One of the hardest things I had to deal with during my childhood.
Classmates and sometimes even people who I considered to be friends who were just getting on my case.
Going home, my mom told me that those people were just jealous. My dad telling me to (wo)man up, take a deep breath and just be myself. Yes, and who was that, right? Meanwhile, I was coping with daily comments and judgement and as a young girl, I just didn’t have the confidence to go up against that or just deal with it.
I had no idea what I was doing wrong. I just knew that I couldn’t be myself (ha, like I knew who she was). Apparently being my genuine self was weird or stupid? Something must have been wrong with me, why else would they bully me, right? Must have been me.
Little did I know
To be so self aware, to feel small and insecure all the time. Not to be able to wear, speak or BE who I was, was horrible. I don’t blame them anymore, no use in blaming anyone, but not being heard by my parents, not to have an emotional safety net, was maybe the worst thing about it.
I spent my time continuously trying to live up to other people’s expectations. Thing I didn’t realize was that those kids were actually insecure about themselves, and to draw away the attention, they just targeted me: a girl who was desperately searching for her identity.
At an early stage, I discovered that I could run into bathrooms when times got rough. No, I kid you not. As soon as I found out that I could lock that door and nobody could touch me there, I became a frequent visitor.
I remember wearing a woolen, blue striped T-shirt once. I must have been 12 and so in love with it. As always, I went to school feeling all proud, until somebody felt the need to say: ‘That shirt is making you look fat’. Gosh, how I just wanted to go home and hide away under my sheets or at least, run into the nearest bathroom and NEVER come out.
I never wore that shirt again.
This year I turned 31 and this memory suddenly hit me.
Childhood memories in the present time
Like every day, I was deciding on my outfit of the day. I felt like wearing black, so I did. As usual, when wearing something basic, I wear some accessories to spice it up.
I looked at myself in the mirror, smiled at myself and felt proud. All of a sudden I realized that I never would have dressed out of style years ago. I was proud that I didn’t care about other people’s opinions anymore. Let them talk if they want too. Life is too short to live up to other people’s expectations.
The best thing we can all be is ourselves. Don’t change the way you talk or dress for anybody.
I stepped on my bike, drove to the office and here comes the silly part:
At the office, me and my colleague strolled down the hallway to get coffee.
While the machine was running, I randomly asked him: hmm, why do people always give a certain look when we wear something different? His answer hit me like a tranquilizer: are they looking, or do you have the feeling that they are while they actually aren’t? For a split second, I felt like that little girl of 12 years old all over again, who yes indeed wanted to run into a bathroom again.
It just hit me: it’s all a matter of mindset. Of course, as a 12 year old, I had no idea what was going on, I couldn’t really cope in the right way, because I only knew this situation of everybody having it out for me. But now, looking back and remembering what I had to go through as a little girl, I also realize that it’s my own mind that is creating stuff every now and then.
I am that confident girl
Suddenly, I got overwhelmed by this feeling of freedom and realised that I had the perfect text with the perfect photograph I took some time ago:
Quién es esa niña? Who’s that girl?
I AM that girl:
- I built confidence over the years
- I finally realise that I can be anything I want, dress the way I love and talk the way I want
- I don’t need confirmation doing the things I do
- I already wrote this post on the 9th of November and finally found the right words to publish it
I AM that girl who is not running into bathrooms anymore.
Well, unless… you know.
Disclaimer: this post was written in december 2017.