My Real 10 Year Challenge

It’s scary to think that 2009 was a complete decade ago. While it’s easy to look at myself in the mirror and see the obvious physical changes that have taken place since that point in my life as a 12-year-old seventh grader, I’m more impressed by the internal changes that aren’t on display.

To put things briefly, I wasn’t very happy with myself growing up.

Everyone knows how harshly puberty can strike and the insecurity that it brings can be a lot to carry at such a young age. Due to external factors such as bullying, I went through a long period in my life of hating myself. This not only negatively affected my image throughout middle school, but it followed me into high school as well.

Despite the compliments that I received from family members and friends, I was never ever secure with myself. No matter how much I had changed on the outside, all that I could see in the mirror was an unattractive, unlovable girl who would never amount to much at all.

These intrusive thoughts made such a negative impact on the way that I viewed myself, and it seemed that no amount of compliments make them go away.

It wasn’t until very recently, around the time that I started college when I started to challenge these insecurities for the first time. I made it an everyday objective to replace those thoughts with positive ones. There would be no more looking in the mirror and calling myself ‘ugly’. No more comparing myself to the next girl who I believed was so much better than me. I wouldn’t let the words that tore me apart have that power anymore.

Now, ten years later from the seventh grader that I was, I look back at the past and smile. It took a long time for me to finally see that I was not ugly. Nor was I unloveable. I just mistakenly gave too much power to a group of middle school kids who didn’t want me to see how amazing I truly was.

And that challenge is over now.