Katie Whetman's Definition of Bona Fide

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Let’s just face it, being a girl is hard. It just is. Being “real” isn't always easy when we live in a world telling us that being real means looking flawless at all times, that it’s normal to converse by leaving “comments” on instagram posts (that may or may not reflect genuine love) & worst of all, that we should push away our fears and insecurities in hopes of furthering this facade that a successful life is determined by how many “likes” we receive. Well let me tell you something. “Likes” are just a number; what really matters is if YOU like yourself. If at the end of the day you can lay in bed proud of what you accomplished, you’re doing good. If you ask me, the sign of true individual success is real, genuine love for oneself. Don’t get me wrong, I know this is easier said than done. I’m no stranger to heartbreak, discouragement & frustration. People often say “Girls compete. Women empower.” With that said and without delving too deeply into my past, I will just say that I haven’t always been a woman and I haven’t always been surrounded by them. High school was a hard time for me; something tragic happened and I’d never felt so alone in my life. Though no one would have guessed or questioned my happiness because I like so many others, put on a show. I participated in student government, I was a cheerleader AND an honor student. I don’t tell you this to brag; this part of my story is relevant because no one would have ever known I was struggling because I was too afraid to own it. When I eventually did speak out and talk to the girls (emphasis on the word GIRLS, rather than women) who I thought I could trust, I was betrayed & suddenly the center of vicious rumors and lies. It’s sad and unfortunate, but like the quote says, “girls compete.” Instead, I invite us to strive to be women who back each other up, are happy for each other and open our arms to vulnerabilities & honesty! During that lonely time of life, I had lots of time to think. I thought about everything and nothing and I started to realize that I didn’t need positive feedback or recognition from others, what I needed to do was learn to love myself. It wasn’t easy and sometimes I’m still hard on myself, but I slowly started to realize and OWN my imperfect, perfect life. I began loving my flaws and learned how to laugh at the beautiful messiness of it all. Of course life is easier when we have people by our side that we can count on to have our best interests at heart; but what’s most important to me, is that I support, believe in & truly love who I am all by myself. I now recognize that I don’t need the approval of anyone other than me and it doesn’t matter if anyone “likes” my photos or “follows” my page because I like the person I’ve become. Do I make mistakes? Yes. Am I flawed? Yes. Is my life perfect? HAHAH No. Should I try to act like it is? No way. To me, being real is being honest & true not only with others, but with myself. Live authentically, laugh at the craziness life brings our way, and most importantly, love yourself because at the end of the day, YOUR opinion of you is the only one that really matters. And if you don’t like yourself right now, figure out what it is that’s holding you back from being the absolute best, happiest version of yourself. Ultimately, my true hope for this rant is that the amazing WOMEN reading this will start owning their insecurities and realize their divine, beautiful & inspired potential. Go do good and love yourself!