It’s exhausting to try and anticipate what other people want me to do. I have the option to try and figure out what I want.
As someone who was different from others, Casey faced many obstacles such as isolation and depression when she was younger. Despite these circumstances, she was triumphant because she made a choice to choose herself and to choose her own life. Casey’s mantra since high school has been this: “I can try to be myself, I can try not to please everybody else, and I can try to figure out what it is that I want for my life.”
Casey now avoids always putting the wants of others before her own like she used to. Growing up with a red, vascular birthmark across her face, or a port-wine stain, caused Casey to feel like “she had to be everybody’s emotional support” just to get by. She conveyed how this compensated sometimes for being different in a small town.
“I grew up in a small town inside of Washington. My town is like 3,000 people. Everyone that I went to school with I graduated with, but I still had a really hard time making friends. Plus, in the 1st grade, my parents divorced, and I had really bad separation anxiety. I kept having panic attacks. Like I said, everybody grew up together so that is what people used to remember about me in school for a while. I had to deal with being thought of as “not all there.” I was different. Then, 8th grade hit, and the popularity thing had already begun. Everybody started dating, and I was like –why can’t I date? I started having severe depression. My mind started attacking itself. My self-esteem tanked despite all of the support I was given. I couldn’t hear the positive things my family was saying. Right before high school, I remember how I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what was going on.”
She continued to discuss how she didn’t know what was wrong. “I felt like I needed makeup to cover up my birthmark because I felt like my birthmark was something that I could pinpoint as a flaw. So, if I covered it up, I thought maybe that would help. I got an obsession with the beauty industry. I thought to myself -how do I fit in?”
Casey explained how makeup was somewhat of a problematic outlet. “Seventeen Magazine would give makeup steps like how to color correct, and I would try so hard to color correct, but it would never look the same on me because nobody in the magazine looked like me. I didn’t see my birthmark.” So, eventually she started “experimenting creatively with makeup.” She began using makeup as a way to express herself. Casey is now an aspiring beauty blogger and an Instagram personality for body positivity.
“Within the last four years, I’ve been using it to be creative rather than mask my face.” Casey described how she is learning more and more every day that her birthmark is not a stain but something to be embraced. She cherishes life, and she believes that life is too short to be burning out from trying to please others.
“I wish I could have told myself this. I wish I could have told myself about the future. I wish I could have just said to teenage Casey “You’re going to get married, and he’s going to be a really great guy. You are good enough. You will find people like you out there, and you will get out of the place you are in.”
Casey would like everyone who feels like no one gets it to know that - “you are something to be embraced, and you have the option to choose what you want for your life.”