For me, struggling with self-confidence issues has been a big part of my life. I joke about “my awkward stage” and how it lasted 20 years of my life all the time but that’s because now I am past it so I am able to. I am 6’1” and proud now, but growing up being the tall, lanky girl drew a lot more attention to my younger, self-confidence deprived self than I wanted. I am going to go year by year from freshman year of High School to now, senior year of college so you can see how I changed year to year. The point of this is not to get pity but rather to draw attention to the issues girls and boys have growing up and to show that it does get better.
I was debating whether or not to even add this or to just skip right to sophomore year but I feel like it is something that is important to say in this post. For some odd reason, I really have no memory of freshman year. I’m not just being dramatic, I really don’t remember about 97% of the year. That being said, if someone were to come up to me and be like “do you remember when this happened freshman year?” I would probably be able to recall it but on my own, I cannot remember anything. I’ve tried but I cannot put freshman year together. I guess you can say that I “blocked it out” of my memory but I have trouble saying that because I don’t remember it… so I really can’t even tell you if it was good or bad. I know it sounds strange, but that’s probably because it is strange. I don’t like that I can’t remember it, I just don’t.
This is when I am going to say body image issues began to set in. This is when I was becoming aware of society’s ideal image of beauty and I started realizing things about my body that were less than ideal. Sophomore year I began to recognize parts of me that were not perfect and this took a toll. This was also the year that I started to gain weight—or at least I thought I was. To me, I just thought being self-conscious was part of growing up and that it’s fine because everyone feels like that. “It’s normal to not be happy with how you look.” What a sad, sad thought process.
Junior year was hands down the worst period of time for me confidence wise. Honestly, junior year was just hard for me period. School was stressful, I had major issues with friends and then to top it all off, I began to seriously hate my body. Every little flaw seemed magnified to me. I felt like I was walking down the hall and people only saw my flaws. I was tall, awkward and I felt hideous. It was like every time I looked in the mirror I found something else I didn’t like. Coincidentally, this also happened to be the year that multiple friends later told me I “started to get pretty”. I started to get pretty that year but it was also the year I hated myself more than ever. Funny how that works isn’t it?
My self-confidence issues were so bad I started to hate other things too, like my personality. It may sound dramatic but I seriously hated almost everything about myself. Not to mention, I wasn’t working to fix these things. I wasn’t taking steps to lose that extra weight I was beginning to see myself gain and in general was just not treating my body well. What I was doing to “improve myself” was making very self-destructive lists. Throughout junior year I would make lists in the notes section of my phone of things that needed to be improved. I am embarrassed about how long these lists would get. I was the lowest I’ve ever been. I didn’t like my body, I didn’t like my personality, I didn’t like my clothes and I just didn’t like myself.
My last year of high school came and I had a bit of an easier time. Senior year was fun for me. I think the fun I had senior year helped me hide my internal issues a bit and just enjoy my last year of high school, which I really did. Now that I think about it, this kind of shows how messed up my mind set was. I went from the worst year of my life to “forgetting” my issues. Senior year was fun but I was not in a good place. I was trying to pretend like everything was fine and it obviously wasn’t.
Freshman year of college:
College came around and I had a blast, to say the least. I was playing D3 Volleyball and had amazing friends and things were super good. I considered myself truly happy with my life but looking back now I can tell you that I still wasn’t truly happy. I thought I was because I was having so much fun and I felt good socially and I was working out but there was something still missing. I was in the best shape of my life, but it wasn’t enough. Just like senior year, I still had deep routed insecurities but I covered them by keeping myself busy and distracted. It shows me how having the body I wanted was not the fix. At this point I could have a body like a Victoria Secret angel but I wouldn’t have been happy with it. It wasn’t about my body and the issues I saw it was about my personal confidence and I had NONE of it. This exact feeling continued all the way through sophomore year of college. I was faking everything but part of me was okay with that because I was having fun.
From sophomore year of high school to sophomore year of college I was completely self-confidence-less. As much fun as I was having and no matter how my body looked physically, deep down I hated a part of myself. I hated myself for 4 years. 4 years of my life I spent feeling sub-par.
To reiterate what I said earlier, I’m not trying to get pity from this actually the exact opposite. So many girls and guys have these issues; I’m just choosing to talk about mine online.
So, where am I now?
First semester of junior year came around and something just changed. Everything began to fall into place. I can’t tell you a specific moment I decided I was worthy of loving myself, but it happened junior year. 20 years into my life I finally decided that I was worth it. First semester was in sorts, a transition. I was realizing everything I deserved but I obviously still had work to do. I still had to remind myself almost on a daily basis that I am who I am and this is the body and the soul I was given.
Then I went abroad. I know I talk about going abroad a lot but maybe this will make you realize why. Abroad it clicked. Abroad I threw my self-confidence issues out the window and never looked back.
Now, am I saying I am perfect and never have days where I look in the mirror and am not pleased? No, of course not. I am not perfect and never will be but I have the ability now to get myself out of feeling like that and it happens much less frequently. Instead of dwelling on feeling like shit I’ll go to the gym, hang out with my friends or just reflect. My mindset did a complete 360 when I discovered this is my life and I can alter my thoughts and change the way I go about life. Now, I have been told personally that I walk with confidence. Simply how I walk, and people notice it!? I am confident in the way I am because I know I am beautiful, as cheesy as that may sound.
Looking back, it SUCKS that I spend so long being unhappy with myself because life is so sweet when you realize your worth, it really is.
I don’t know exactly what I want people to get from this post but I hope it sheds some light onto the issue. I may not have appeared to be self-conscious during some of those years, but I was and so many people have to struggle with it. I am lucky that I never had serious consequences come from my internal struggling but people do. People have it much worse than I did and I know that.
I am so happy when I look back and see how far I’ve come. I feel like I’m finally the person I’m meant to be and it is such a freeing feeling. I know who I am and I don’t apologize for it or try to hide it. Life’s far too short for that.
Always remember that you are in control of your life.
‘Like’ TBB on Facebook www.facebook.com/thebrookebookbeautyblog