It did not come naturally.
It certainly wasn’t obvious.
It was painful.
It is hard.
It is possible.
Somewhere between adolescence and adutlhood I found myself carrying an unmeasurable weight, one so incredibly tolling that I literally couldn’t function with or get rid of.
This weight, for many years I thought was physical.
That’s what I had heard my ENTIRE life.
” You’re so fat.”
“It’s a shame you have broad shoulders, petite girls are more attractive.”
“Lose weight or you’ll never get married”
” You would be so much more attractive if you lost a few pounds”
” Your skin is so patchy and discolored”
“You should cover up your eczema”
” Your hair is so thin, why doesn’t it grow”
Like all dehabiltating critcism, most of it came from my family. Again. And again and again. The irony was, be it a medical issue, eczema or my weight they had a knack for very publicly throwing things outside of my control in my face.
I am not part of the over sensitive population but after a while you start to wonder why it goes from white noise to shear disdain.
Like any demeaned and frustrated adolescent, I want to scream on the top of my lungs that I didn’t choose my broad shoulders, eczema, 29 different food allergies, PCOS or thyroid issues, they chose me.
Then I got a little older and a whole lot wiser.
I learned the following:
A. My weight was actually scientifically and medically under control and didn’t even qualify as something to be concerned about.
B. My scars, wrinkles, and discolorations we’re a part of me, they were effects of different struggles I faced, years of weeping eczema and chronic dermatitis. Years of no sleep, hiding from people and refusing to speak.
C. I had developed such an intense inferiority complex that my self image had become so skewed that I couldn’t even see what I really looked like anymore, I only saw who they painted me out to be, less than sufficient.
I had lost my grip on reality. My life was riddled with my insecurities. I deemed myself unfit for love and made enough sarcastic jokes about the citizenships or financial stability I’d offer men because that would be the only way I’d convince someone to be with me, that I started to believe it. I suddenly questioned my intellect, my passion for different things, my role in others lives. I had turned into such an internalized black hole, for a long time I didn’t believe there was an alternative.
In today’s society there is a beautiful acceptance of all body types which I love. I however am an advocate of being healthy and helping your body operate at it’s best so through the years I had let unrealistic Asian expectations convince me that I was unhealthy which in turn caused REAL stress induced health concerns.
It wasn’t all physical, it was mental. I had deprived myself of the very things I loved and ruined relationships because I thought I didn’t deserve them.
I grew up and I seeked affirmation from my friends and others. I searched for the stamp of approval, I was waiting for someone to say ” You are worthy”…….
And then I said it to MYSELF.
It wasn’t this massive revelation, I didn’t suddenly gain confidence or fall in love. I just woke up one day and realized following my dreams and loving myself was something I owed to myself because I was worthy and I was my own kind of beautiful.
It really is true, when you allow yourself to love yourself, you allow others to show you you’re worth loving.
P.S. Someone out there is singing like James Blunt, because baby YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL.