I am writing my first blog post from the basement of my parents house. It is currently four months post college graduation and I can confidently say that I have no idea what I want to do with my life. This is coming from the girl who has always been one step ahead of everything. Well now, I am completely surrendering by admitting that, no, I do not have it all together 100% of the time. I am the girl society says is happy, hot and has it all. But that’s just not the reality. I’ve suffered through heartbreak, abuse, self-worth and body image issues, like many other women. I’ve battled with depression, anxiety/panic disorder, eating disorder, countless fuckboys, and most recently I had to get a restraining order against my ex #blessed. The complete truth is my life has not been like all of the fantasies I had built up in my head. I am unemployed, single, and spend most of my weekends either watching dateline with my parents, or flip opposite, getting drunk to make me temporarily forget all of the above.
With all of that out in the open now, I hope I have denounced in previous assumptions that I am this perfect insta-famous white chick or whatever first impression you have gotten of me.
I think a lot about perception or what people see from the outside looking in. It is basic human nature to judge on appearance. Sometimes we take the smallest amount of information we are given and twist it to match the perception that society has taught us to see in that person. It’s also human nature to be drawn toward people who are like you. One of the downsides of that is we are quick to tear down or push away people who are different. We live in a society now that has so many different ways to “know” a person without truly knowing them. We look. We judge. We don’t communicate.
We all hide our flaws from one another because we are afraid. Why? Maybe it’s because we have too much pride, or maybe it’s because we think we are all alone in what we have experienced in the past. We forget the simple fact that we are all human. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. The person you were just creeping at on social media…news flash…they’ve got issues too.
We let people see what we want them to see. And frankly, that’s fine, not everyone deserves to know you fully anyway. From listening too and observing other people, I see we all have these different perceptions of people’s lives and we tell ourselves, it’s real.
In any acting class you take, one of the first things you will do is figure out what your “type” is. The quicker you can figure out your type and own that, the better chance you will have at selling yourself. Are you the awkward nerdy one? Are you the best friend? Are you the hot jock? Are you the sexy bombshell? Are you the bully? Are you the overweight funny one? The list goes on and on.
This basic acting tool works because people initially first see and then assume. I could list all of the different stereotypes society has set in place for people, but instead I want to speak on my own stereotype.
In my first acting class, when I got “typed”, people shouted out different things like, “mean girl”, “the dumb blonde”, “princess”, “love interest”, or “authoritative sorority sister” (ok, that last one made me lol). It was nothing I didn’t already know, I am fully aware of what people think when they see a girl with long, blonde hair. The thing is, none of those labels are me at all. Not going to lie, it would be nice to be a princess, but life is not so storybook or as laid out as it is in the movies.
No, I am not in a minority group. I’m a white, blonde haired, blue eyed, young female. With that being said, yes, I have in fact faced discrimination my entire life. Elle Woods spoke the truth when she said she was discriminated against as a blonde.
The world see’s me as all types of different things, but none of them have anything to do with my intellect, my heart, or my battles. Because of the way I look, I’ve always felt that I’ve had to work twice as hard or be twice as nice to get people to see who I actually am. That I am a woman who is kind, smart and loving, not some slutty mean girl that society paints me as. I have definitely been through some shit, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at a picture on social media or even by talking with me once in bar. I’m not some entitled white girl. My parents have taught me to be a respectful and hardworking person, so I have worked for every single thing that I have achieved in my life. Nothing has been handed to me and I still get fail all of the time. At times, it has been beyond difficult. For a while, I felt like I was only noticed as the pretty girl with long, blonde hair.
Ever since high school, these issues became more clear to me. People discriminate against the “pretty girls”. I had to dress extra conservative in school or teachers would complain. One time on spirit week, I got sent home because my skirt, that was down to my ankles, was “too shear”. Let me just note that there were countless girls dressed in some version of a skippy indian or cow girl costume. I mean, I was dressed as freaking sleeping beauty, give me a break.
Another time, teachers complained to administration because they thought I was showing “too much cleavage” when I was anchoring the news show (1. I am a girl and I have boobs, sue me 2. I am a girl with small boobs, so what fucking cleavage are you referring too).
One of the more embarrassing examples was at cheerleading camp in high school. The coaches gave out fun awards at the end of camp. These included things like, best smile, most spirited, best dance moves, etc. At the end, they began to announce a special award:
Coach: “This is a new award this year. It goes to someone who has stood out. She’s a beautiful, beautiful gal, but might want to treat herself to a hair-cut. “The Amish Award” goes to Leah La Rosa!”
Some girls laughed, while others were silent, probably thinking “WTF”, like I was. Awkwardly standing, I approached the front of the room to grab the award that these coaches felt was appropriate to give me.
Yeah, I had long hair, but so did half of the girls in the room. I mean it was cheerleading camp. Furthermore, they were associating me/making fun of a certain religion and way of life of a certain group of people. These grown ass women felt it was necessary to call me out and embarrass me because I was the girl with long, blonde hair, who at the time was confident and comfortable with her appearance. Looking back, that was something they obviously felt threatened by.
A more recent example of this is right before I graduated. I went to a career fair that my journalism school was hosting and I walked around introducing myself to different news directors. The following conversation happened:
Me: “Hi, My name is Leah La Rosa. I am a Digital and Broadcast Journalism Major here at the UGA Grady College about to graduate early in May. Previously, I have interned in the Gwinnett Braves Production Department and recently, at TMZ News in Los Angeles. I have a 3.8 GPA and I am hoping to land a reporting job somewhere post-graduation.”
News Director: “Are you willing to cut your hair?”
Me: “Excuse me?”
News Director: “With the long blonde, hair people will not take you a seriously. All of my female reporters have short hair, it’s more professional.”
Me: “No, I would not consider cutting my hair…I feel that I am smart and competent, since I am about to graduate from one of the best journalism school’s in the nation.”
News Director: “Sorry, but you’re not smart and competent until you’ve spent 25 years in the industry.”
Me: “Oh…I see. It was so nice talking with you about your news station.” *smiles and exits
After this conversation, I was absolutely fuming, thinking all kinds of bad words to call that woman. A couple of them started with a B and C, ending in -itch and -unt.
Did that just fucking happen? Did I really just share my resume with someone and the only thing they noticed was my damn hair? First of all, wtf it’s 2017 bitch. Second of all, there are hundreds of sexy female reporters, go women. And third…I forgot my point. I am so mad just reliving that again.
Oh yeah! NO I WILL NOT CUT MY HAIR FOR YOU. WHO EVEN ARE YOU. YOURE NOT GOOD MORNING AMERICA. IF YOU WERE THEN OK MAYBE. BUT YOURE NOT. IM LEAH LA ROSA. THIS IS WHAT I LOOK LIKE AND IM SMART TOO. BYE.
Frankly, I’ve grown sick of always having to prove myself to people, so I have learned to stop caring over the years. It’s ridiculous how women tell fellow women how they should look or act.
I am also sick of boys meeting me and saying “Wow, you’re not what I expected you to be like!”
It’s like they are expecting some bitchy girl with daddy issues or something. Or for me to be like a stereotypical “do it on the first date while faking an orgasm” college girl. Or just some dumb blonde who takes lots of selfies.
Like no, we are strong, unique and independent women. Let us take our sexy selfies in peace without getting labeled or slut shammed. Or let us cover up or wear funky clothes. Just let us express ourselves without all of this judgement.
So on a deeper note, perhaps the miserable, darkest, and most confusing times in our life were the moments that saved us. I am still here and I am still standing, stronger than I ever have. I fall all of the time, but I pick myself up. I feel like others need to hear that they are not alone in any dark times they may face. We all have our individual battles at different stages in our life.
For me, I have carried this “Perception of Perfection” because of the way I look and further more, the way I have chosen to live my life. I love this digital age we live in, so I enjoy sharing my life on social media. At the beginning of high school, what was supposed to be funny videos my brothers and I were making ended up going viral. Overnight, people knew who we were worldwide.
Whether we were at the mall or on vacation, I was bound to have young girls running up to me asking for a picture. I still remember one young girl in particular. We crossed paths while my family and I were vacationing in Orlando. She was from Argentina and could barely speak English, but crazy enough, she knew me. This girl looked up to me and was following my life on social media.
Whether it be a fan online or people that are apart of my life, I always receive the comment that I am perfect.
“You are perfect”, “I want your life”, “Killing myself, you’re perfect”. These comments aren’t so much flattering, but leave me uneasy.
Us girls do this a lot. We tell each other we are perfect. Boys do this to us as well, they say “Baby you’re perfect”. But guess what…they still don’t want you. This is the most frustrating compliment of modern time if you ask me.
We have these perceptions of perfection on people and actually convince ourselves they are true, when we most likely do not even know that person truly. And if they are not perfect, then they are usually another extreme assumption. It’s something I will never understand and I don’t really ever want to understand it. Our generation is so bad about making judgements about people. Just a reminder, you do not know what someone is going through, nor do you know someone to there core. Stop comparing. Stop judging. Stop labeling.
The bad experiences I have went through have lead me to not care about what other people think because I live for only myself. People who judge from the outside are insecure and have nothing better to with their time other than to criticize how someone else is living. They are unhappy with themselves and they obviously are bored with there own life.
Just like a boy who treats you like you are crazy for being yourself. He is only insecure with his own identity and emotions. I like to believe people will eventually learn or grow up, but it’s just not my problem to worry about.
My point is I don’t care because there was once a time where I was so unhealthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. Therefore, when I hear that I am perfect I blush and sit in silence, or if I hear the opposite, I laugh and think to myself “Oh honey you have no idea”.
I don’t want be silent anymore because I know other girls out there are struggling with the same things I once dealt with and continue to deal with. I am here to tell you that I am not perfect and I am not afraid to show people that, if it means I can make just one person feel less alone.
Sorry this blog was so long and sorry if it was all over the place. I am excited to share more thoughts and experiences as the days go on. Hopefully we can grow together my babe.
-Love, Leah La Rosa