I knew my insecurities more than I knew myself. I treated them as old friends, welcome to stay as long as they wanted in my head. I didn’t know how to handle them so I just let them be. I knew that everybody had them so I told myself, to just let them eat me up inside, I can probably handle it. Everybody else seemed to do it pretty well. ( Disclaimer, I could not do it. I failed miserably. ) The thing is, when we know exactly what is wrong with us, when things get tough, we no longer think about what happened. We just instinctively blame the so-called “weakness” of ours. And trust me, there will always be a reason why it’s our fault. And when this happens to me, I would always take it out on myself.
I had this idea that when you grow older, you’ll learn how to turn your life around, move forward and kick these insecurities and emotions in the butt. At least, that’s how I saw people would normally do it. And how I’d wish that I was one of those girls who were unstoppable. I wish I didn’t have to feel things so intensely so people would finally start to take a good hard look at me and say ” Huh, this girl has something to say.” I have spent my life fitting in (and constantly being bad at it), until when I graduated college, I realized, I didn’t know who I was. I just knew who I had to be. I believed that this world I lived in was built for a certain breed of people, people who had their eyes on the prize, and people who knew what they wanted and will not stop until they get it. I told myself: “Tong mundong to, gawa para sa mga bato. Kaya kailangan ko maging bato.” (This world is made for stone-hearted humans. I had to be one of those.) Thinking about it, all my actions were fueled by shame. It was my prime motivator. I acted on certain things because I knew that I wasn’t enough. And, it ended badly. Here I was, trying to be what I needed to be, without considering who I really am. I am the opposite of who I was trying to become. I was so bad at suppressing and keeping my feelings, and when I would fail at keeping them to myself, I would beat myself up for it. This cycle was self-destructive, and after numerous to and fros that went on in my head, I gave up. I just let myself be a mess. I allowed myself to be vulnerable, and I just took the risk of not knowing where it was going but continuing anyway, And it is the biggest favor I had ever done for myself so far.
So imagine I was 20-years old , heartbroken, single AF, in a recently-gained-ten-pounds-omg-she-let-herself-go state, recently diagnosed with depression, constantly crying about my job, lonely and insecure. And the advice that the internet told me to do? “Tell yourself that you are beautiful everyday.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! What, did you want me to lie to myself? I tried to tell myself that I was beautiful but I could not believe myself. It was too hard to look at myself in the mirror, what more to actually tell myself I am beautiful, so I scrapped that. That was for level two, I was still in level .05. What I did instead, was drown myself in my photography (Hello, depthoffeels) . I felt at peace, I felt calm whenever I took photos. From the usual landscapes, I (tried) taking more of portraits. As I took more and more portraits, I realized, I didn’t see people by how they looked like, what they wore, their size. No, I saw them for how they felt. And I started thinking about how I saw my friends, people that I loved. Yes, I had my initial assumptions about them, but now, I see them and all I have is love for them. It didn’t matter to me what they looked like, all that mattered was I knew they were worth keeping. So then I realized, what I was fussing over for the longest time (my appearance), didn’t even matter to me. It was what I thought mattered to other people. I had that eureka moment, and I realized, ha! It doesn’t even matter to me as much as it should. So from there, I started to think that to perceive someone’s whole being as just their face, or their boobs, or eyes, or butt, was the easy way to do it. What was the harder, and personally more fulfilling way for me to perceive others, or even myself, was to look at myself as a real, genuine, human being. Good parts and bad parts. So, back to the mirror, I was finally able to face it and tell myself that I was beautiful. And no, it was not because of how I looked. No, I felt beautiful because I felt substantial. I felt like I had something to say and I deserved to say it. Looked and I looked and I felt saw my brokenness and I owned it. I loved that I was emotional, cause that’s where I get my inspiration for my art and my creativity.
And the best part about this is, I realized that I didn’t need affirmation from others, It felt good, but it’s usually short lived. I need affirmation from myself. So slowly, I’m starting to shift my meters and KPIs from what others thought, to what I thought. So..yay! That’s my progress so far ❤
Side note: I am really really really passionate about self-empowerment and self-love, so if you want to talk about it, please feel free to message me!