Saturday, February 11, 2012

Age 19

There I was, a 6-year-old girl, already beginning to develop breasts. As I continued to grow it didn’t take much for me to realize that I was the tallest, had the biggest feet and of course, the biggest body. Mind you, the fact I knew didn’t stop anyone reminding me of my abnormalities. We had mum on the phone, “I know she’s very big for her age, she’s a bit abnormal.” Brother, “Yeah that’s my sister, she’s the biggest one.” And who can forget good old Aunty H., “Oh, wow. You like to eat, don’t you?”

Throughout my young years into my teenage years, I felt constantly haunted by the fact that I was always the most developed which meant that I stood out the most. All I wanted to do was fade away and go about life completely unnoticed by anyone, even myself at times. Don’t get me wrong, in secondary school I wasn’t short of attention from boys. Every day consisted of me walking through the corridors - trying not to make eye contact with anyone, being hounded by the some of the best looking and horniest boys in the school. For some girls, that’s the dream - stomping down the corridor turning all the older boys’ heads. But for me, it was my worst nightmare - I didn’t believe I was pretty, I didn’t believe they wanted to talk to me for my “amazing personality.” As far I was concerned, they were dogs and behaved like such.

It’s always really interesting that no matter how much someone can tell you that you’re beautiful, if you don’t feel it yourself, they are simply just words with no weight or substance. It came to me one day, sitting in my math class. I was 16 at the time. There were two girls sitting in front of me arguing or discussing something. Finally one of them turned around and asked me, “Be honest, am I ugly?” That’s when it dawned on me, that I wasn’t the only girl who had these issues and this poor girl sitting in front of me looked so broken and worn down by all of the worry of not being “pretty.” My answer was simple, “No. You are not. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone make you feel as if you’re not.” It was time for me to take my own advice - what use would it be to anyone else if I don’t live that principle myself?

Dwelling on those words - I am beautiful, I am beautiful, I am beautiful - things began to change for me. As painful as it was, I decided to take a long, hard, detailed look at myself and tell myself all of the things that make me unique and different and how I was going to use those qualities to find my inner confidence. Eventually I did. I realized that I have a nice speaking voice, so I went for roles in plays and volunteered to do the reading in English. Becoming those characters helped me greatly. It meant that in that moment, it was all about me and no one else. You had to stop and listen to me, look at me, feel what I’m saying and if you didn’t, I would speak louder so you had to listen to me. Own the floor. I had always looked at my large 34E breasts as a burden, something that would never go away and bring negative attention to myself. Soon I realized that being that girl with bigger boobs than everyone else was my thing, I had something that every other girl wanted and couldn’t have, so instead I began to feel lucky that I’d been blessed with something so rare at my age. I knew I had a passion for quirky clothing, hairstyles and accessories. Once I built the courage to speak loudly in front of people with my head high, the confidence naturally came to experiment with my different sense of style and various hair colors. Very soon I had built an identity for myself around the things that I enjoyed and what I liked. I was who I was and nobody was taking that away from me.

Now, at the age of 19, I’m over the moon with my figure and my personality. Sometimes when it seems like nothing good is happening to you, you must make something good happen from what you have. It’s like being really hungry and only having eggs and cheese in the fridge - you take the two and make a banging omelet! I have two words that always pick me up when I’m low on life: OWN IT. Any flaw that you may have about yourself: OWN IT. When you’re walking down street, walk down like you OWN the street. When you enter a room, enter like you OWN the room.

Think this moment is mine, and mine alone.