I was a plump kid in school, and honestly, it didn't bother me too much because I went to an all-girls' school where women around me empowered me at every step. Sure, my appearance mattered to me, but what mattered more was how I was doing academically and how much my teachers appreciated me. I was every teacher's favourite and I did very well in school. Not to brag, but I made it to the school leaders team, thrice. (Okay, I just bragged). My participation and contribution as a team leader fashioned me into a very confident kid.
Cut to college life where I had to transition from a girls' school to a co-ed college. This was tougher than I had envisioned. There were girls and then there were boys, and then there were girls who were different from me and made me conscious. Today, when I look back, I realise that I was all over the place. But honestly, I can't blame myself because we all tend to get influenced by society's idea of 'beauty', and in turn start to question our own beauty. To add to that, the fact that I was publically bullied for my appearance, my skin colour, and even my clothes didn't help my self-esteem. Today, bullying is considered absolutely offensive and is punishable, but that wasn't entirely true when I was in college.
Needless to say, I put in extra effort to dress up, wore makeup, and did whatever I could to look 'good'. I used to stress about my clothes and what to wear in order to impress a few people that I didn't even like. Little did I know, that it was all pointless. See, the thing about people is that they're everywhere. They will always bring you down. And they will hate on you for something or the other. But it's not because you look a certain way, it's because they can.
Even after years of bullying and thinking lesser of myself, I never spoke about it. Not once. And that's the reason I want to speak now. So that every girl out there realizes what she's really made of.
Remember, your outfits don't define you. Your makeup will wash off. It's your confidence, your personality, and what you make of yourself that matters. The bullies will always be bullies, and they'll always pick on you, and call you names. But today, I know what I hoped I'd known back then. You are enough. You are, in fact, infinite. I've seen myself get over those insecurities, I've realized my self-worth, I've come a long way. And so will you. I was lucky enough to start a job at a workplace filled with confident young women who believed in empowering each other. Women who thought it's important to lift each other up rather than pushing each other down. So, I too grew stronger. Over the years I've realized that a lot of it has got to do with your surroundings. If you surround yourself with judgemental and small-minded people, you'll always be insecure. I no longer did so I came out stronger.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy dressing up. I still enjoy wearing makeup but I don't do it because I have to, I do it because I like to. I can rock a loose T-shirt with pajamas just as much as I can rock that bodycon dress. I speak for every girl when I say this - you are not your outfit. A bully shouldn't make you doubt how amazing you are. You are the universe that you carry within you, with endless possibilities that are waiting to take you places.
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