Paige Lowary: What Is Your Legacy?
What is your legacy?
That is, how do you want people to remember you?
This is such a loaded question, but it’s a very relevant question in many of our lives. Sometimes, I find myself forgetting that people of all ages see everything I do. Whether it’s in public or on social media, my life is out there for people to see, absorb, imitate, and/or judge. With that being said, am I helping or hurting the future?
Being a role model for other people is a big commitment. When I was younger, often times, I had to censor myself. I was immature, and I wanted to be myself. Being myself back then, though, was not being a role model for others. I wanted to do crazy things with my friends and be a rebellious teenager. I wanted to go out and not worry about people judging every move I made.
In high school, I began to resent softball for a couple reasons. One of those reasons being that I couldn’t be a normal human being. I did have to censor what I did, and I had to be extra careful to always put on a perfect front. I found myself dressing, talking, and acting in a way that I knew people wouldn’t talk negatively about. Throughout that time period, I lost who I really was, and I’ve spent years figuring that out again.
When we are younger, we will do anything to fit in. As human beings, we want to belong and we want to connect with others. We will wear whatever, talk however, and do certain activities just to feel “normal”. In high school, I was in a strange limbo, where I was trying to fit in, but I also knew that I had people looking up to me, so I had to grow up quickly. The thing I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older, though, is being genuine and authentic to myself is what other people actually care about. I wish I would have known that sooner.
Throughout the years, I have ridden an emotional roller coaster. I didn’t know who I really was, but I knew I wanted to belong. I found myself starting to be fake on social media - I wasn’t posting what was really happening in my life, and I was only showing highlights. That was the easy way to escape my real life problems. One day, I read something, and my life changed forever.
I read an article about mental health written by Kevin Love. After reading the article, I no longer felt alone because I knew that someone else at a high level in their sport felt the same way as me. Then, something clicked in my head. If I am feeling this way after reading an article about someone in a similar situation, I wonder if I could reach people the same way if I spoke up about my mental health struggles.
So, I began to write, and I began to share my story. I’ve never looked back, and I’ve helped so many people who feel the same way. I share the highs and lows of my life. I’ve realized that everyone has something they are struggling with. Social media is just a vague representation of a person, and I’ve tried to change that on my pages. I want people to know me and understand me. I don’t care about fitting in anymore, I care about reaching out and helping people who feel the way I do - that’s how I belong now.
I’m a role model. I struggle with mental health. I spoke up about my flaws. I find comfort in not being perfect. That’s my legacy, and that’s how I will change the world.