Every morning, as I prepare for work, and every night, as I prepare for bed, I tell myself that I am beautiful. My special someone tells me I’m beautiful multiple times, every single day. Sometimes, out of complete humor, I send text messages to my family, just to remind them that I am beautiful. I don’t always get the best responses, but I know deep down, they know it. Lols. There was a time though when I was not this confident and loving of myself.
I was a thin and lanky kid growing up. So thin and lanky that a relative actually told my mom I probably had tuberculosis. At first in school, it wasn’t so much about me being ‘too thin’ though. I was teased for having a ‘big nose’. “Tomato nose” that’s what I was called, and it’s the reason I’ve always been bashful about my nose. I remember one instance when a classmate told another classmate that when I smiled, my nose only got bigger. That very instance was the reason I smiled less back then.
There was also a time when I was considered ‘maitim’ (dark skinned) and ‘pangit’ (ugly). That confused me because at home, my family considered me ‘beautiful’, and no one ever called me names because of how my skin looked. It bothered me why some people in school referred to me as ‘ugly’.
I still remember those days like they were only yesterday. I still remember how I felt.
I eventually moved on from it for some time, but it was like a voice that kept haunting. You never forget those things, do you?
I started having weight issues in my 20’s. Who knew that the thin and lanky girl would get flabs in the most unflattering of places. I was mostly teased about my arms that were likened to those of a boxer’s, and my belly. I used to wear whatever I wanted, but then, I suddenly couldn’t. It felt like it didn’t fit. It felt like it didn’t look as good as it did before. It felt like it didn’t look becoming.
There was always something wrong because my body was so wrong. My body was so wrong all because it didn’t look like the others that were leaner and more shapely. I disliked my body so much that I even avoided full-length mirrors like a plague. All these, just because I didn’t look like everyone else.
It took time, like just recently, for me to realize how I allowed other people’s perception get the better of me; how much I’ve punished myself for looking the way I did; and how unforgiving I’ve become of myself.
I realized that I can’t control other people’s opinions of me. Or even if I did, I figured, it’s not going to be worth anyone’s time. But I can change how I see myself. I can change how I feel about myself. I can be more positive.
Part of the journey is surrounding myself with people who inspire and encourage, and at the same time, learning to accept and give criticisms in stride – – constructively, and not insultingly. Certainly, hateful words do not and will never help.
And of course above all, I am learning to accept myself for what I am and for what I am not, knowing that how I see myself is more important than how others see me. I take steps to better myself FOR myself.
Frankly, it’s an awesome journey to be on. ❤️