you don't have to.

You don’t have to prove you exist.

You don’t.

Social media has given us this new thing-- the need to prove our very existence-- and it’s weird.

But here is the thing: you don’t have to prove anything.

You can simply exist.

Alone. In quiet. Doing the hard work without recognition.

And sometimes we need to stop and remind ourselves of that-- that a lack of validation of ourselves doesn’t mean that self doesn’t exist.

You don’t have to prove to anyone that you are a vegetarian and haven’t eaten meat in almost a decade. You don’t have to post meals and recipes and rant about animal rights to care deeply about them.

You can.

But you don’t have to.

You don’t have to prove to anyone that you are fit. You don’t have to post yourself running or film the HIIT workouts you do or take a photo every time you make a smoothie.

You can.


But you don’t have to.

You don’t have to prove that you read with book reviews or prove that you write by having an eloquent essay every few weeks the way you want. You can simply do: read and write.

You can.

But you don’t have to.

You don’t have to prove your husband loves you or that you (maybe occasionally) get invited to something or that you did fifty squats or that you detoxified your house or absolutely anything.

You can.

But you don’t have to.

This is my list. These are the things I’m proud of and insecure about all at once. I find myself needing to validate myself in some way. Existing can be lonely. Doing things to do them, in the quiet, can feel non-essential. Especially as you see praises pour in for others online for the things you do, you care about, you are.

And there is nothing wrong with posting any of these things-- if you want to.

But you don’t have to.

You can be. You can read. You can run. You can jump. You can eat. You can be wholly you in the good and the bad. You can be you when you feel loved and when you feel abandoned.

You can be all of these things.
And you don’t have to prove it to anyone.

You can.

But you don’t have to.

And that, my friends, is pretty damn freeing.

Post what you want. Be who you want. Show everything to world. Show nothing. Whatever your list of mashed up wants with the things you’ve got going for you-- make up the essence of a person, living an breathing.

Just know- whatever those things are-- they are you.

You can share with the world that they belong to who you are.

But always, always, always, you don’t have to.