Odina Weiss

Before high school, my life was a fog. My last years in middle school were spent deciphering who I was, and who I wanted to be. I left my eighth grade year hurt, insecure, and scared for what was to come. And the next thing I knew, my freshman year began--and at a private high school. 

My high school experience was excessively difficult; I despised coping with my struggles alone, yet fear and shame were holding me back from expressing them. Every passing moment became increasingly depressing and uncomfortable--I desperately needed support, but because I wasn’t willing to reach out, I had to look within; and that’s where my journey to self-love began. 

This was quite a menacing task, so I started small. I mainly strived to start taking care of myself thoroughly. I cultivated daily routines for my skin, brushing my hair and teeth, showering and so on. What was so remarkable about these routines was, in just a few weeks, I saw visual results—and I felt better! Identifying the positive effects of me caring for myself helped me gain confidence as well as strengthen my ability to tend to my own needs. 

In my childhood, I struggled locating my personal needs and wants as well as my individuality. Without fail, my priority was to please the people around me. Tending to everyones’ needs was my way of surviving. I never had any sense of identity; I had no interests, or even hobbies that gave me a sense of fulfillment. Just in the past year, have I finally gained enough strength, courage, and love to openly express my being to myself and the world. Now, I’m an extraordinarily passionate, determined, and motivated person. I can finally do what my younger self could never do: be an individual. And I can’t thank myself enough for being so strong. I encourage everyone to delve deep within themselves and ask this important question: do I love myself?