Written by Jacqueline U., Age 16
They say that nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Look back on your life. Choose a seemingly negative experience and turn it around so that you find something positive about it: whether it was a lesson or an insight into something new. It doesn’t matter how small, write about how it has impacted your life.
For as long as I could remember, people had always commented on my weight: asking me why I was so skinny, telling me that I was too skinny to be healthy, questioning whether or not I got enough to eat at home.
At home, I would find myself last at the dinner table, being forced to finish whatever dinner we were having that night even if I kept telling my parents that I wasn’t hungry. At school, classmates would call me ‘chopsticks’ which they related to my chopstick legs, telling me that my legs looked like ‘they would break any second’. Girls would ask me whether or not I was anorexic or bulimic. I always told them no, but they never seemed to believe me. When we had to check our weight at school for yearly fitness tests, I always tried to go last so that no one could see the numbers on the scale that I had learned to hate and despise.
A whole lifetime of this had caused me to avoid looking at my body in the mirror because I would feel so unhappy and self-conscious about my weight. I hated myself for feeling this way because I would tell myself over and over again that looks did not matter, much less what other people thought about me.
But this was always beaten down by four words, which taunted me every day, “I’m not good enough”. These four words would taunt me in the mirror as I looked at my angled body, flat chest, nonexistent curves, and chicken legs. These words became persistent; gnawing at me until I was left ambling in the dark waiting for a miracle to happen that would cause me to gain weight. I would look at a girl and say, why can’t I be like her? Why can’t I be like every other girl? I never stopped to think: what does ‘every other girl’ even mean?
This mindset all changed when we had to do an assignment in class where we talked about one thing we wanted to change about ourselves and three things that we loved about ourselves. When it was time to share out loud, I surprised myself by standing up. As I said my insecurity to the whole class (although it felt like the whole human race), I felt as if a weight had been lifted off of my back. As if by saying it aloud, I had admitted my defeat but had chosen to rise from the ashes and redeem myself.
I realized that I was not alone; everyone had something that they wanted to change about themselves. But it was up to me to decide whether or not I chose to pick and stab at my insecurities and continue putting myself down. I told myself that I deserved better. I found confidence in the list of things that I loved about myself like my writing abilities, determination, and taste in music. I told myself “I am good enough”, too bad it just took me a while to know I was.