Don’t you just love it when I get deep? I recently remembered something I said to my mom a few years ago. Her response to what I said was actually pretty funny because she just didn’t understand what I was trying to say but basically what I told her was that I was struggling with who “Katalina” was. Now, I actually used the word identity which worried her because she thought I was having an actual identity crisis.

At that point, I just laughed and said nevermind but what I was trying to say was that all my life, I felt like I had to be or act like someone else to belong. I felt like I had to so that I would be accepted by other people. For a long time, being the real Katalina got me treated a certain way that made me feel hurt and isolated. My solution was, “ok, let me try and be like these people since I’m witnessing them receive the kind of love and attention I’m looking for.”

Keep in mind, all I did was try and change little things about myself that I assumed would make a big impact; The way I talked, the way I looked, the way I thought. Those little things definitely made their big impact, but not the way I wanted. It was like my mind was a working machine, figuring out what worked best and throwing away what didn’t, including pieces of myself. It was exhausting and pretty damaging to say the least.

Now, what usually happens when you act like anything other than yourself? You become lost and unhappy fairly quickly. I remember this one specific moment, where I don’t remember the actual situation, just that I was with a group of people, but I vividly remember going through my mental checklist of doing these things in the hopes that they’ll think I’m a cool person… and all of a sudden this wave of shame and emptiness came over me. I felt so broken, so sad and depressed, the only thing I thought to myself was, “But this isn’t me.”

Something as simple as laughing a little louder than I would’ve or making a specific facial expression just broke my heart in a new way. It sounds ridiculous but that’s what went on in my head on a daily basis. Growing up, I didn’t comprehend that my validation should’ve never come from those around me. I just wanted to fit in and be someone people wanted to be around. I was desperate for it, as embarrassing as it is to admit.

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.

Marilyn Monroe

Having struggled to find that throughout the years, I basically accepted the way I was treated and chalked it up to, no matter what I did, if I was myself or pretended to be like someone I admired, it still wouldn’t have been enough. That forced me to, not only accept those people in my life that made me feel that way, but also not understand that you have the power to control your circle.

Had I known that, I could’ve met people that would’ve accepted me for me. But if I’m really being honest, that probably wouldn’t have worked anyway because I didn’t accept myself, so with what authority could I make someone reciprocate that acceptance? I had to learn the hard way and it took years to get to where I’m at today, but there’s such freedom in knowing who you are, in saying your name, and accepting every part of you with such conviction that no one on this earth could ever take away.

There’s such freedom in knowing who you are

Growth and change are very different from manipulation which is exactly what I was trying to do TO myself FOR other people. If you want to control something, take control of your life without losing yourself. You’ll be accepted by others when you accept yourself. Or maybe you won’t. But at least you’ll know then, their acceptance shouldn’t even be on your list because you’re already enough.