I’ve always felt like an ugly duckling. My teenage years weren’t particularly shining ones, and to tell you the truth the single thing I remember most from my grade school experience is being heavily bullied during sixth grade for being fat and ugly. It’s a common occurrence among girls I think, having experiences that break their self-esteem into pieces. But I’m a firm believer that there’s always a silver lining in everything. There’s an eye-opener. That much I can attest to.
If you get through all that in one piece you come out stronger. You stop taking crap from anyone. You don’t back down when you don’t deserve to be treated poorly. You don’t let them walk all over you or call you degrading names. You never allow people to make you feel inferior, and in turn that puts a satisfying plug into their own superiority complex. Aside from a much stronger personality, perhaps an equally important lesson the experience taught me was to start embracing a healthy lifestyle. I lost a lot of weight and tapped into the athletic side I knew was hidden beneath. Now instead of lethargic and slow I am strong and quick on my feet. I bet I have the stamina to run circles around those old bullies of mine who are now more heavy-set than I am.
After making adjustments to my life, I slowly became more accepting of my appearance. It’s not perfect but there are a lot of things I love about me: my height, my long limbs, my eyes, my lips… I really hate how frizzy my hair is though. I also hate that I still get acne at 23. But I’ve learned that all these issues concerning outward appearances are things that can be solved. It’s what’s inside you that can’t easily be retouched or concealed. If you’re ugly on the inside then how pretty you look isn’t going to matter at the end of the day.
The truth is because of that teenage experience, I did spend a long time hating the way I looked, so much that it became a habit. A norm. It took a while for me to break out of that mindset. It took a while for me to start seeing the beauty in me. And after coming to terms with myself to a great degree, I started getting interested in all the “prettifying” things I used to roll my eyes at. That in itself is another strange sort of coming of age experience for me.