Confidence is hard thing to maintain

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Photo by unknown

Story by Carlye Hudspeth, Co-editor in chief

Junior year.

With only a few days left until the homecoming dance, I’m frantically flipping through boxes of ribbon, sequins, glitter, and various other crafty items in attempt to spice up my mum. After sifting through a good three or four boxes, I try to cram the supplies back into a cabinet.

However, in the process, my elbow hits the corner of a plastic bin, causing hundreds of pictures to scatter all over my laundry room floor.

After taking in a deep breath, I bend down and start to gather the photos, pushing loose strands of hair behind my ear. Just as I start to put the stack of photos back in the bin, I take notice to the picture on top. A picture of a girl I once knew, but had disappeared a few years earlier. Her grey-blue eyes squinted in the sunlight, smile taking up half of her face.

Everything about her screamed confident, happy. But she was gone, and nobody seemed to notice she was missing. In fact, I’d almost forgotten about her until I came across that picture. But as soon as I was reminded of her, I knew that I had to do everything in my power to find her again.

Carlye Rebecca Hudspeth had been gone far too long, and only I could bring her back.

It’s weird to think about my past, about the way things used to be.

About the seventh grade Carlye. A tomboy, sporting jeans, a T-shirt and tennis shoes on a daily basis. Her appearance meant almost nothing to her, thoughts focused on bettering her percussion skills rather than makeup and hair products.

I was weird and proud, and content with the way I looked.

But then, I reached the eighth grade. And in the eighth grade, things were different.

In the eighth grade, it was no longer acceptable to wear a ponytail daily. Clothes mattered, makeup was worn, and boys were cute.

In the eighth grade, my average figure was no longer acceptable.

I was no longer acceptable.

So I changed.

The transition into high school was hard for me. I left my tennis shoes, T-shirts, and confidence back at the middle school and traded them for American Eagle attire and Clinique makeup.

My tummy was shrinking, but in my eyes, not fast enough.

I was filled with imperfections, and I knew it.

I was far from where I wanted to be, not happy with my appearance and ashamed of my shy personality.

I refused to see the good qualities I’d been blessed with, focusing only on the ones I viewed as negative.

So I lost more weight, and lost more of myself in the process.

By the time I entered my junior year, the care-free, confident girl I once was had been replaced by a smaller waist and mascara.

I had fallen in a deep pit of insecurity, and it seemed as if the more time passed, the deeper that pit became.

About halfway through my junior year, I came to the realization that maybe I was being too hard on myself. That maybe being me wasn’t so bad, after all. That my flaws were a part of who I was, but in no way defined me. Maybe, my shy personality wasn’t such a bad thing, and makeup wasn’t a necessity.

To this day, I struggle with both my confidence and self-image. However, I’m getting better.

High school is hard. We’re thrown in a mess of homework and extracurricular activities and pressures, and expected to somehow ‘find ourselves’ in the process.

I can tell you firsthand, confidence can be a hard thing to maintain, especially at this important time in our lives.

It’s easy to lose who we truly are. To have a distorted view of ourselves. To not give ourselves enough credit.

Once confidence lost gone, getting it back is a lengthy process. I’ve been trying to improve mine for over a year, and catch myself falling into the same mindset I had a my tenth grade year several times throughout the day.

But my hope is that one day, I will see myself the way I did when I was in middle school.

Smart.

Beautiful, with or without makeup.

Kind.

Important.

And my prayer is that you see yourself that way, too.