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Gabriela’s Double Dog Dare

Gabriela Leskur | Thursday, October 10, 2013

I often remark how this column serves to remove inhibition, allowing me to do things I would normally not think to do or would normally not have the courage to do.

This week’s dare was to reveal a secret.

When I first saw this dare, I looked past it, not thinking it was big or bold enough to accept for this column. I thought that it was cliché, something akin to the Truth or Dare games we would play in middle school. It was always the courageous people who would take the dares, the rest of us playing it safe by choosing to reveal a truth.

But now, as a pseudo-adult, I think that telling the truth is a lot more difficult than going through with a dare.

This week I faced both head on – accepting a dare to tell the truth.


Notre Dame is a campus full of successful students, many of whom are instrumental in social, political, or intellectual change. With so many remarkable people at this school, I often hear my friends describe someone as being perfect. “Oh, I love her,” they say. “She’s seriously the most perfect human being.” This always makes me pause.

Do we realize what we’re doing when we make these claims of perfection?

My secret is that this idea of perfection bothers me – the other secret is why it bothers me.

When someone is called “perfect,” an impossible goal is set. Unless you are king or queen of the narcissist club, you probably see that there is something about yourself that could use improvement, that there is some imperfection.

But if we admit we are flawed, then we admit that we can never be like this “perfect” person. If compared to supposed perfection, we will always fall short.

It’s so easy for us to look at someone else and assume that they are perfect or compare ourselves to those we see as far better than we are. “She is a better singer than I am.” “He is better at Econ than I am.” “They have a better relationship than we do.” On and on, these are impossible standards. 

The real problem comes with the connotation that perfection is always the ideal. Because no one is, nor ever will be, perfect. No matter how people seem, they have their own struggles, their own demons, their own imperfections.

The truth is, we all have our own secrets. We all have sides of ourselves that we are afraid to share, sides that aren’t always public.

Perhaps we are afraid of the vulnerability that comes from sharing our true selves with another person, of being judged or ostracized as a consequence. Perhaps, at the heart of it all, we are afraid that we will no longer be seen as perfect. But I’ve started asking myself, is that really a bad thing?

The Irish State of Mind week has been on my mind for this reason. It’s a week that’s meant to show support for those on campus dealing with mental illness, dealing with their secrets, dealing with their imperfections. 

I think the best way we can support each other is to come to terms and embrace these imperfections, not only in ourselves, but in others.

I have been told before that people think I’m perfect. I will never claim that to be true. I’m sure that some of you reading this have ample examples of how imperfect I am.

The reason I dislike this idea of imperfection is because I am painfully aware of how imperfect I am. My struggle with depression and mental illness reminds me constantly of what I lack.

As the girl who skips down the hallway after getting drenched in the rain, most people would never know this side of me, and honestly, I would never tell them. 

But I’ve come to realize that this is not and should not be something to be ashamed of. And no, this struggle does not define me in the way you’d think.

My imperfections and my struggles make me stronger. I may not have control over the sadness, the cumulus nimbus cloud that hovers over my head, but I have control over how I respond to it. I respond to it by remembering how lucky I am, how great Notre Dame is, how happy I feel to be blessed with such wonderful people in my life. I plow through the dark, stormy days, and believe that this too shall pass.

Many people will tell you that I am the girl that walks around saying, “You’re wonderful,” to people. That is because I sincerely and honestly feel that way. I am frequently amazed by how wonderful people are. But people aren’t wonderful because they are perfect. They are wonderful, in a big part, because they are flawed.

Being flawed is hard. Admitting your flaws is hard. But with that hardship comes something wonderful. If all of us stop being afraid of showing our imperfect selves, there comes the possibility of finding people who will love us not in spite of our imperfections, but even more so because of them.


We cannot keep the storms from coming. Sometimes we will be left in the rain, without an umbrella. And honestly, that sucks. But it sucks a little less when you turn your head towards the heavens and jump around in the puddles with some great people who don’t mind holding your hand through it all.

Contact Gabriela Leskur at gleskur@nd.edu 


The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Gabriela’s Double Dog Dare

Gabriela Leskur | Friday, October 4, 2013

Last week I accepted a dare that I was actually very excited to undertake.

No, the dare was not eating pasta and cheese every day. I do that already.

The dare was to apply and audition for the Irish Bachelorette.

Some of you who are not up to date with the latest Notre Dame gossip may be asking, “What is the Irish Bachelorette?”

The Irish Bachelorette is an upcoming NDtv show that will bring the format of the nationally televised ABC series “The Bachelorette” to our lovely campus. With the backdrop of Golden Dome (and hopefully LaFun at 2 a.m. on a Saturday), 10 Fighting Irish men will be vying for one lovely woman. 

Hoping to get lucky, the men will be in pursuit of a special clover. The men will be receiving shamrocks as they are chosen to continue in each round, in place of the usual rose used on the national television show.

With full knowledge of what I was getting myself into, I applied to the program online with this little blurb:

“Gender relations at Notre Dame can at times be difficult. At other times, impossible. 

While spending all of my free time chasing boys has been rewarding, I feel as if it’s about time they chase me. All sarcasm aside, I think that this show is an interesting way to both laugh at the ND dating scene and learn from it. There are a lot of issues within the romantic conventions at Notre Dame that can be effectively addressed through the awkward, intriguing nature of such a show.”

Then in the application I went on to describe my quest for Domer love:

“I’m really just a nice human being, who enjoys reading Plato and discussing philosophy on a Friday night while partaking on a long walk around St. Joseph’s beach, looking for friendship and something more substantive than a sweaty dorm-party hook-up.”

Isn’t that what we’re all hoping for? 

My persuasive rhetoric must have caught their attention since I was soon notified that I would be called for an audition-an audition that would only take five to 10 minutes in room in Alumni. Cue eerie scary movie music and an audience screaming, “Don’t go in there!” 

I was a little skeptical as I walked in on a Thursday afternoon to sit down with a group of complete strangers. I went in having no idea how I would respond to any of their questions, so my answers were genuine and surprising, even to me.

I realized my answers to what I want in a relationship, what I look for in a friend, what I find necessary for a healthy relationship, what my ideal date is, only just as they asked the questions. 

I was honestly just as intrigued by the answers coming out of my mouth as they pretended to be.

That’s one thing I enjoyed about the experience: answering questions I usually forget to ask myself.

So often, we go through our lives without taking a moment to think what it is we want, what our intentions are. But when you are sitting in a room with five people and one camera staring right at you, asking you to hold yourself accountable to your answers, you really have no choice but to figure yourself out. 

The experience served for me as reminder as to what I’m actually hoping for in another who could be one day significant. And it made it significantly obvious that I don’t know if I’ve found that person yet or that, if I have, I’m not in the place to realize it. I can barely handle hanging out with myself all the time, let alone someone else.

And that leads into the other thing I really enjoyed about this dare: experiencing myself as if I were a stranger. This may sound weird, but let me explain.

We spend a lot of time in with ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I’m with myself for about 24 hours of the day, every day. Obviously, with this extreme amount of one on one time, myself and I can get pretty sick of each other.

As I sat talking with some wonderful strangers and saw their reactions to me and my answers, it was akin to when you catch a glimpse of someone in a mirror and don’t realize for a second that the person in the mirror is you. 

It can be a very humbling and encouraging experience, to explain who you are to people who have no preconceived notions of you. 

To them, I am merely a sophomore in Farley, majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies. I am simply a writer for The Observer and a singer in the Folk Choir. I am a girl who enjoys a meaningful and enriching conversation, with a good dose of laughter mixed in. I am a weirdo whose ideal date is driving out into the country, hiking up a mountain and then camping under the stars, watching the sun set and rise while discussing philosophy. I am a Catholic who wants Socrates’ Second Speech in “Phaedrus” to be read at my wedding. This is the person they got to know in those ten minutes.

The exciting part about being merely “this” in their eyes is in realizing if this and only this is who I am to someone, I am pretty okay with that.


Disclaimer: While we regret to inform you, readers of The Observer, that Gabriela Leskur was not chosen to represent the Notre Dame female student body on the Irish Bachelorette, if any bachelors are so compelled, Ms. Leskur is still accepting applications.


Contact Gabriela Leskur at

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.