Tuesday 28 August 2012

The Moral Of The Story Is...

Racing into the classroom as soon as the maths teacher opened the door, this once overly energetic girl rushed to grab the seat at the far right-hand corner close to the window. The seat where no-one would be able to sit behind her. The seat where she could gaze out of the window and get lost in thought as she watched the branches on the giant trees sway in the cool autumn breeze; where she could just, for one hour, escape the pain of reality. That seat was where she felt just a little bit more secure as she was not exposed to anyone catching a glimpse of what she had to hide.
Only last month she was a normal teenager, with minimal cares and the belief that she was doing alright in her own world. However, little did she know that a seemingly normal day at school would dramatically change her life and her perception of life for many years to come.

Standing in the corridor after the lunch bell rang, she was joking around getting up to her usual palaver when she overheard a conversation taking place just a few steps away from her. She did not hear what led to that statement being made, but what she did unmistakably hear was look! Xs nose is big!

That statement, that wasn't meant for her ears, all of a sudden continuously resounded in her head; so loud that it drowned out everything that was going on around her. Suddenly, everything seemed to slow down as her mind went into overdrive, trying to process what she had just heard.

"What?!", she thought, "could it be?!". "Wait, I dont understand". She didnt know why she had never noticed this before. Then a sickening thought crept into her mind, the thought that if "So & so" had just said that about her, then how many other people thought the same?

This nose of hers, that sat smack bang in the middle of her face, was practically impossible to cover up. It was now her mission to try and disappear, to go around unnoticed, staying behind after class and doing everything possible to avoid people noticing her. 

Paranoia kicked in with such great force that it began to affect the way she related with her friends and family. All of a sudden (in her mind) everybody was out to get her and everybody she knew was against her. There were only a few people that she would allow to get close to her, as she now had an intense fear that she would once again be scarred by another comment.

This issue did not stop with her nose. It began to spiral out of control - from the size of her arms to the shape of her head, until there was very little on her body that she actually liked or appreciated. The seed of self consciousness had been sown and was now germinating into a monster that seemed to be growing quicker that the speed of light.

How could a teenager that did not have a care in the world, was so full of passion and on a quest to explore life, suddenly hit a road block that did so much damage it left her stagnant?

The answer lies in the mind. You see this girl was me, and this event DID take place at secondary school about 13 years ago. An event that I would say was the start of a bad journey down the road of what I call the self-depriving years. Depriving myself of living my life to the fullest simply because I took to heart what people said to, or about me and my image.
I allowed my over imaginative mind to spiral out of control and consequently, what was meant to be a brilliant aid to my years of growing up, became a destructive tool because I allowed it to and I did not know how to stop it.

The cumulative effect of self consciousness, plus the negative comments I constantly heard from other people regarding my weight, size and height progressively over time began to chip at the little confidence I had left, until eventually I completely despised my physical appearance. I became withdrawn and would keep a lot of things to myself, often resulting in random bursts of rage (after the bubble had become full and needed to burst). This went on for a while and the people close to me began to notice a change in my attitude and outlook on life.

It felt as though every ounce of life was slowly being drained, as I embarked upon this cycle of self loathing and pity. Resentment and the determination to block everyone out grew side by side, as I thought this was the best way to deal with my issue. I hated the fact that I took after my mums stature. I hated my prominent physical features. I hated the fact that people thought my younger brother was older than me. I hated the fact that after I had graduated from university and had started working, I would still have people ask me when I was going to start my GCSE's (I sat those exams 12 years ago). I would let comments linger in my mind for days, and I would digest the ugliness of each word, planting the seed of self doubt on the fertile soil of unforgiveness and bitterness.

Nonetheless, there was a tiny glimmer of hope. A ray of light that shone through and let me know that life is for living and currently, I was not living it to the fullest. 

I knew that there were other people in worst circumstances than I, circumstances that made what I was going through seem like childsplay. Nevertheless, I still needed to take this journey where I had to learn to forgive myself and let go and forgive the many people that ignorantly made one remark or the other to me in the past concerning my appearance, because ultimately I was only doing myself harm and not them. They would not care nor even know how their brash statements of "when was the last time you had a proper meal" would resonate in my mind for days.

As I mentioned in my 1st video, I have reached a stage in life where I am going to start viewing myself in a different more beautiful light. A journey I am taking to boost my confidence and positively impact others in the process. A healing process that will eventually end with an inspiring story to tell, one that can encourage others that there is hope regardless of the situation theyre facing. I am going to take each day as it comes, with a positive outlook on life. This will help with instilling the confidence needed for the thoughts that may come during the day.

I have battled with low self esteem for many years and it's something that I believe got triggered in my school corridor that afternoon all those years ago, the afternoon that I became incredibly self conscious.

The moral of the story? I leave for you to decide. However, ponder on this thought...you might not always like what you hear when you walk down that corridor; it can be harsh, painful and in some instances life-changing. Nevertheless, whether it changes you for the worse or for the better, is ultimately your choice!

"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it". - Mary Engelbreit