A journey to self-love.
These are my personal thoughts about my own battles w/ insecurities, but I know that there might be some opinions that others can relate to. I hope some of my realizations can be helpful to you.
I’m no expert in the art of self-confidence, self-respect, self-esteem, ect. In fact, they’re things that I struggle with on a daily basis. I have my high points and my lowest of lows. I think that for most people, learning to love yourself is a hard thing to do. It shouldn’t be, but it is. For me, there are parts of my body that I hated when I was younger. I grew into some of these features, though, and I have learned to appreciate them. Other things have been more of a developmental disappointment. I think a lot of my insecurities come from wanting to compete with the all the beauty women I see on social media every day. Or rather, wanting to look like them. In my head, and in our society, these are the kinds of women we view as “flawless”. Or rather, they’re the ideal standard of beauty today. In 5 years, that could change again, just like it how different it was 5 years ago.
I’ll start by reflecting on my past insecurities. I think as a kid, I was pretty carefree? When I was a child, like from age 5 to 10, I kind of didn’t think about my appearance that much. My mom or grandmother would dress me (or worse, I would dress myself) and I don’t think anyone commented on my outfits. We all (my friends, cousins, ect) cared more about playing rather than looking good. Nobody wore makeup, nobody complained about physical features (except the few of us girls who were already wishing to have boobs). I only really thought about how I looked when I got complimented on my eyes or my hair. So I guess I just assumed throughout my childhood that I was pretty? That’s what your parents and family members always tell you. Good times.
I don’t think appearance started to matter to me until 5th grade? Which, in retrospect, is still pretty young. But there were already girls in my class that were getting their periods and wearing bras, whereas I was still flat-chested and undeveloped. I wore glasses that didn’t compliment my face and my hair (being such a unique texture) was difficult to style, so I always wore it in a side-pony. None of these things mattered to me the year before, but in the 5th grade, I started to feel left out because of the things I lacked that other girls didn’t? Girls are kinda mean at this age too. They’ll use those things against you. Because they know what you feel insecure about, they’ve felt it too. However, at this point, I could still feel good about myself by being at the top of my class in academics.
Enter middle school, where boys come into the mix. 5th grade, you only have to deal with competing with girls in regards to puberty. A kind of “who is becoming a ‘woman’ faster” kind of race. In middle school, relationships start. Romantic interests occur. Drama ensues. I distinctly remember a self-esteem crushing moment when the boys at my table would rate the girls on appearance, and I got called “average“. This moment has stayed with me, probably because it really impacted the way I looked at myself throughout middle school. I honestly don’t know why boys’ opinions mattered so much? Especially when I wasn’t even interested in being in a relationship at the time. But it was just seeing how other people saw me, and that I was nothing special to them. It kind of really put me down? I still wasn’t showing many signs of puberty, which could be a good thing. No pimples, right? And as I’ve come to realized, boobs have always been a pretty huge deal to me for some reason. Ever since I was a kid, stuffing my shirt with socks or toilet paper and pretending to be my mom. Or borrowing my older cousin’s bra to make me feel older. I always looked forward to having boobs. Which I now feel might be kind of weird? I don’t know, maybe its not just me.
Middle school was pretty disappointing in the appearance department. I had the most insecurities during this time. I hated my nose, thought it was too big. I hated my eyes, because although they were pretty and blue, I had pretty noticeable bags underneath. Plus I wore hideous glasses. I hated my hair, because the texture wasn’t “normal” and straight. It was frizzy and curly. I hated my body, because I had the figure of a 12 year old boy. There was not much I liked about myself, physically. So I tried to focus on how smart I was and how kind I was. I think I finally got my period towards the end of my 6th or 7th grade year (tmi?) and I was kind of half excited and half terrified. By the end of my 7th grade year, I finally outgrew a training bra. But 32A wasn’t that impressive, especially since most of my friends in the 5th grade were that size. Thank god I was home schooled for 8th grade so that no one had to witness the puberty-slamming I had to endure throughout this time.
AND THEN THERE’S HIGH SCHOOL!! Wow. I grew the most during these 4 years, in every aspect. Physically, emotionally, mentally, ect. But doesn’t everyone? Freshman year was kind of torture. I was in a school that I hated with people that I didn’t very much like at all. Everything was new and nerve-wrecking and kind of intense. By this time, I had an ass via my mom’s wonderful genetics and the fact that I ate a shit ton and did absolutely no exercise whatsoever. My fashion was still sub-par and it kind of matched my personality? I wore baggy sweaters and cardigans I borrowed from my grandmother, with hand-me-down jeans. I didn’t accentuate my figure at all. I wore no makeup. I had minimal, but visible, acne over my cheeks and forehead. A timid look for a timid girl. No one really spoke to me other than people who wanted the answers to homework or classwork.
Towards the END of the year (still 9th grade) is when I started wearing minimal makeup, like eyeliner, lip gloss, and mascara. I also started wearing nicer clothes (skinny jeans, the uniform shirt tucked in, accessories). People started to see that I had a nice body and therefore would actually talk to me. Which is kind of… terrible, actually? If they only talked to me because I was more attractive. Or I guess it was because I felt more confident, and therefore I seemed more approachable? That would be better. In the end, I still hated that school and still had some things I didn’t like about myself. It wasn’t until sophomore year that my confidence really improved. BUT, I will be leaving that for part two because this has already gone long enough!!
Tomorrow I will post part two! So stay tuned for more about how my self-confidence improved in high school and how I got to a place where I can look in the mirror and SMILE (most of the time).