I came across this article on my Facebook newsfeed (like most people do) recently. It struck a chord with me since I had a conversation with my sister about insecurities. I grew up filled with insecurities partly because of my mother and issues with my image. I am and was an overweight kid with curly hair and had a lazy droopy eye who wore glasses since I was 5. I was never bullied outrightly but I have always been conscious on how I looked especially with “kids being kids”.
– TL;DR – (scroll down if you’re easily bored)
I was/am introverted which meant I was mostly quiet in school and it was hard because teachers took introverts as a difficult and not-willing-to-try kid. It was tough listening to comments teachers made to my parents. Fellow classmates would point out my almost afro-like hair and called me a lion. That was also partly because to make sure no one bullied me, I had to put on a fierce facade. To give you some back story, I live in a society where they view girls with long straight hair and fair skin as beautiful. Everything else is cast as an ugly ogre. Guess who was seen as an ogre?
Puberty was difficult because acne was popping on my face as fast as I could eat and mother couldn’t help but pick on it each time. It was rather annoying because it came to a point where I never sat next to her for the fear that she will press on my pimples. (She even bought a pimple popping tool which you see many blackhead annihilators today use.) Being fat was/is a constant struggle for my whole life especially because I played sports. I love sports but I loved eating equally so it was hard to keep the weight off after losing. Friends didn’t make fun of me but the family wasn’t too kind. Yes, those people who are supposed to love you unconditionally constantly made remarks on how I can lose weight or my clothes are too tight because I was clearly too fat for them. It seemed like flaws were all I saw whenever I looked in the mirror. The fact that I had a sister who was the perfect pretty smart and another who had this friendly personality and all her extracurriculars, made me feel even smaller in life. It is at a point where I don’t bother looking for a life partner because basically, I am ugly and flawed so no one would want me. I never fit in the usual Singaporean ideal girl.
Friends didn’t make fun of me but the family wasn’t too kind. Yes, those people who are supposed to love you unconditionally constantly made remarks on how I can lose weight or my clothes are too tight because I was clearly too fat for them. It seemed like flaws were all I saw whenever I looked in the mirror. The fact that I had a sister who was the perfect pretty smart and another who had this friendly personality and all her extracurriculars, made me feel even smaller in life. It is at a point where I don’t bother looking for a life partner because basically, I am ugly and flawed so no one would want me. I never fit in the usual Singaporean ideal girl. I wasn’t smart either so I couldn’t make up for my flawed looks.
To cut my “sad” story short, I really struggled with how I looked and how people perceived me. So, when I came across this article, one point kind sparked something in my overdriven mind.
As I grew older and entered university, people were a lot kinder (maybe because they realized that people take their own lives because of unkind words). I was/am still insecure about my appearance that when a new friend complimented me, I didn’t know how to react. I also realized that was the first time I received a genuine compliment. I grew up with sarcastic compliments and comments that I knew when it was genuine. Is it sad that I felt like kind people were rare? Till this day, when Nazzie (who I am genuinely grateful for her friendship) compliments me, it restores my faith in kindness.
It is something so simple that many won’t think about. But for me, as growing up insecure and still struggling with my insecurities, it was an act of kindness. I truly appreciate the compliment. Because I try really hard to find my personal style and to make myself feel confident in clothes to make up my external insecurities. Clothes make me feel confident and it brings me nothing but joy when I can piece an outfit and walk out of the house confidently.
(When I say genuinely compliment, I do not refer to certain people saying “Wah you know what that she is very good at doing such and such”.) Furthermore, when people genuinely compliment me on anything from my abilities to do craft or to design parties or my room, I would like to say thank you because I work really hard on myself and still struggle to find my identity and feel comfortable in my own skin. So when you genuinely compliment me, you just made my day/week/year/life. Thank you because I need it to get me going some days.
It’s not about validation from others but more so, to remind me or anyone with such insecurities that your insecurities is not all that of you. You are you and you are special. So it’s okay if you don’t “fit in” (I don’t know what that is anymore).
Just the best you you can be because it’s enough.
On a side note, I recently graduated from university. Wooooohooo! Though I did not get Honors or a stellar GPA, I am proud of myself because it wasn’t easy for me to get here. To my friends who said you were proud of me, thank you so much because you are the people who really helped me through the tough times. I have nothing but love for all of you who stood by me and to share a special day with me.