Posts Tagged ‘self worth’

This is My Story; What’s YOURS?

May 10, 2008

Childhood – The Earliest Seeds

As an overweight kid, I could never escape the clutches of the Trim and Fit Club! Everyday, I had to report to a designated area in the canteen (in full view of other kids) where I spent recess with other overweight children like myself and the teachers would monitor whatever we ate. 

I was miserable because it was bad enough that I could never spend recess with my friends but on top of that, I had to spend recess with other overweight children in full view of the entire school!!! Even now, I remember crawling towards the Trim and Fit area ashamed, embarassed and feeling extremely small. After reporting to the teacher, I slunked in a corner hoping against hope to escape from notice.

Did this experience leave an indelible mark on my self esteem? Maybe; maybe not. But what I do know is that from a young age, I was different – because of my weight.

This went on for many years but the year I hit twelve years of age, enough was enough. The crash dieting began. Only one meal a day and I started running at a feverish intensity – once in the morning and once at night. Within months, I lost 11kg. Teachers began to worry and my parents were called in. But nothing could stop me. I was determined to do anything to be normal.

Over time, I eventually fell out of the Trim and Fit Club because I was not only no longer overweight but I was UNDERweight. And yes, I got my wish of finally being able to spend recess as a normal kid but it was never the same again. In my heart, I was an ugly duckling who had clamoured its way into the world of the normal. Although many boys started showering me with attention and I was nicknamed the belle of the school, deep inside, I would always be nothing more than an ugly duckling playing swan.

Rejection (s)

Of course other events continued to punctuate my growing up years but if I were to expound on all, it’d be a thesis!!! 🙂 Through it all, though, my self esteem remained extremely low. In secondary school (junior high school), I was actually a candidate for prom queen (surprise!!!) and I was doing well both academically and socially. But sadly, my self esteem never improved.

The huge blow came when I moved into junior college (senior high school) and started falling for this guy we shall name J. He was a very good friend and the feelings grew as we became closer friends over time. By this time, I had gained some of my original weight and was no longer the slim and beautiful prom queen candidate in secondary school. Instead, I was hoping to be loved and accepted for who I was. Fully aware that I was the girl-next-door kind of girl guys enjoyed having as a friend but rarely fell for, I knew better than to betray my feelings for J. Nonetheless, as a streetwise young man, he knew.

One day, I was returning to the classroom after visiting the restroom and only J and his friends were in the classroom at that time. None of them had any idea that I was there and as many normal growing up guys enjoyed doing, they were discussing girls. 

“J, I see you’re quite close to Mariko huh?? Any chance or not?? That you both will be together?”, J’s friend teased. 

Mariko? Oh please. I would never fall for her. She’s not even pretty and what’s more, she doesn’t play sports – So boring. She’s too fat for me too. I like slim girls with big eyes and long hair.” 

Thereafter, I stopped hanging out with J and his friends and I never spoke to any of them ever again. Did they ever find out that I had overheard their conversation? I will never know. But from that day onwards, the crash dieting and self mutilation began again. And till today, J’s words remain deeply ingrained in my heart.

Craving for love and acceptance, when I was slim again after several months of crash dieting, I started dating around and eventually landed myself in my first relationship. It was self affirming at first but the relationship winded to an end amidst violence and cheating after 4.5 years.

Today, I stand alone struggling with a staggering self esteem and a deeply wounded heart that has probably never healed completely ever since that day when I had overheard J’s comments to his friends.

The one important lesson I’ve learnt is : That we should never pin our self esteem and self worth on anybody other than ourselves. Because one day, that very person will disappoint us and we’ll only end up with more pain and an even more damaged self esteem.

Yes, this is my story – unabridged and painfully honest. What’s yours?

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Not Here by Coincidence

May 8, 2008

Hey dear readers and friends! 

Firstly, a big warm welcome and it’s so nice having you over!

No, I don’t think any one of us is here by coincidence – perhaps we’ve been lamenting at society’s preoccupation with appearances for some time; perhaps we’re just so tired of the whole “survival of the most beautiful” game; perhaps we have our own self esteem struggles and stories to share; perhaps we’re just curious about the different perceptions of beauty across cultures; perhaps a loved one so dear to us is battling with self image and self worth issues; or perhaps we’re simply looking for people with similar struggles so we know that we’re never alone. Whatever our reasons may be – no, we’re not here by coincidence.

Neither have I started this blog by chance. Growing up, self esteem was something I constantly struggled with. Not only was I of mixed heritage and therefore “strange looking” compared to my peers, having lived in various parts of the world, the conflicting expectations and perceptions of beauty in different cultures confused and plagued me. I soon realized though that I was not alone in these struggles. That we all face them at one point of time or another. It’s the kind of experience that we know everybody has faced but not many are willing to talk about.

This blog is not just part of a healing process for me, but it’s also my attempt to use my experiences to make a difference in a small but meaningful way. It is my hope that this site will be a voice for many and at the end of the day, we will not only support and encourage each other, but we will also learn and grow together through the sharing of experiences and stories.

I will be updating this blog regularly with interesting articles on the different perceptions of beauty across cultures, my own personal anecdotes and stories, tips from self help books and authors on how to love ourselves more, and more stories on campaigns and initiatives around the world to spread healthier notions of beauty and sexuality!

So, what’re you waiting for? Subscribe today! And you’ll never be left out! Any new stories or words of encouragement and you’ll be the first to know! Comment away on any of the posts, join the conversation and be part of this community today! May we all grow, learn and inspire together! 🙂