This face complete with sparkling eyes and porcelain skin, these were not always mine. They were, they just weren't always so organized and put together. There was a time when this skin was completely freckled with acne and a slight unibrow. When my body fat distribution was off balance and my words were limited to, "Hi." and "Bye." At this point in my life, I was pretty miserable. For a slew of reasons, but how my peers and teachers treated me was not any help.
In college, this slowly changed. The acne mostly cleared (darn you, breakouts!), I regularly went to the gym (darn you, peanut butter!), and I learned how to look my best with the minimal amount of effort (darn you, eyebrows!) At this time, I noticed something changing. Outside of myself. It was in everyone else. I found men talking to me for absolutely no reason and asking for my number. I found women hating me and their husbands/boyfriends telling me it was jealousy. I could no longer hang out with my old buddies, they didn't trust themselves to behave around me. I was now the man-stealer, the housewrecker, the young blonde...
I hadn't changed, though. I still felt utter terror when talking to strangers and I felt ugly wearing short skirts or tight tops or bikinis. I had a few more tattoos and piercings, which made me come off as confident. I learned how to pull along a conversation without blushing or sweating too profusely. However, I was still the hippie weirdo with social anxiety and an unhealthy obsession with all things fluffy, feathered, and scaled.
I never adjusted to being treated better. After all, I didn't feel better about anything. I didn't want anyone to envy me, I didn't want to feel like I was becoming "one of THOSE people", either. I wasn't making more friends or feeling accepted, that's for sure. Now the guys got to admire me, the women got to gossip about me, and what did I get from the deal? I got harassed a lot. I got treated like a Barbie doll. It was assumed I was weak and stupid.
Only recently have I realized what I gained from this. I stopped putting all my focus on being one of those brats and I started lifting weights and I attended my college classes, putting my passion for psychology and music to use. I stood up for causes and sometimes people listened. People felt safe coming to me for help.
Should I be treated differently because my physical appearance has changed? No. Will I forever experience the world from a different perspective than those who never outgrew their rough patch in life? I hope not. I plan to always hold onto the worst pains of my past and what I felt and saw and experienced and never watch anyone else go through the same thing helplessly. I still have to fight to maintain my confidence and strength, and through that power, I will help others. Not to mention, others will continue to help me. I am still a lost fish trying to balance this new me and the me who couldn't be forgotten.
I just hate that the person I was before was the one who was bullied and teased and forgotten, while the new me sits around and reaps the benefits of puberty. I won't allow myself to become the person I've seen many of my peers turn into because I would hate to be that person.
Most of all, I have learned to let me people care about me. Even... LOVE me. I still have to practice and remember I am worthy of it, but I have made such strides and I have to love myself for that. Once I do that, I can begin my journey to forgiveness and eventually, esteem.