VIVIAN SOTO

WHAT'S MY NAME? VIVIAN SOTO

Talking about my story openly is difficult. Not because I feel shame or embarrassment, simply because of reliving past trauma. Being a woman is hard enough but even harder with external pressure such as being a minority, the firstborn, and desiring success etc.  Those pressures become challenges and obstacles as you get older. No one can prepare you for Life, I mean our parents try but they are barely keeping it together (something you realize as you get older). So, considering obstacles I have faced in my 26 years of life, I realize the journey is what matters. We always want to talk about triumphant moments because the culture we live in make it significant. We love to glorify beauty and perfection even though we are all human and know very well life is imperfect.

The part of my story I want to discuss is being yourself. Because I know how hard it is to be just “You.” Being you is so easily comprehended but a hard pill to swallow. Being “you” is hard to allow when we live in a world with expectations that make being you, impossible. The transition from high school to college is when being my true self was impacted. Being comfortable with “me” was not as easy as it is today. I cared too much about external pressures and I can sometimes fall back into a destructive pattern. There is plenty of judgement when a woman is truly herself. The double standard is real and makes it impossible to be authentic. How could I have gone through all those major transitions with the external pressures subconsciously affecting me. Navigating through the greatest pressure of my mom being diagnosed with a mental disorder was the biggest life transition. I will not go into her diagnoses too much because this still affects me, 8 years later. At the end of the day those are simply labels.

All these expectations are simply that; A LABEL with added pressure. This is something I am realizing more and more each day. What I am basically trying to say is not give a FUCK and just be you.

But, how do you do that? You work on yourself every day; Doing this is difficult trust me, I know. I am no one “special” but I am judged all the time. This judgment has affected me in so many ways that I doubt myself a lot. How can I be confident but struggle with self-doubt?! The answer is you cannot. You have to live life for you. I am this happy girl, yes. Do I stress when I think about my future? All the time. Do I love my body? Yes. Being content with who you are and where you’re at in life because of the expectations make being just you difficult. This is what I’ve been struggling with lately. I am happy and I am not where I thought I would be in life. There is a quote from a book my therapist recommended a while back ago. “Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you must let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”

I am one of the most confident people I know, I am told that by friends all the time. Even knowing the rationale behind the subconscious negative opinions is bothersome. What I’ve been working on lately is my emotional state. I’m a big advocate for mental health because I know how weak the mind can be. I have seen how my mom’s diagnoses affect her life, my life, my sister’s life, my brother’s life, my dad’s life, her sisters life, my cousins life, and my grand parents life. Taking care of your mental health is just one part of your being. Pay attention and take time to be the best you. Even when it’s hard and there is no time sit and relax. The answer to all the self-doubt and inadequate feelings and thought process is simple. Don’t escape and run away from the uneasy hard pill to swallow stuff. You need to embrace all of it to be the best you. You must go through the bad and I mean BAD moments to get to the triumphant moments. The road ahead will be frustrating and unsettling but you’ve gotten this far and only you can get back to the real YOU. No one knows you better than you, so follow that string back home. Once you do you’ll realize there is no better person to be than YOU!