Growing up and transitioning from a child to a teenager was rough on Kayla Priester. As the only child, she spent a lot of time by herself. Kayla chose to go to an all girls middle school because she thought it would be fun and give her a chance to make new friends. The three years she spent in middle school had been the toughest years of her life so far. Kayla says this because she did not have a sense of self as of yet, and she had no idea what kind of people she would surround herself with. She later learned how important self love was. During those long and hard three years, she struggled. Girls who she considered to be her friends would pick on her and bully her, constantly. They would say mean things about her and her appearance that cause Kayla to become very insecure and depressed. Kayla allowed what people said to get into her head, which led to her not sticking up for herself. Leaving middle school and going into high school, she wanted a new start. However, she was timid, insecure and unconfident. Kayla was not the outgoing and optimistic person she once was. She allowed her struggles to change her on the inside.
For a long time, she believed her greatest flaw was her kindness. Kayla allowed people to hurt her because she was so kind. For years, she struggled with accepting her appearance and personality until she realized there’s nothing she could do to change herself. As she began to accept herself and explore herself, she realized that she wouldn’t want to be anyone else, despite everything she had been through.
Kayla made a complete lifestyle audit by surrounding herself with people more like her and removing everything and everyone toxic to her growth. Kayla now dedicates a great amount of time practicing self-love and care. She began by reflecting on herself through journaling and art. From there, Kayla has gained a greater sense of self and have been the happiest she has ever been.
My advice for a young lady going through this may sound easier said than done but it’s the only way I was able to get through everything. Throughout struggles, it’s important to remain hopeful, although it may seem impossible. With the right attitude thinge can turn around for anyone. There has been plenty of times where I’ve felt stuck in a dark pit. Despite all the pain I was in, I focused on better days and wrote to myself in journals. Thats what pushed me to move forward. Now that I am here, and things are much better for me, I am thankful for my positive attitude. However, nothing is perfect and I still have days where I feel insecure and or sad. My advice to anyone who has days like this would be, to release all of that energy. I learned that keeping feelings inside of you is what hurts you the most. I often times write in my journal, and even when I don’t have a bad day, I respond to prompts like “I deserve to be loved because….” to keep my spirits up. Art could also be an outlet, whether its Visual Arts or Performance Arts. Lastly, whether its pampering or a detox of negative energies, its extremely important to look within yourself. Become comfortable with yourself and explore. Sometimes you are the person holding yourself back.
Check out Kayla’s Slide Show that she presented in school to a group of people. The presentation gives one different activities to help one self-reflect and also provides questions to ask yourself to have a positive and understanding feedback session with yourself.