Let's Talk: Nobody's perfect

By The Beacon | February 24, 2016 5:14pm

By Mara Midiere |


Sometimes I feel like other people think or expect me to have a life that is organized, based on my workload, my extrac-urricular activities and my social life. This can be flattering, but it’s definitely not true. If people comment on how I seem on top of things in class, I say thank you, but they don’t know that I work incredibly long, stressful hours, panicking about getting anything lower than an A-. If people comment on my makeup or my Instagram pictures, I say thank you, but they don’t know that makeup is sometimes a security blanket for my body-image issues. If people comment on my body or how great it is that I work out a lot, I say thank you, but they don’t know that I work out to try to help alleviate my depression, which stems largely from hating my body after years of sports injuries, illness and other persistent medical conditions. For most of my life, especially in high school and my first year of college, I worked hard to portray the image of the girl who had her life together. In high school, I pushed myself to excel in difficult advanced classes, did both club and school sports, held several leadership positions and tried to maintain a diverse friend group. I aspired to this sort of “golden child” image, trying to be pleasant, proactive and never cause trouble for my friends or the adults in my life. Growing up in the Bay Area didn’t help this, because there is definitely this underlying, incredible pressure to be a star student, attend an amazing college, and have a successful professional life by your early 20s. This aspiration caused major stress when things weren’t going well for me in school, in sports or with my family and friends, and I repressed feelings that were sure signs of depression for years because of the image I wanted to maintain. Coming to UP changed everything for me. Freshman year was rough, because being away from home made me realize I had to confront all of my issues. The combination of school stress, having to make new friends and finding my place in this totally unfamiliar area was too much, and at the end of the year I cracked. I realized finally that I was struggling with depression; I wasn’t OK, and I needed help. Once I finally admitted I wasn’t OK, I got lots of help from my family and friends. I met with (and still meet) with a counselor at UP, and have felt welcomed by Active Minds. I still struggle with inadequacy and body-image issues, but I am making progress. I have finally learned that I don’t need to have everything together. Though I’m not a huge fan, I think Hannah Montana makes a great point: “Nobody’s perfect. I gotta work it.” Let’s remember that perfectionism is not the goal, and that it is OK to not be OK.

Mara Midiere is a sophomore organizational communications major and can be reached at midiere18@up.edu.