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My Race to Self-Improvement

By Rowan Moskowitz

PROMPT — Who am I today?

Whenever I look at myself, I can’t help cringe at my reflection, the flaws instantly popping out thanks to my already damaged self-image. The words I’ve begun to classify myself with stick around me like bees to a flower, buzzing 24/7 and refusing to give me a single moment of peace. Broken, worthless, stubborn, insecure, the list of constant flaws go on like a never ending rainfall. It doesn’t help that I tend to be classified as an “open book,” having always worn my emotions on my sleeves like your everyday empathic mess. The battles within my being don’t help in the healing process either, my anxiety gripping me like chains, working in tandem with my depression as it pulls me down deep into the ocean of self loathing I’m all too familiar with.

As a child, I felt I knew myself well, and knew what goals I wanted to reach. It became almost like tunnel vision, a race car speeding to the finish line while not even paying attention to the surroundings along the track. Now? All I see are those obstacles with no end in sight, causing me to swerve and crash, to the point where my motor is still barely running. My dreams for the future are changing, my maturity is growing, and every aspect of my life is being thrown into question, to the point it develops the worst case of imposter syndrome I never knew I could have. And with the intense, ever growing pressure that some of my family gives me, intentional or not, it doesn’t help me in my fight to prove my self worth.

Yet, if there is one advantage I have over the version of me from the past, despite us both still being very much similar in our usual mannerisms? It is that I am able to recognize how I am trying to make more choices for myself, rather than just focusing on what others feel will make me happy. Or rather, I’m learning to set boundaries in ways that will help me heal from so much trauma I’ve refused to let go of. And the other funny thing about it all? I’ve begun learning more about how this progress will never be linear, and instead will be as messy as my emotions always have been. That’s not a bad thing either. Because of this slow growth, I’ve been able to make small steps towards accepting the unknown, and recognizing that even if not everyone will be there for the ride as support, I will still have a few people there willing to be. People who help to heal me while still encouraging me to help the one person I should have been helping from the start. Who has been there since day one, and continues to be as I make strides through life to survive and grow.

I’m fighting for myself, in all the forms I have taken throughout life. We’re a tag team working together to create a life story we could be proud of, flaws and all. Together, we are learning about giving love to ourselves, just like we would give to others in order to see them smile and thrive in ways we never could. I am a mess of a woman, who is still afraid of the unknown and unsure of what is going to happen within the coming years, but who still tries to do things that make her happy. I’m a human fighting to survive for the child that would want me to see this race to the end, no matter how many losses I face. Saying this aloud to myself, it feels almost therapeutic. Like someone is giving me the tightest hug imaginable while whispering how proud they are of me. A voice that sounds like my own, the tone replaced with compassion instead of hatred.

I recognize that this may not always happen, and that I may slip back into that curler persona when viewing myself. Though I know that if I am able to find ways to keep these moments of self-assurance up, advocating more for what I feel is right and what I love that helps to show who I believe I can be? Then perhaps my journey will feel a little less daunting. I’ll be able to see it to the end and finish the race I started the moment I realized my existence truly began. So I’ll step back into the race car, and keep driving onward. And if that fails? I’ll walk the track and reach the finish line, even if it takes years. I’m going to see it to the end, no matter what. For those I love more than anything. And for myself most of all.


Rowan Moskowitz is a woman who is doing her best in life when it comes to trying to relearn who she is, and what she hopes for within her life. When she isn't writing, she is drawing, helping around the house for the sake of her mother, listening to musicals, and hanging out with friends who mean the world to her. Despite her challenges, she is slowly learning to love herself, and is proud of all the progress she's worked towards, whether small or big. Rowan writes from Little Neck, NY.


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