It has taken me years to finally reach a place where I’m happy with how I look. I know we all say we’re happy with how we look, whether that’s our body or face… But I believe I have actually reached a point in my life where I no longer criticise every tiny imperfection I see in the mirror. I no longer use makeup as a mask but as something to have fun with, as a means of enhancing the parts of my face that I love, that I find pride in.Some people may look at this as a girl bragging about losing weight, but it’s not. I may have lost weight but I never wanted to lose it as a means of feeling skinnier, but I wished to become stronger. My aim was to change my habits, to feel strong and healthy. Our bodies turn into what we wish them to be, and I wished for it to be a pillar of strength in my own life.
I was terribly self conscious as a young girl, but lets be honest what teenage girl wasn’t? I hated that I wasn’t as skinny as every other girl seemed to be. I hated that things just didn’t turn out the way I expected them to. When I started high school I didn’t expect for girls to be that mean, for boys to be that cruel and their humour that hurtful. Most of my early years in high school involved avoiding being seen and trying to find good people to be around. It wasn’t until I met the girls who would become my lifelong friends that I began to realise that there was nothing wrong with me, but there was something wrong with my self value. I didn’t value my contributions. I didn’t value my friendship towards others. I didn’t value who I was and what kind of person I was growing into.
It became my mission to change my outlook. At first I thought it was changing my body and for a time that seemed to work. I began eating better, exercising more, and just taking the time to look in the mirror and say aloud all the things I loved about how I looked.
Except I forgot to compliment the single most important part of who I am…. my mind. When it comes to feeling self conscious nothing makes me feel more inferior or insignificant than my intelligence. I hate feeling dumb. I hate those days where I openly call myself an idiot. It’s an ugly word. It’s a word we learn to use as children and we carry it with us forever. When someone subtly patronises my intelligence I want nothing more than to crawl into bed and cry. I’m never as self deprecating than when I fail. And I fail often. I have failed several university assignments and one whole unit. In those moments of failure I doubted everything I was. I doubted everything I believed in. I have been close to giving up more times than I wish to admit. Giving up and quitting would be the easiest way. It’s the easiest way to avoid more disappoint and pain.
Except quitting is too easy. As corny as it is those moments of failure usually make me work harder. They make me try harder and actually give a damn about what I’m doing in my life. I still have days where I think I’m possibly the dumbest person ever. I honestly think I’m not cut out for this, that I’m just one of those bound to fail at everything they care about. I mean I fail at relationships so why not intelligence?
I still look at my friends and think, why can’t my brain work that way? Why can’t I be smart? Why can’t I feel confident in my mental abilities? I sit there and curse whatever godly thing there may be in universe that some of us just aren’t born to be successful or aren’t born with the intelligence we want. It’s not until we realise that maybe we bring some of this failure on ourselves that we can begin to make a change. Yes I may be lazy sometimes, or just not try hard enough, and by doubting my abilities I was bringing my failure upon myself.
Inner demons aren’t always full blown mental health issues, they can be small and they can eat away at you if you let them. Self doubt plagues most of us every damn day of our lives. It’s the thing we run away from in our dreams, the thing that’s laughing at us when we actually try and fail. But if we try, it can be the thing that makes us stronger. It turns into the thing inside pushing you to be the best version of you, and the best you is always different from the best that your friend can be or that smart girl in your course. It can be that thing that makes you want to become stronger, whether it’s physically stronger or mentally stronger. Physical strength if sought after for the right reasons can help the mind grow and trust your own body to always pick you up in your moments of doubt and failure. Because as long as we can stand up and keep our feet moving forward, we are capable of trying and trusting that in the end we are our own saviours, we are our own teacher… we are our own protector.