By EJ Apicello
About the Book
Welcome to my diary, my journey, as I tripped and crawled through the darkest time in my life- when I witnessed people that I held incredibly close to me shatter my very existence with their words and actions. The things within this book spine are extremely raw and exceptionally real. You and I are going to get very close, the details in this book, although oddly general, are incredibly specific. Yes, I realize what I just said and as you read my words you will see what I mean. As you silently gasp and mentally bitch slap me, please be kind because my story is just that – my story. It is not any more or less special than yours. In fact the only difference between our stories are the choices we made at each of the crossroads in our lives. For most of my life the choices I made were not based on my happiness but on everyone else’s. This book describes what I have experienced in my journey to finding my happiness and hopefully never letting it go. Sadly, it took me thirty six years to find the strength I need to detoxify my life and self view and find someone who is worthy of my awesomeness. Thirty six years to shatter the negative foundation I had built shatter the ultimate representative I created to hide behind and begin the process of building a new foundation. Only this foundation will be built on strength, confidence and above all, happiness. So take a minute or thirty and sit with my story for a while. You never know what you might find out.
About the Author
Welcome to my real, crazy, emotional, probably too honest journey. I am an everyday girl in this everyday world trying to keep my head above water and within the pages of this book you will learn about the things that have broken me down and the steps I am taking to build back up. You will see, my new friends, that this story is written in a unique, general, conversational voice, which was my choice. I want you to be able to picture yourself in my shoes, relate my trials and tribulations to yours and see that you too can find your happiness. Even if you don’t realize this yet, every single one of us possesses things inside of ourselves that we didn’t know were there. It took my life taking a crazy right turn and dumping me at the lowest possible point before I could see the strength within myself. We are not defined by what we do, we are defined by the choices we make. I decided when I put pen to paper that I want my choices to start defining me as strong, confident, secure and above all else, happy. So, who am I? How about I tell you who I was – a self loathing shell of myself who put everyone else’s happiness before my own. Herein lies my story to find that happiness and all of the ups and downs along the way. See who I was and who I am trying to become and maybe, somewhere in there, you will find out a little about yourself too.
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Raise your hand if you have ever browsed through Instagram, Facebook or any other social media platform and instantly felt crappy about your own life because you are looking at all the wonderful, seemingly effortless things your friends, family, distant acquaintances and even celebrities are posting about. Newflash here, everyone’s life is a hot mess. In fact, the reason why people post all of those amazing dinners, perfect outfits or workouts accomplished is because we all need to be validated. For some reason we have decided as a society that this validation can not be achieved simply by working our way through this game of life without a playbook. The heightened social awareness has caused people to strive to constantly be recognized for their very best. Can you imagine a world where you were judged based solely on your social media popularity? To me, that sounds like a Twilight Zone nightmare, one step away from talking Tina and the pig people. Could you spend every waking minute that you are in the presence of other people, having to keep up the perfection we filter, crop and hashtag online?
Take it from someone who has spent their life attempting to live with that perfect persona 24/7, it isn’t sustainable. The only thing you will accomplish is burning out and breaking down. I have dubbed this perfect, albeit false, sense of me as an “ultimate representative”. Basically, it comes down to taking the idea of putting your best foot forward to an extreme level. It is human nature to dust ourselves off and spruce ourselves up before a major event – first date, job interview, induction into the karate hall of fame. However after the the first kiss has been planted, the job has been won, or the ceremony comes to an end, most people return back to the sustainable, realistic versions of themselves allowing things we purposely hid from the public eye during those major events come back into the open. Our everyday person contains our good parts, but also naturally contains some not so good parts. We are human after all, raised by imperfect people who in turn were raised by imperfect people, and so on. We can all agree that this cycle is as old as our very existence no matter how you believe man came to be.
At a very young age, even before I realized what I was doing, I created this permanent shield, my ultimate representative, to hide behind because I wanted people to only see the good parts of me at all times, the ones that I knew would not be rejected. If ever there was a situation where a piece of the “real me” peeked through and was noticed, it made my life too uncomfortable to continue, even if the response to my true self was not in a negative way. To add insult to injury, this facade of pathetic perfection has followed me from childhood straight through until about a year ago, and I am well into adulthood at this point. I worked tirelessly to always ensure that the things I did, opinions I voiced, or actions I took, were perfect and correct because only then would I allow myself to feel successful.
Wait, what? Successful? How on this green Earth could I, or anyone for that matter, think that my personal, intrinsic, success could be quantified by how other people saw me or perceived my actions? My personal success, as is yours, as is everyone’s, is determined only by yourself. Remember, I am not talking about career success, car success, or house success those are all material things. The way you feel about yourself, the you that you feel proud to show the world can only be decided upon within you. Be warned, I am going to request that you do a little homework now. When you have some time, find a quiet place and flip through your past actions and memories. Rewind past all of your major life events where you would have displayed your regular representative and instead, focus on the everyday, how you handled the little things. What version of yourself did you show the world, the true you or only the best parts of you? How hard did you work in order to make other people happy so that their versions of you they saw appeared successful? Are you hiding behind your ultimate representative as I was?