I was terrified to cross the road.
And no, not because the roads in India are basically holes with a little tar around the edges, or that driving license is given to every other person who appears for the test, but because I feel that everyone seated inside the car ‘will stare’ at me as I cross their vehicle. Yeah, you read it right.
I have had problems with my self-confidence since I was in my diapers. I never took risks, I have never broken any bones, or got a stitch, or even a sprain as far as I remember. Anything fun would be mentally evaluated a thousand times in my head, Would I look like an idiot if the outcome was not the one predicted?Will it attract attention? These questions refrained me from doing anything new.
The first time I dared to go bowling was this year, I’m almost 20 years old. I never let go off the rails when I went ice skating at 18. I used to hate playing games, that had outcomes that made winners or losers. I still switch channels whenever the elimination round is on for any show. Losing made my already low self esteem hit rock-bottom. So did falling, tripping or anything that made me look silly.
There was a time when I used to try to hide my curly-wavy weird hair, be embarrassed about my height-I’m 5’9 in a country where the average height of men are 5’5 and women 5’ . I remember wanting to crawl under a rug when one of my cousins who is a dentist suggested that I undergo a smile surgery to correct my gummy smile, I hadn’t even known it needed correction. When my father seconded that opinion, I was angry at myself. I became overly self conscious, and never took any more pictures of myself, and many precious moments of my life were not captured as a result. I was too thin, my body resembled a toothpick. The comparison ‘flat as a pancake’ was made for me. The problems were endless.
Everything seemed so hopeless at a point of time. I don’t ever remember having a good hair day, whatever that is. I was surrounded by judgy miserable people, and that was taking a toll on my life without me even realising. Till I woke up.
I put my foot down and got it in my head that only I can change anything I don’t like. I was wasting my life being miserable about things that didn’t matter. I cut toxic relationships, and those that I couldn’t avoid I kept them at an arm’s length. I surrounded myself with positive people. I became positive. I stopped trying to stretch my lips as far as they would go without showing my teeth while posing, and I have got compliments regarding my smile. I’m learning to pout and laugh when I lose games and bets, I still hate eliminations though. I’m learning to frequently look like an idiot, and loved ones tell me I’m a quick learner at that. I learned how to walk into a class ten minutes late with a guilty shrug and without giving a second thought to the inquiring eyes. I’m still one of the tallest in my class of 250 with the exception of a few boys and I’m comfortable with myself. I still resemble a toothpick with pancake features, but I also discovered that I have lovely eyes and good conversation skills and I can live with that. I’m still learning to cross the road, but that’s because I was brought up in Dubai, where everyone deserved their license, and it’s not the same case in the place in India, where I’m currently based and nothing to do with my self-confidence,
And as for my hair, it’s a lost cause. No matter what hair products come to existence it will never be tamed. Just as I hope to be in the future.