Written by: Kaitlyn Luckow
When I think back to where I was five years ago, I see a young woman starting her junior year of college, surrounded by lovely people and consumed by her love of journalism and telling people's stories.
And when I look at myself today, many of that remains true: I'm surrounded by people that inspire me every single day and I love everything I do through my job as an educator as well as through telling people's stories through The Crybaby Club and my blog.
So, on the outside, it would appear that not much has changed in the past five years, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
After graduating college, I found myself in a place where I had no idea how to define myself and got caught in a place where I didn't know how to surround myself with positive people. I had a core group of friends that have always been there for me, but for a large part, my friends had dispersed all around the world and I didn't know what to do next in my life.
This resulted in me losing most of my sense of self-worth and I got involved with toxic relationships that validated my feelings of unworthiness. At the time, of course, I was completely oblivious to all of this. I thought I was "happy" and everything was "fine". Luckily, I had close family and friends who many times took me by the shoulders and shook me hard.
After over a year of my closest friends saying, "What are you doing?!" over and over again, I finally woke up. My lack of self-love had not only completely destroyed my body physically, but mentally as well.
How had I let this happen? Whatever the answer to that question is, I knew I couldn't let it continue.
I woke up and told myself that I was worth it. I was worth so much more than this. Even on days when I didn't believe it, I didn't stop telling myself this.
I got rid of all the toxic people in my life, I restored friendships that were important to me, I said yes to therapy and medication, I refused to let men give me even an ounce of disrespect, and I started creating. I became myself again.
Sometimes we can't do things on our own and sometimes we need tough love to remember how important we truly are. We are worthy. You are worthy.