouldn’t carry me through life as I thought they would. I would sit at my full-time job day after day thinking, this can’t be it. This can’t be it for me! I’m not average, I can’t be average, that was NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
I went through a lot of ups and downs during the next through years. I struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety. My expectations were not matching where I had imagined myself in my mid-twenties. But I was underselling myself. I worked to please others because I desperately needed and longed for approval. I wanted approval from my family, coworkers and significant others. It wasn’t until I ended a toxic relationship that I realized I deserved more out of my life. I had lost a lot of myself in that relationship and allowed my passions to become a thing of the past. I was consumed by the thought that being a good girlfriend would fill the hole in my heart, even though the relationship wasn’t serving me to be the best version of myself. I was settling because I truly didn’t believe I was worthy of something better.
After a few months of single life getting to know myself better, it was like something radically changed inside of me. I realized I was in control of what I was attracting and the week I decided and consciously thought about the people I wanted in my life, I met my current partner who showed me what love was and what It felt like. This changed a lot for me and pushed me to take risks and the unconditional support meant the world to me. He had always thought that I was enough and this was the first step for me believing I deserved more in my life. I could be me and follow my own dreams alongside someone else chasing theirs. He believed in me more than I even believed in me, but it gave me light.
This “feeling enough” has been an ongoing theme throughout my life and for many other people I know. At some point I realized I could be an entrepreneur and work full-time. Other people did that. Some to make money and others to just feel passionate and alive at the end of the day. I had to continue to push myself to learn and keep growing. I launched a clothing line 3.5 years ago and ran wildly after that passion. It was a wild ride that taught me what “not being average” looked like. It was a lot of work, it was a lot of stress and I put enormous pressure on myself. I learned a lot about owning a business and myself.
This past year, I closed my business. Although it gave me a sense of pride and independence, I burned out. I was under so much stress to work full-time, continue online learning and run a business. It was hard and I’m so proud I did it. But I knew I couldn’t keep doing it all. That is what being more than average felt like. It was sacrificing my social life, self-care, emotional health, finances and put stress on my relationships. Then what? I walk away with the title “Entrepreneur and Business Owner” and that would make me feel like enough? It didn’t and I was realizing it.
After I closed the business, I paid off debt and moved out of the city. This girl was yearning for a sense of normalcy. I was in desperate need of a slower pace. It was very hard at first. But it helped me feel calmer, at peace with myself and less like I was trying to gain external approval. I had time for friends, hobbies and to focus on my future. This new “normal” felt really good.
I will always have an entrepreneurial spirit and I still have big dreams for myself. I just know what that needs to look like and feel like in order for me to be successful. There is so much pressure for all of us, especially on social media to be “flawless”. We see images of perfection every single day. The things and people who get the most followers or likes are not average…but tell me, are they authentic? Are they happy? Are they real? How is their mental health? Or how about their relationships?
I think it is important for women, especially to let go of being “the best”. The best mom, daughter, wife, employee, entrepreneur or homemaker. Let go of believing we have to look like models while we are juggling every other part of life. There is nothing wrong with being average and let me tell you from someone who has compared herself to death, someone else thinks YOUR normal is “life goals”! They think your little family is beautiful. They think your natural skin is gorgeous. They believe your job must be a dream job. Someone thinks you are brave, unique, successful and “have it all”.
Until you decide you are enough, nothing will fill that void for you. Not a job, a man, an award or a banging body. You have to know that you are enough right now in this present moment. We are already enough and once we start believing that, our lives will never feel just “average” again. Because it’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are and owning that as your greatest power that will lead you to living a life beyond your wildest dreams. I’m still figuring that part out, but I know that I’ve never been average, I’ve just been hiding behind the “not good enough” curtain because it was a lot more comfortable and familiar than stepping on to the “I believe in myself” stage.