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"That Girl"? No, Thanks. I Am Choosing My Own Path.

The internet is awash with her. "That Girl." The one with the perfectly curated morning routine, the flawless skin, the gym body, and the life so put-together it appears straight out of a Pinterest board.

An African American woman with messy coily hair in pajamas sitting in bed on a laptop

She drinks her green smoothie, conquers her inbox before breakfast, posts perfectly edited selfies, and somehow manages to squeeze in yoga, self-love journaling, and a side hustle before noon. And let's not forget the carefully cultivated aesthetic—the minimalist home, the perfect makeup look, the never-a-hair-out-of-place bun.

But here's the thing: I'm not her. And frankly, I don't want to be.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing inherently wrong with striving for self-improvement. Setting goals, building healthy habits, and caring for oneself are commendable pursuits. But the "That Girl" phenomenon feels less like self-improvement and more like a performative ritual of conformity. It's a one-size-fits-all mold that suffocates individuality and celebrates a narrow, unattainable ideal.

The pressure to become "That Girl" is insidious. It creeps in through endless Instagram stories, TikTok tutorials, YouTube vlogs, and blog posts with titles like "5 Habits of Highly Productive Girls." Suddenly, my messy desk feels like a personal failing, my love for late-night gaming a sign of laziness, and my occasional craving for takeout a moral transgression. It's a constant comparison game, leaving me feeling inadequate and adrift, desperately trying to squeeze myself into a box that simply doesn't fit.

An African American woman on the couch in pajamas play video games

But here's the truth: I am enough, just as I am. My morning routine might involve hitting the snooze button more than a few times and stumbling out of bed with hair resembling a bird's nest, but I make up for it with a genuine smile and a cup of energizing coffee. I may not have a six-pack (and probably never will), but I can take a spin on my stationary bike and feel the exhilaration of pushing my limits. My life isn't a perfectly curated feed, but it's messy and real, filled with laughter, tears, anxiety, late-night talks, and unexpected adventures.

I choose to prioritize experiences over aesthetics, learning over productivity, and authenticity over perfection. I prefer reading books that challenge my worldview instead of those that tell me how to organize my sock drawer. I celebrate my unique strengths and passions, even if they don't fit the "That Girl" mold.

Instead of chasing an idealized version of myself, I'm focusing on building a life that feels genuinely me. I'm learning to cook healthier meals but have not given up my occasional pizza night. I'm working on getting organized, but I won't shame myself for a misplaced item. I'm embracing my flaws, quirks, and vulnerabilities because they make me, me.

An African American woman in pajamas happily eating pizza

So, to all the "That Girls" out there, I say this: keep your smoothie bowls and your sunrise meditations. I'll be over here, watching YouTube in my pajamas, savoring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and writing a text message complaining about my junky office. Because while your life may be picture-perfect, mine is authentically mine. And that's a whole lot more beautiful than any filtered Instagram snapshot.

The world needs more than just "That Girl." It needs girls who are unapologetically themselves, who follow their own paths, and who redefine what it means to be "successful." It needs girls who are messy and honest, who laugh without restraint, cry without shame, and dream without fear. It needs girls like me.

Because in the end, the only person I need to become is the one I was always meant to be: not "That Girl," but simply, uniquely, myself.

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