How I Decided I Will Not Let Them Define The Way I Feel About Myself

How I Decided I Will Not Let Them Define The Way I Feel About Myself
How I Decided That I Will Not Let Them Define The Way I Feel About Myself

Okay, I am about to get real here. I am not as confident as I should be. Looking back at this past year, a lot of BS went down and as a result, my self-confidence kind of went away. I used to not care what people would think about me, the only opinion that matter was my own. I had short hair, love handles and I was as pale as Snow White. And guess what? I was extremely happy!

Then, some boy drama went down and I felt horrible after that. It was the typical “I like you but you don’t like me back” kind of thing, but that left me with self-esteem issues. I went from being the confident girl that loved everything about her, to start hating the way I looked, talked or felt. Part of me felt hopeless, and part of me felt that I needed to change in order to be accepted.

I started to think on what I could do to lose some weight. Would people like me better if my love handles are gone? Would boys like me better? If boys and people liked me better I would be happier. My mind was rushing with thoughts about it, and nothing would shut it down. I started to run and lift weights every single day, and watch what I was ingesting so I wouldn’t overeat. I had that covered, but then I went to the pool and saw these girls with beautiful tans being happy and joking around. I thought that if I were tanner, people would like me better, and that would make me happier. I started to spend time outside and get tanner. And a tan, skinny girl has to have long hair, so I started watching the weirdest YouTube videos to find the best ways to grow my hair.

And then one day I saw myself in the mirror and I hated what I saw. I had tan lines, and my skin was radiant and smooth. My stomach was flatter and my legs were leaner. My hair was finally longer, it grew a lot since the last time I cut it, and the color was beautiful. Dominique did a great job doing a natural yet noticeable balayage a couple of months ago!

But I was not happy. I let the opinion of people, especially boys, decide how I felt about myself.  I felt that I needed to look a certain way  to be accepted. I let the opinion of one boy to make me feel so small and worthless, that I needed to change who I was. I felt I had to look a certain way for this kid to even consider looking my way. I felt I had to look a certain way for a boy to approach me at a party. I felt that, if I looked beautiful people would like me more, and that would bring me happiness.

I am not happy with who I became after one boy rejected me, and I am especially not happy that even if I tried, I let people defined the way I looked or felt. I achieved my goal of losing weight and being tanner and having long hair, but I didn’t achieve happiness.

A few months went by and I kept my running and weight lifting routine. I kept spending time outside in the sun, and my hair is growing enormously lately.  But I decided that I will not let anyone affect the way I feel about myself, no matter what I look like. I decided to be the person that used to care more about her own opinion than what others believed.  And most importantly, I decided I will not let a boy define my self-worth. I am beautiful, I am smart, and I am worth it. No boy is be “too attractive” , “too cute” or “too smart” for me. I am to be too good for them.

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A Love Letter To My Body

Dear Body:

You have been through so much change. You used to be so thin, that when puberty hit I got scared. You started changing so much. Bigger hips and thighs, bigger boobs. Everything felt different. I wanted to go back and be thin, but no matter what you kept being the same bigger body.

Then, somehow, you got thinner. Amazing, I know. But I still complained about it. I complained about the size of my thighs and the curliness of my hair. I kept complaining about how big my nose was.

I started exercising, and eating healthier, and you started toning up. I could see the results and it was great. Still, I complained.I have complained a lot. I have called you ugly, fat, not slim enough. I have compared you to other bodies. I have treated you the way you don’t deserve. I fed you bad food, I let you down, and I wanted to change you no matter what.

Body, I am sorry for not loving you when you are truly beautiful. I am sorry for always wanting to change you, and never accepting who you are. I am sorry for not feeding you with good food, and not giving you the care you truly need. For not listening to you when I exercised enough or when you needed to sleep. Sorry for putting a lot of makeup and tanning lotion to cover yourself up,

Body, you are beautiful, not matter the size, color or shape.  I love you body, no matter what.

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Haiti

That Time I Went To HaitiI am a person who is obsessed with planning. I need to know things ahead of time, and plan accordingly around them. I am a person who doesn’t enjoy spontaneous moments that much, but rather have the knowledge of what it is going on.

I had been like that for a long time, but one day I found myself getting out of my comfort zone and doing something I never imagined I would do: I applied for a study abroad program in HAITI.

Let me break it for you so you can have a better understanding on how this worked out.

  • My English professor thought I had a great writing style and that I should apply for a writing certificate.
  • I emailed the director of the certificate and schedule and appointment to know how it works and how to apply for it.
  • I had the meeting Monday, February 23rd.  I met with the second in charge of the program, and the director walked in to meet me.
  • The director mentioned the trip to Haiti, which focuses on writing.
  • The deadline is Monday, March 2nd. Just a week away.
  • I applied, without looking into it.
  • I spent a week in Haiti.

Now, you might be thinking, why did we go to Haiti for a writing program? Well, Haiti is full of amazing writers and we met them, we also visited places that opened up ideas for prompts as well as a source of inspiration for other pieces of writing.

Haiti is a place that still hasn’t recover from the earthquake, and it is a really poor country.  The activities we did were focused on writing, but we did some volunteer work too. Ahaji, the director of the study abroad office, has been working hand in hand with the owner and director of an orphanage in Haiti.  Love Orphanage is a non-profit that takes care of kids who lost their parents during the quake, and the idea is not precisely to find them a home but make the orphanage their home. We fund-raised money, gather donations and took them to the house, and of course played with the kids.

Tahina and Fabiola were my “buddies” when we went there, and they made my experience in Haiti 10 times better. These two kids received me with open arms and a huge smile on their faces. They wouldn’t let me alone, and even when I wanted to fix my glasses or my -ehem- bra, they will tap on my leg so I could grab their hands again. They are kids that showed me that  you can be happy even if you have nothing.

Tahina and Fabiola.
Tahina and Fabiola. The girls who stole my heart and left it in Haiti

We also visited the oldest newspaper in Haiti, went to a Voodoo concert and to the Iron Market. We saw how the locals live, and how Haiti really is. What impressed me the most is how Haiti is portrayed in the media. I blame how scared I was when I finally realized I was going to the media actually. There are beautiful scenes there, and amazing people who are doing everything they can to survive.

Beach at Haiti
Beach at Haiti

I will admit that more than once I cried during the trip. When I said bye to the kids, and when we wrote poems with Haitians even if we had a language barrier. Sometimes it was too frustrating being there, other times I felt hopeless and I wanted to go back to America. The trip was too intensive, and required a lot from us, so crying now and then was understandable. I felt overwhelmed more than once, because everything we were doing was so different, and not at all what I expected to be.

It was especially hard to take everything in. All I saw opened my eyes and inspired me to write more, to give more. But being overwhelmed by the experience made it difficult to actually realize everything that was going on.

Quake
Quake

It was not until I sat down the last day to finish all my assignments that I realized what this experience was. Yes, I felt sadness and tons of mixed emotions during the trip, but is a feeling I will not change ever.

Did I have one of the most amazing experiences ever? HELL YEAH! It is a week i will not trade for anything in the world, where I became a better person and a better writer. It is indeed a life-changing experience, and something spontaneous that I am truly glad I did.

If you want to help Love Orphanage and learn more about it, please go here. Please donate and help them build a new house for the kids.

Love Orphanage - Haiti
Love Orphanage – Haiti

 

 

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