I’ve spent a long time trying to not be seen. As a 5’10” woman who in the 2nd grade was already 5’7″… I always stuck out. It bothered me deeply. I was teased endlessly even when I was a skinny kid for being a “cow” because I was just plain bigger than the rest of the kids my grade. For some reason, I let that way of thinking that I needed to be like everyone else become one of my goals.
The world started to mold me, and I allowed it. From this tall, unique creature my parents were so proud of into a Jell-O mold. Why? For what?
It’s not like when I dressed up in all the white wool that I could blend in. I was still tall. I was still curvy. I could lose 100 pounds and still be bigger than most women and men that I meet. I was still louder than the average person. I still preferred boots and jeans, rather than a short dress and heels. There I was with all this limitless potential to be a unique, fun individual with beauty, passions, and tastes all her own….. and I was wasting my energy stressing out over being the tall one in the back of the group photo with the girls. Which of course, I was standing in back because I wanted to hide myself being the “biggest” one.
I remember specifically when I was at a photography retreat in California. Rather than entering this experience with excitement, I was just focused on how stressed I was to fit in. While there were people of all shapes and sizes, styles, and passions, I told myself that I was the only “overweight” person there and that was why no one wanted to talk to me. That was why everyone else was being asked to have their portrait taken. I didn’t just put it on my weight, I blamed myself for not being beautiful enough for anyone to want to talk to. In order to get through the social aspects at night time, I took to my favorite coping mechanism – alcohol. It took a whole lot of alcohol to actually connect with people over a campfire and music.
My self-hatred for my body separated me from everyone else that had their own fears and insecurities. People that I could be very close friends with.
How sad is that? Instead of taking in the moment of being at a photography retreat in this stunning canyon on the California Coast… I spent the entire trip comparing myself to every other single person there. All because of how I felt about my body. All because I picked every piece of myself – outside and inside apart and compared myself to everyone there. Why didn’t I look like them? Why wasn’t I one of them? Through my self-loathing of myself, I created a separation between people that could have been my friends. I invested my money in this retreat just to spend a week dissecting myself and trying to fit in rather than just being who the fuck I was and diving into my creative self. How sad is that? An experience that could have been so inspiring for my soul turned into something that really crushed my self-esteem and made me doubt myself more than ever.
We all know who we really are. If you really take the time to step away from social media, step away from the company you keep and look deep down to find out who you really are. It’s in the still moments of life that we get to know ourselves. Once you take the time to get deep down to finally meet the real you, then the journey to self-love begins. Take the time to get to know and appreciate who you are. Then you will know what makes you feel confident, sexy and alive. This feeling will change all of your social situations for the rest of your life.
And it is once you truly love yourself for being the little black sheep that you are, that you realize that everyone else in the world feels like a black sheep too. Maybe we aren’t all so different after all.