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Wow. What a crazy few months that it has been. As everything calms down, I'm now taking the time to relearn myself. It is a crazy idea to feel like I am rediscovering who I am at 27. You would think I might have it figured out by now, but it seems that this is an ever-evolving adventure. It feels foreign to open up about the things that make me the most vulnerable. About the things that scare me, but I guess since my private life has already been in the public eye for months, I might as well share the healing side of things as well. So here it goes...

My entire life I have had this idea that I had to fit a certain mold. That there were these expectations that I had to live up to in order to be "me". I'm very comfortable with the version of myself that I present to the world. Smile. Keep your head up. Never let them see you sweat. If I stayed in character and only presented the very best version of myself surely people would like me. Right? Well yes, kind of, I've always had great people around me and for the most part I have kept my reputation fairly spotless. Very few people in my life have ever known the parts of me that I keep hidden from the world. The hurt. The letdowns. The embarrassments. It has always been far easier to appear "strong" in the face of disappointment or heartache than to let people see me break. So I have always buried the negatives. If I put the things that hurt me or scare me in an airtight box and push it as far under my (metaphorical) bed as humanly possible than those things don't exist. Right? Wrong.

It honestly wasn't until I was forced to face my most disappointing life experience in a very public way that I realized that being "my best self" isn't what makes me strong. Strength comes from the hurt. It comes from the tears that you're not afraid to let fall. From the openness that goes along with sharing your story. From the vulnerability of owning your mistakes and facing your insecurities head on.

I have been so moved by the stories and the messages that I have received from people who have had similar experiences in their own lives. In fact, this was one of the things that helped me through such a tough time. The feeling of not being alone. The knowing that there are other people out there who have felt heartache. That have felt like they didn't measure up or that someone took them for granted. It is a disheartening feeling when you are facing it on your own, but when you hear hundreds of similar stories you learn that your heartbreak isn't yours to carry alone.

I have recently allowed myself to take a more objective view of my life. When I doubt myself I take a step back and try to think of myself like a friend. If one of my friends or my sister was facing what I am would I think less of them for their mistakes? Would I judge them for their tears? Would I push them away if they felt down? Never. I would love them a little harder. I would appreciate their trust in allowing me to see them at their most vulnerable. So then, why can't I show the same grace to myself. Why must I keep it together all of them time? This is where IM/PERFECT stems from.

Not to rip off Jessie J, but It's OK not to be OK. It's ok to give yourself a little grace. To find your truest strength in the moments that make you feel weak. To find confidence in the areas in which you are the most insecure. I have decided to stop hiding behind my desire to be "perfect" and to allow my self to be IM/PERFECT. We are all perfect, but mostly due to our imperfections.

If there is anyone else out there who can relate I hope you'll share your stories, advice, or journey as well!

<3 Haley


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