A Journey Through Insecurity

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Today I have been thinking a lot about my insecurity journey and where it has taken me. Everywhere we turn we see articles and videos on how to gain confidence and feel sexy in our own skin. I've written some of these articles! You never really hear about the insecurities people went through or are still struggling with though. It's like our lack of self-esteem is some type of disease that should only be talked about when it has been conquered.

Yeah, I feel like I have conquered this 'disease,' but it isn't something that just goes away completely. I still have days where I feel fat, ugly, or incompetent. I'll have moments where I gather up my stomach fat and look at it in disgust. Most days are good; some days not so much. The difference now is the fact that I'm done feeling bad about feeling bad. "Oh, you're stupid! You look beautiful!" So now I am stupid for feeling blah? Great, new insecurity.

It's okay to not always love yourself.

As a kid growing up, I absolutely hated myself. Hate is actually a kind word for how I felt. It had nothing to do with my living situation. Some say you get insecurities from how your parents treat you, but my mom has always seen me as a beautiful little angel. Yes, I did get picked on by some extremely mean kids but not enough for the loathing I had felt.

I honestly could not tell you what started my self-esteem downfall. Maybe it was looking at the size zero models in magazines, perhaps it was the fact that I saw my mother go through her own issues. Whatever the case, I thought I was disgusting. My nose was big and crooked. My fat hung on my body in an ugly way. I was too tall. My hair was not smooth and flat. My hands were way too big. I had a muffin top with everything. No boy would ask me out. These were daily thoughts I had that would ebb until it was too painful to quiet the noise.

I just wanted to be pretty like the other girls. Wanted to be liked and have friends or have boys asking me out. Because of these insecurities, I befriended girls and boys who were not kind to me but what I felt I deserved. The boys that did show me attention treated me like scum and I felt like that was as good as it was going to get. This is not for you to pity me. This is to show what state of mind I was in and how a lot of people feel but never say.

Technically, I was not fat for my height. I am a tall girl so; obviously, 110 pounds is an unattainable goal. My bones are broader so I probably couldn't fit into some of the outfits the other girls wore. I wasn't 'skinny,' but I was never fat. I see this now but if you told my 13-year-old self this I would have laughed in your face.

Photo by Bernard on Unsplash

To this day I still have a little bit of chub. When I sit, I have a stomach that pools over. Now I know that most every girl and boy does. My body is at a healthy weight. I could tone up, but I am by no means unhealthy. That is what changed over time; I started thinking of health instead of calories or weight. It was not an easy journey, and I didn't realize I had even changed until one day I stopped and thought about it.

Skip to after high school when I started a serving job. I was still the insecure little girl curled up inside. Then the most handsome man I had seen in real life called me beautiful on my first day. Damn. That made me feel like I was soaring. Slowly my friend circle started growing, and I was having fun with girls and guys who treated me respectfully. They weren't trying to hold me back or critique everything I did. I was supported. Or so I thought.

With the money I was making I wasted it all on makeup, clothes, haircuts, nail salons, and anything to make me prettier. Groups of us would start fad diets or just barely eat which caused my weight to drop. The baby weight that we all hold was starting to evaporate off. I would spend HOURS applying creams and face masks to have the perfect face. Spare time would be spent watching Youtube tutorials so that I could perfect makeup. I thought I was building my confidence. Indeed it was just a mask to hide the pain deep down.

Now I was turning heads. I was getting guys to look at me and lust a little bit. This isn't me being conceited; it was just me finally seeing how I was being treated. The more they lusted, the more I felt my confidence growing. Was I pretty? It must be true if they like me. Did I think I was? Not really. If you really looked into the details, you could see that I was still struggling. Friends weren't really the right match with me, but they were the popular girls I always wanted to be with.

Guys were still treating me horrible, and I still let them. The people in my life had changed, but the circumstances were always the same. I stayed at this place for over 4 years and went up the corporate ladder. It was my home, and when it shut down, I felt empty and devastated. My home was ripped from under me. Would people still think of me as pretty at another job? I was plummeting and fast.

23 years old and completely lost in every aspect of my life. Something was changing though without my knowledge. I started a new job and was treated like a piece of garbage. One day I was fed up with it and left without notice. This was the first time I had stuck up for myself, and it felt empowering. I got a big adult job where I was treated like an independent. It felt great but was not for me, so I left. The second big move I had made. Throughout all of this, I started wearing clothes that suited my body type better.

I would go days without makeup, only wearing it when I wanted to. A couple of days I went without a bra because it was that time of the month and my breasts felt like rocks. It felt kind of freeing. Why was I even wearing push up bras? So I looked like I had a bigger chest? Why did I even care? Somehow the conversation went from, "What would others find attractive?" to "What do I feel comfortable and pretty in?"

People act like this confidence boost changes when you pretty yourself up and act differently. As if it happens overnight and you can fake it. I did fake it, and nothing changed. It wasn't making myself 'pretty' that helped me feel good in my skin but me merely not caring what others thought. A guy was having a conversation in front of his girlfriend and another girl about confidence once upon a time. He was upset because his girlfriend didn't feel pretty and he couldn't understand why.

He turns to the other girl and asks, "Do you feel beautiful?" She responded immediately with, "No woman ever feels beautiful." He then turned to me and asked if I felt beautiful. Without thinking, I responded with, "yes." I could tell the girl was upset with my answer, but it was the truth. I did feel beautiful because I was living a life for me and no one else. This was the start of my turning point. You can have lousy days and still feel beautiful.

Now people treat me with respect, or they are not apart of my life. I look back at relationships and cringe to think that I was in love with certain people or that I considered some people my best friend. It is easy to see now that they were using me up until there was nothing left but a shell of a person. The people I hang around now are quality friends and loved ones who help me grow just as much as I help them develop. I don't have many friends whereas I used to have a pool of them. I am OK with this. Quality over quantity.

I guess the point of this little memory/rant is to show that it is okay if you don't feel good about yourself. Those days are still there for me and probably always will be. I'm grateful for that insecure girl now because it helped me see the bad so I never go back to that place again. I can look back at everything and be grateful and happy. It's not about changing your appearance to fit other peoples perceptions but to change your opinion of the world around you.

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