Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Different is Beautiful" by Our New Guest Blogger Erika-Lynn

We all search for something, something that drives our happiness, something that empowers us. We need to not be afraid of who we are and embrace every part of our beautiful differences. Have you ever thought about what makes you happy or what makes you unique? What embodies you and makes you who you are? It can be very hard in today’s society to break free from the social norms and be yourself. We are human; we are all made up of different values, emotions, obsessions and goals. For some reason we all strive for the need to fit in and be accepted at an early age. We seem to be so quick to hide or change anything about ourselves that is different from our social group. Approval seeking behavior is one of the more destructive traps in a society programmed to excel by gaining acceptance from others. Society has made its own definition of what’s normal and expected. Whether it’s in the form of fashion, beauty, lifestyle or body image etc. 

                 I have gone through situations in my life, as well have most of you that make us question who we are. My journey in my life has been with a lifestyle choice I made. I choose to live my life abstaining from alcohol. This doesn’t mean I judge people who drink or choose to enjoy life in different ways or that I am in recovery! This also doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to have fun! We are all entitled to live in a way that makes us genuinely happy without the criticism of the people around us. At the age when my group of friends started drinking, I knew it was not something I enjoyed. I hated the smell, taste everything about it from beer to wine! I thought how can it be so easy for everyone to chug down beers like its water and I want to cry if I even smell it! It became an extremely uncomfortable situation for me! Of course we all want to fit in and be part of what’s going around us, but how could I? I didn’t think anyone would understand if I told them. So I needed to find a solution and find it quick! I decided I could probably handle something sweet and fruity; besides it probably taste like candy and who doesn’t love candy! Ah hah Malibu came to the rescue! Although this seemed like a solution it posed another problem. When you are young and going to parties who wants to mix drinks it’s easier to get a 30 pack and split it with your friends, oh and cheaper! Now I have to persuade each weekend someone to drink this with me, hmmmm not so easy! I was doing this just so I could have fun just like everyone else and not be the one person who sticks out. I never liked being the center of attention and me not drinking brought all the attention! It is intimidating to face a social situation where everyone has a cocktail in there hand, knowing I hated it! I did not like feeling hot and sweaty, it’s also did not look attractive! I certainly did not like the feelings the morning after! I wanted to wake up feeling good and somewhat productive. This drinking thing and I were not meant to be friends. Nevermind the fact that the taste of that stuff and the burning in my stomach was horrible, how do they do it?! Seriously have you ever been around a large group of drinking fools and you aren’t! Well the spotlight is on you and be ready for the 50 questions!
                Hey we are all different and there is a reason why we are, it makes the world turn! It took years to finally embrace what makes me, well me, and to not be afraid to answer the 50 questions! Now that I have accepted and am proud of my choices, the criticism came. You would not believe the multiple responses I got to my reply of "No thank you I don’t drink”. The first reaction is usually body language they react as if I just said I have some contagious skin eating virus...haha! The usual verbal responses are listed below!
"Your no fun"...”How do you do that"...” Are you in recovery”? So then you must do drugs"...”What stuff do you do for fun then if you don’t drink"...”you are boring"...”you need to let loose "...."just have 1 it won’t kill you".. Hmmm no thank you I am happy just the way I am! I think maybe two times some responded with “wow that is rare and I am impressed”. Seriously why must I be judged? This is a personal choice I made just like you choose to stand there slurring your words looking at me cross eyed, tilting a little to the left! Actually they say when you’re drunk you speak the truth, maybe I should take you up on that offer and then tell you what I am really thinking as I stand here smiling while you ramble on! Instead I will sit here and focus on conversations and catching up with friends and reinforce the reasons why I don’t drink! I am 100% just as happy as those of you who drink! Besides, do I really care what others opinions are of how I live my life? No, I don’t and neither should you. We all have one chance here and I choose to live it as healthy as I can and not the way other people expect me to. Stand up for what you believe in, if people judge you, get rid of them! When you finally get the courage and strength to embrace your uniqueness it can be very empowering. Empowering for you and for the people whom cross your path. Guide your life by your set of values not ones imposed from the outside. If you rely on the approval of others you will never attain satisfaction and self-content.

                Now go out there and be confident, love yourself, encompasses every part of you. Be proud of every choice you make, it is your life, your path. Nobody’s opinion can make you. Be supportive and non-judgmental to everyone you meet, we all have our own story!
I would love to hear yours, so send me your comments, thoughts, ideas or questions! You can check in soon my next topic will be my journey competing on stage in Bikini Fitness!!


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