Do you find yourself searching for a reset button? Perhaps you use New Year’s resolutions as a way to commit to being a better you, but quickly realize in 364 days as you’re counting down the final seconds of the year that you have fallen short? I know I do.
For example, every January, I vow to work out more frequently and give up pizza. Instead, I find every excuse in the book to trick my husband into skipping the gym.
“Oh, my stomach hurts.”
“Oops, I forgot my sneakers.”
“I’m on my period – cramps, you just wouldn’t get it.”
Husband, if you’re reading this, just remember the 10 or so days I did make it to the gym in this new year 🙂
I’ve noticed this same mentality creeps into others aspects of my life. Take my blog for example.
Karolina State of Mind was created to write stories that are raw and authentic in hopes of making at least one person reading feel like they are not alone, that everyone goes through peaks and valleys. After 11 years of being a pageant girl, I walked off of the stage in 2017 feeling completely lost. A significant part of my identity was built around pageants, and upon giving up that dream, I lacked a clear direction. Quite honestly, half the time I felt like I was living a double life: On one side, I was chasing perfection. On the other, I wanted the world to see me as carefree instead of stereotyping me into one persona.
I took to writing and Instagram to express myself, both through words and fashion, but quickly felt defeated. Not only is it difficult to grow your brand from the bottom up, but it also requires a lot of time and effort that I simply don’t have with a full-time job. In addition, I often beat myself up over what to post, still struggling to branch away from my glamorous, pageant persona and yearning to position myself as a relatable person. This means I am constantly trying out new aesthetics, different types of photography, and various topics. As a result, I end up feeling inadequate, making excuses for why I’m not blogging or putting in the effort with my feed, and discount my appreciation for the finer things in life in hopes of making others feel more comfortable around me.
In college, one of my professors asked the students to read, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. In this book, Ruiz offers four simple rules to live by to free oneself from self-imposed limitation and unhappiness. I won’t tell you what they are, rather I encourage you to find out for yourself, but one of the agreements focuses on integrity. The following quote has stuck with me ever since: “Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
Recently, I reread the book. Honestly, mainly because the bolded words have been haunting my dreams for months now, but also because I needed to hear Ruiz’s words to make my insecurities disappear and to stop running away from my past.
The reality is, pageants did impact my life and they did teach me quite a lot. I learned how to take care of my body, command a room, speak with conviction, accept failure, not take everything so personally, and to take pride in my goals and dreams. In addition, there is no shame in wanting to be beautiful. I love putting on makeup and wearing a boujee outfit, as do many women, and we need to stop shaming those that feel the same way. Beauty and fashion have always been two of many ways individuals can express themselves, and I love painting my face and scrolling through 7,434 items on ASOS. I also LOVE looking scrolling through beautiful pictures of beautiful people. I am happy for them.
When my friend Cassie of C.Wolf Photography asked for my assistance with her January photography project around the “New Year, same fabulous me” concept, I was totally on board with anything that included confetti, sparkles and champagne. What I didn’t realize was exactly how much I needed a shoot like this. I have been looking at the images for days now, and don’t recognize the person I am seeing. Because who I am in these pictures, the genuine laughter and happiness that Cassie captured, is someone I haven’t seen in years prior to getting married (S/O to the best husband in the world). Today, I feel fierce, open, filled with joy and God, and am determined to bring warmth – both to my followers and loved ones.
If you are like me, stop running from yourself. Control the urge to brush off a nice compliment about your success or your outfit, or the fact that you are glamorous and you know it. Quit making excuses, like “I have a full-time job,” and start living. With enough drive and passion, you can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t put yourself down in an effort to make someone else feel better about themselves. Quite frankly, those types of people don’t belong in your life. Surround yourself with empowering, supportive, brilliant friends – the kind that celebrates your successes with you and shares in your sorrows.
A new year doesn’t mean you have to change who you truly are. Although, if you do end up embracing your inner boujee self, know you totally do deserve those high-end, luxury heels 😉
As my 2019 motto states: Be present. Live in color. Be YOU. The fabulous you.