I should be the last person on earth talking about body image and self-esteem. Several years back I wouldn’t cross the road until it was absolutely empty because I didn’t want the people in the car to “look” at me. YUP. So I’d just walk around in circles, confuse every good Samaritan who’d stop his/her vehicle permitting me to cross only to shake my head in this “Oh you silly Goose! I’m pretending to wait for an imaginary friend when secretly all I’m doing is waiting for the roads to be empty so that I can walk around and NO ONE CAN SEE ME. So go go. Just go ahead already.” Clearly I was naïve and it was an era before the Black mirror techno-paranoia.
I’m happy to say that just yesterday I took a tumble and managed to bang my knee on the pavement. Yes, I’m happy about it. Walk in my shoes and you’d know how slippery the pavement was but also that spending a good minute laughing and whining about the whole moment is actually something the old me should be extremely proud of. Some(like myself) might say I probably even deserve an award for that. Take the subtle hint. I’ll accept cash. Or card. Or anything really.
I couldn’t order at restaurants. I couldn’t do things that seemed so effortlessly easy to others. I was cloaked in insecurity. What if I made a fool of myself? What if they laugh? I’d keep the perfect change with me while waiting in the line because the prospect of searching for change while others waited behind me and probably judged me was unfathomable. I was so worried about what others felt. How others would interpret things that I don’t think I did anything for myself.
It didn’t help that I was/am a lanky 5’9 extremely skinny person to the point that it’s not desirable by anyone and you’d be hit with a maternal instinct to get some food in me if you saw me and I don’t remember a time when my face was absolutely clear. Oh. Also I had to wear glasses since I turned 4 years old and I always chose those big rainbow coloured ones. And my smile? No offense to the legend Heath but he needed to be mutilated to get that wide smile. Me? I don’t even have to try. Some days I feel like I can’t hear clearly when I smile because I’m sure my smile envelopes my little ears too along with my self-esteem. I’m not even going to talk about my breasts and butt. Since there isn’t any to talk about in the first place.
And I grew up with a sister who woke up model-perfect. Flawless skin. Round face, Beautiful smile. Just effortlessly pretty. I didn’t resent her though I just resented myself even more in the mirror because of that.
Then eventually I just stopped. I wish I had a deep meaningful experience that enlightened me. Or just sat under some magical tree which lifted the fog clouding my brain. But no. I think eventually little positive influences from my sister and so many friends helped. I realised wide as my smile may be I could make others smile and laugh. I was funny. I AM. OK? Just take my word for it. And the marks on my cheeks didn’t bother me much anymore in fact when someone asks me about them now I’m surprised for a moment because they have become invisible to my once critical eyes. I underwent a surgery for my eyes and no longer need glasses. I still fumble and search for them in the morning for around 10 minutes till I realise I don’t wear them anymore. Not to mention the amount of times I accidentally poke my eyes expecting a barrier and I’m 23 years old. Clearly the spectacles are the reason I havent managed to gorge out my eyes in my childhood. Breasts still have the progress of Batman’s dialogue delivery but I have come to terms with them. Like they say in almost all the romcoms – “Sometimes somethings are worth waiting for”. Granted they probably were talking about the extremely attractive actor/actress but it’s relevant here too.
There are days of course when my hair won’t stay down or my smile seems weirder and I just want to scream and not go out at all but I think of the lanky shy kid who was once scared to cross the road and now is able to attract attention by roaring with laughter after falling hard on a flat surface and I think to myself – It’s okay. It might not be much but this lanky flat chested girl with a wide smile has come a long way and is here to stay. Not just stay but to make a lot of noise.
When was the last time you had to tell yourself “It’s okay”? I would love to hear your stories. 🙂