Photo by Tim Mossholder
Having a poor image of myself started around elementary school. I was bullied a little bit around fourth and fifth grade because I was chubbier than everyone else and I had frizzy, curly hair.
This continued right into middle school. My self image continued to twist into a form of hating myself. I did not like how I looked at all, but there is not a lot to do about that in middle school.
My parents were aware of the bullying and tried to go to the school about fixing the issue. My school had a major attitude of “kids will be kids” and turned their heads away.
Once I was in high school, the bullying stopped for the most part. I was a quiet kid that people did not really notice, so I was left alone thankfully. However, being in a school full of your bullies was torturous and my self esteem had already been crushed.
A major change for me was college. I started my freshman year at Western Kentucky University and I had a clean slate. No one knew me here.
I got a random burst of confidence where I had decided to try out crop tops and shorts I never thought to wear. I was shocked to get compliments on my outfits, and no one ever even mentioned my insecurities.
College continued and my self esteem grew with it. I had new friends that looked like me and looked completely unlike me, but none of them cared about how I looked. It was astonishing to me.
I had been straightening my hair since middle school to avoid being made fun of. One day I was honestly just too tired to straighten it, so I decided to wear it natural.
I immediately got so many compliments and asking if that was how my hair naturally is. People could not believe that I was straightening it for so long. I felt like I had just wasted a big chunk of my life.
A few years later and I am a senior in college. I feel as though each year my confidence has grown. I do not often care what other people think about me; I wear what I want, my hair is always curly and frizzy (it is a package deal) and I usually look like I just rolled out of bed.
There was a moment during my freshman year of college that I realized I had wasted so many years hating myself because other people said I should. There was never a reason to hate myself.
Every now and then I feel like I am in middle school again, and all I want to do is stay in my bed. It is okay to have to remind yourself that there is no reason to hate yourself. The flaws you see are typically what everyone loves about you.
I wasted a good portion of my life hating myself. Ignore what everyone else says. Take some deep breaths. Put on your favorite outfit (even if it is pajamas) and take back your wasted time.