I once came across this quote while I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook:
“In a world that profits from self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act”.
It wasn’t exactly the most profound thing I have ever read neither was it written extraordinarily but it resonated with me in so many different ways. I guess because I know it’s true. We live in a world where almost everything is designed to make us feel inadequate. The sad part is – we buy it. We end up drowned in doubt and disbelief. We end up believing we’re not good enough unless the world says otherwise. And we give in. We try to conform. We overcompensate. We give more than we’re supposed to.
Maybe it’s because of the commodities we choose to consume. Maybe it’s because of the people we surround ourselves with. Girls of the world, I hope you realize that no one ever wins by trying to be everything to everyone. You can give it your all and to some people, it still won’t be enough. The world will always have something to say. The world will never run out of ways to put you down.
But it wouldn’t be fair to assume either that other people are entirely at fault. Sure, the society we belong to affects us but it is us who contribute the most to this kind of mindset. In our own ways, we contribute to this world that profits in self doubt too. We beat ourselves up for things that make us human. We think about things probably way more than we should. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that we cause our own misery sometimes. Girls of the world, there is no shame in admitting that you are partly responsible for some of the problems you face. To deny yourself of your faults is to deny yourself of the opportunity to grow and be better, to make amazing things happen. Trust me, that’s the worst mistake you’re ever going to make.
Whether it’s the noise around you or the voices in your head – never let anything limit you. Not the people who doubt you. Not the mistakes you’ve made. Not the relationships that went to waste. Not where you came from. Not your size. Not the trials that come your way. Not yourself. Whatever happens, give yourself a chance.
We all have issues..Mine come in the form of insecurity because of my size and putting up with emotional abuse growing up.
I was always at least one size bigger than my peers. As a kid, I was called different names for being fat. I would often be laughed at ; I would laugh with them too sometimes without realizing how much I hurt inside.I remember the times back in high school when I would cry myself to sleep because I felt that I was ten steps behind just because I was bigger in size. I was so young and I wanted so badly to fit in. My weight was the default go-to topic at family gatherings whenever there were no more “interesting things” to talk about. There were so many things I didn’t enjoy because I’ve become so insecure. Fat is just an adjective. It’s not meant to be offensive, but when you’re made to feel as if that’s all there is to you – it can get quite depressing.
More than the teasing, the insults or the discrimination – I believe it was having no one to run to that broke my heart the most. I was abused physically and verbally growing up. Everyday, I was reminded that I was a failure, a catastrophe waiting to happen, that I caused more trouble than I was worth. And I believed it. My self-esteem was so low that it affected my performance in everything, the choices that I made and the people I spent time with. I let the negativity consume me that I forgot about the dreams and goals I had for myself. I settled for toxic relationships. For 19 years, I was wishing my life away. Until it all took its toll. I reached my limit. I lost twhat I believed was the little good that I had in my life.
At 19, I dropped out of university and moved out e. I was already halfway through college taking a pre-law course at a prestigious (and very very expensive university) at this time so you could only imagine how many eyebrows were raised at my decision. All sorts of rumors about me were going around and as you would expect, the “friends” I had turned their backs on me one by one. Looking back at it, I’m not quite sure how I survived. I was so young and unprepared. I barely had enough to get by for a month. All I had was courage and a made up mind. I would tell myself everyday that the time to start building the life I dream of is now.
That’s exactly what I did. I took on multiple jobs so I could have a little more than enough to pay the bills working at least twelve hours a day, seven days a week. I took on every single opportunity that came my way. I was working on side hustles too as a student but I’d have to say – nothing prepared me for the real words. The hard work I put in is slowly paying off.Almost two years into it, my life has never been better. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m relatively healthier. I’m working on things I’m absolutely in love with. I’ve been discovering so much about myself like for instance, how much I enjoy traveling.
In January 2017, it was my first time to go out of the country and I did it alone. I enjoyed it more than anything. My heart was filled with so much joy ; I would catch myself staring blankly into the sky feeling so thankful for all the things I have now – the good, the bad, the ugly, everything. I remember the times when I couldn’t even afford to ride a Grab or an Uber or when I had to hoard canned goods because that was only what my money was worth. I was 20 then and for a 20-year-old who didn’t come from Manila’s upper upper and started from scratch, the entire experience was surreal.
Just as most first-time-traveler stories go, I came back to Manila with a thirst for more adventure. I told myself that I would stop spending unnecessarily on material things and use whatever extra money I have to save and travel.
In March, I climbed my first mountain. It was tiring but the experience was worth it. Although I almost died at least ten times during travesrse, I’d have to say I was scared so I think I won’t be climbing a mountain again very soon. Haha!
When I was younger, hearing “swimming” and trips to the beach gave me some sort of anxiety because of my size. I’m sure at some point in my life, I swore I hated the beach. I guess it slowly changed when I got the chance to step foot in Boracay’s famed Pukka Beach and even more so when I went camping (it was my first time too!!!!!!) in Fortune Island,Batangas and Anawangin Cove, Zambales. Because I gave myself the chance to embrace who I am – I’m having the best summer ever, walking around in my one piece and getting tanned beautifully.
I’m going to a couple more local destinations in the Philippines before the summer ends. In September, I will be flying to Hong Kong to cross out Disneyland off my bucket list. I’m also thinking about giving “Celebrate My Birthday In A Different Country” on my bucketlist a go. Talking about it already gets me so excited!
The thing about traveling is that it makes you feel small but empowered. Going to a different country or even just seeing more of your own makes you realize that it’s definitely a big world with countless possibilities. You are just a speck of dust within it it but you have within you the ability to choose which path to go. The world is too big to be limited to a single circumstance, set of people or routine – to let a single shortcoming, set back or mistake define your personhood and your life. Girls of the world, give yourself a chance to experience this. There are thousand of life-changing opportunities just waiting for you to take a chance on them. You lose some? So what – you have the rest of the world to gain.
Girls of the world, I hope you never get tired of trying. Yes, you will fuck up. You will sometimes be the toxic person you were trying to avoid. You will miss out on opportunities that are seemingly once in a lifetime. You will be wrong about certain things. At some point, you will be wrong about yourself. Always remember : we’re not always right about who we think we are but we can always be far better than we could imagine. Girls of the world, give yourself a chance. The world is yours for the taking. Allow the universe to surprise you with what you are capable of. You are meant for endless possibilities.
In the process, I hope you serve as the light for everyone, who just like you, are struggling in the dark. It’s true that life isn’t fair but when the universe sees that you fight hard enough – it will compensate you in countless, unimaginable, beautiful ways.
The life I have now is far from what I had originally planned but it’s a million times better. It’s not always easy but I would not trade the things I have now for anything. Girls of the world, I’m pretty sure my story isn’t the most profound nor the best you’ve read but I do hope it ignites something in you. There are far worse sufferings than your own but it doesn’t make your sufferings any less valid. I hope you find the courage to walk away from things that unnecessarily hurt you and pull you down. I hope you take that leap of faith that can possibly change your life. I hope you stop beating yourself up for the things that make you human. Cry if you feel the need, hurt if you have to but never let anything stop you.
Give yourself a chance – you are worthy of the trust and the love you so freely give to other people.