I’ve never exactly been what you would call “shy.” Everyone in my family has really big personalities, so by default, I think I do too. I’ve always taken that as a good thing, because that’s who I am: big personality, big sense of humor, and big heart. I’m always one hundred percent myself one hundred percent of the time, which I’m completely fine with– even if my voice is sometimes fifteen times louder than I want it to be. Over the past few months I haven’t felt so much like myself, though, which has been weird and uncomfortable because despite everything that changes in life, I’ve always counted on myself to be completely present no matter what.

In the past, I’ve talked a lot about “sparkles.” I’ve typically framed them as something bad, distracting, deceptive, and ridiculous… that kind of fairytale pixie dust that’s just not worth the time in the “real world.” Stepping back and getting to know myself again has shown me that sparkles aren’t always a bad thing and that they might just have a place in my “real life” after all. Seeing the sparkle in other people has always been easy for me, but seeing the sparkle in myself? Not so much. Particularly in regards to my past romantic relationships, that’s led me to people who haven’t made that much of an attempt to help me see what I couldn’t. Then I’ve wondered whether I have any sparkle at all, and eventually I started telling myself, “nah, probably not.”

There’s always been a question mark in my mind surrounding when exactly this happened, but I don’t think it was any one particular moment… just kind of the sum of life’s many stresses and letting them pin me down and into relationships that mask the sparkle in me. I’ve gotten caught in bad patterns that keep me feeling small– I even let the same person break my heart about three different times and somehow managed to convince myself that I was the one messing up. Nobody deserves to feel small, and nobody should ever feel like they don’t add any sparkle to the world, because we all do. Everyone brings something different to the table, and everyone is who they are which is always exactly who they’re supposed to be. You should never have to apologize for who you are, but that’s what happens when someone shrinks you down; you say “I’m sorry” over and over again until you’re not quite sure what you’re apologizing for… you just “know” you’ve somehow messed up. Being yourself is never a mistake, and if someone makes you feel like that, they aren’t someone you should be around. I tend to have a big blind spot when it comes to me… slowly but surely, my vision’s coming back.

Just like doubting yourself, being sure of yourself doesn’t just come from one isolated incident– it’s a daily routine of loving yourself, remembering to be proud of the person you are, and taking note of the sparkles you have that can sometimes get masked by everyone else’s. Sparkles aren’t a bad thing; I’ve just spent too much time focusing on all the glitter around me and not enough time recognizing my own. I haven’t demanded what I’m worth from all the people in my life, so not all of them have given it to me… it’s time to start changing that and to remember my big personality and big voice when those around me forget. I’ve been trying this new thing where I say what I’m feeling and take care of myself better, and I kind of like what it’s doing for me. It’s been long overdue for me to celebrate the person that I am, because she’s sparkly and vibrant and way cooler than I’ve let her believe a lot of the time. Don’t be afraid to demand what you’re worth, and not a shimmer less. It’s okay to get distracted by the sparkles every once in a while, because they’re what make life beautiful… here’s to finding the people who aren’t afraid to get distracted by mine.

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