Sometimes I think I can make a new version of myself. I can keep bettering myself until I become this limited edition me, so to speak. Entering high school at a new school, I thought I’d become a better me. I said the old Hayley was gone. I left her in the back desk of my parochial school classroom. It wasn’t like I was a bad person there. I just stood out. I had long, frizzy curly hair and I could never pull off a uniform. That red vest and red plaid skirt still haunt me sometimes. I look back at my 8th grade self and I’m not ashamed of my appearance. I’m ashamed of how I let people treat me. I swore to myself that I would never let anyone make me feel inferior again. So I walked through the door to a new school as a new face and I told myself “I’m Hayley Jasmin and I’m fabulous.”

And I wished it was that easy. I wish walking through those high school doors was all I needed to be the “it girl” I dreamed of becoming. But high school brought me a challenge. It brought me something I’d never experienced before: anxiety in the form of panic disorder. Suddenly, confidence wasn’t so easy for me. In fact, my confidence seemed to shrink smaller than it was in 8th grade. This affected my social life, my goals, and most importantly my performances as a “theatre geek”. The symptoms acted up every single day and I spent most of my sophomore year in the school bathroom to try to escape the panic attacks. I was lost deep in my anxiety and needed help from something or somebody.

Little did I know that, four years later, I would become my own hero. Panic attacks dwindled from every day to occurring during only high peaks of anxiety and stress. They never happen during my performances, in fact my nerves have come to only fuel my performances. I was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper for three years. My senior year, I landed a lead role as Sandy in my school’s production of Grease, and won the high school talent show with a solo. I expanded my boundaries and could talk to almost anyone at school without any fear. I had a solid and supportive group of friends, a killer wardrobe, newly tamed and highlighted hair, a workout routine, anxiety relievers, and a confident stride and smile.

Now I want to be your hero. I know there are others like me who struggle with anxiety too, or with confidence, and I created this blog to post my secrets: my tricks to relieving anxiety, tips to achieving confidence, health and fitness tips, fashion and beauty go-tos, etc. You see, my idea of becoming an “it girl” evolved from when I was an 8th grader wanting to stand out in a completely different way. That “it girl” was the girl you see in movies wearing the mini skirts and heels strutting down the hallway with hair blown by a wind machine and a hot guy on her side. “It” is confidence, “it” is strength, “it” is achievement, “it” is knowing your worth, “it” is talents, “it” is radiating in and out. When you become the it girl, you become yourself. Looking back at my high school career, I see this tiny warrior taking the steps towards following her dreams, inspiring others in the process and I say “she’s got it.”

And the funny thing is, she doesn’t even know she has it.