Last week, Laguna Hall hosted its annual "Just As You Are", which consists of daily challenges for the young ladies to focus on their inner beauty while cutting out some possible unhealthy "masks" that society's women tend to hide behind daily. I found this entire experience to be incredibly helpful for me to really understand and realize my insecurities that I struggle with as a young woman in today's culture and society. Because, let's face, it is hard to maintain confidence in yourself and try to please everyone simultaneously. As each challenge was posted for us each day, keep in mind that they would all roll over for the following days throughout the week, so you weren't done with it so easily!
Day 1: Reflect & Remove Your Mask
Monday was no make up for the girls. We started off the week by covering up our mirrors in our rooms to fight agains tthe pressure of always having to be beautiful on the outside for everyone to see. Personally, I wasn't torn apart with this challenge, as I only wear eyeliner most days. On top of this, I was rather sick and, frankly, didn't feel like putting eyeliner on anyway. I felt very comfortable not wearing anything on my face that day. I realized that make up wasn't really a "mask" that I put on. Not wearing eyeliner actually made me feel a bit comfortable and secure that I feel I don't need to wear make up to feel accepted or pretty. It did make me realize how much I don't rely on this, but I actually used judgement a lot as a mask to cover up insecurities that I feel. So although I didn't feel like I had a complete revelation, I had to deal with other insecurities about myself of not always feeling good enough.
Day 2: Be The Gift of Yourself
Tuesday was no social media. This challenge made me surprised at how much I actually go on social media on my phone. I accidentally pulled up Facebook at one point that morning, just automatically without even thinking about it. At that moment I felt kind of bad that that even happens. As I continued the challenge though, I noticed that not only did my phone's battery last longer, but I had a lot more free time to study, talk to friends, journal, etc.
Day 3: Be The Beloved
Wednesday morning, our RA on my floor posted a piece of blank paper on each of the rooms for all of us to write sweet and encouraging notes to each other in the hall. At the end of the day, seeing all of the kind notes, I felt so thankful and happy to be apart of such a lovely floor of ladies. I felt worthy and as if I had another family at school. This gave me some determination to be more kind and nice to everyone that I see, which can sometimes be hard if I'm being honest.
Day 4: Be Still
No music?! Okay, so this was pretty hard for me. I feel like I am constantly listening to music in my room (if I'm not on Netflix or in class). I never felt like it was a mask, and really didn't feel that was the case even during/after the challenge. Giving this up did give me more peace and quiet time for myself to just meditate and focus on more important things and actually put more attention on homework and prayer as well.
This was the end of J.A.Y.A. and I felt like I learned and came to more truths about myself through getting rid of such major distractions that we have in this extremely busy and fast-paced society that we live in. I am so incredibly happy and thankful that I participated in this last week, I would definitely encourage anyone to complete these challenges even if you chose one a day or one for the whole week. It makes you rethink where you should find your worthiness and beauty from. God has shown me so much about myself this past week and now I can work on overcoming my insecurities and focus on loving people and accepting everyone as they are.
I am simply a young woman learning and loving life, trying my best in all that I do to keep Jesus at the center of it all. Follow me on my social media accounts linked on the top of the page to stay up to date!