I think my biggest struggle is being secure in who I am. It’s easy to think: I’m not pretty enough; I’m not skinny enough; or I’m not smart enough. The world is a cruel place, and people can be harsh. I tend to take things personally, which is not a very good thing, to be honest, in the cutthroat, fast-paced industry that I am now working in.
I was a plump child, so I grew up with many insecurities. I questioned my attractiveness and my intellect. My parents constantly compared me to my cousins and siblings, and that gave me added pressure to try and be perfect, whether in academics, sports, etc. My life was like a canvas that could not afford to be tainted. Along the way, I met friends – both good and bad (here I use a very binary term, but honestly, I do not think there are such things called ‘bad friends,’ perhaps just toxic people) – that have left imprints on my life in both good and bad ways.
I will be brutally honest with you, and not attempt to hide my skeletons. I think that my honesty will be the best form of encouragement to anyone who reads this. For a good number of years, I struggled with self-harm. I found that it helped relieve myself of an overwhelming amount of stress (temporarily, of course). Having had unfortunate experiences, I found it difficult to trust anyone, or believe that someone could understand what I was going through.
As I grew older (perhaps it is cliché to say I have also grown wiser, but it is true), I’ve realised that the circle of friends we possess grows smaller, and we keep only a few good friends close. I made an important decision to cut contact with the people that were toxic in my life. I think that it is important for a woman, especially, to surround herself with people who will build her up, support her, and inspire her.
And if you ask me, I think that discovering who we are and learning to love ourselves is a lifetime’s journey. Till today, I still continue to struggle with accepting who I am. I’m constantly fighting the demons in my mind to tell myself: you are beautiful just the way you are. Body image is one thing that I think hurts many women, myself included. Nonetheless, I’ve learnt to work hard – by eating healthily and exercising – to achieve my goal, instead of harming myself with various eating disorders (trust me, I’ve tried and failed miserably). I hope that my story, is an encouragement to whoever needs a pep talk right now. Perhaps you might find have a better answer than I do, on how to overcome some of the challenges that women face.