When I heard about Metiza and the opportunity to be part of this amazing online magazine, I jumped on it, because I wish there would have been a place like this for me while I was growing up. To be completely honest, I’m still growing up. I mean, I’m only 16. However, when I used to feel left out because I was shorter and chubbier than all the other girls in school, like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Would I ever feel confident, differences and all? I wish there would have been someone who had been through it to tell me that yes, I would. Of course we have parents and female mentors, but if you need an authentic, unbiased answer, I’m here to tell you that self-confidence is achievable. It’s taken me years to finally feel proud of who I am, quirks and all. Whether you feel that you are too tall, too short, too thin, or too chubby, I’m sure you will see yourself in some part of my journey to becoming my true self.
It’s taken me years to finally feel proud of who I am, quirks and all.
I’ve always been short and chubby. It’s just who I am, and as a junior in high school, I can stand tall (well, as tall as a girl who’s 5 feet tall can stand) knowing that. However, try understanding that when you’re in middle school. In 7th grade, I started to realize that other people didn’t look like me. Unlike in 6th grade, people suddenly towered over me. Girls started discussing their clothing sizes, wearing makeup, and straightening their hair. All of my best friends were thin, and I began to feel self-conscious while shopping with them, which had never affected me before. I only wore baggy clothes in an attempt to cover my weight. It became so hard to feel good about myself when everyone around me seemed perfect.
It didn’t help that every magazine I saw in line at the grocery store displayed flawless (Photoshopped) cover girls, and every TV show and movie only showed girls who looked like my opposites. If only I had known that everyone in middle school was just as self-conscious as I was, even if they showed it less. I’ve always had naturally curly hair, which I love now because it helps me stand out, but in middle school I began to straighten it. I tried to wear clothes from the stores that everyone else shopped at. I tried so hard to fit in, running alongside my giant friends as they sauntered casually across the mall, my tiny legs struggling to keep up.
And then, high school happened.
Now, don’t think that all my problems suddenly disappeared as soon as I got to high school, because they certainly did not. However, I began to see other people with the confidence I wished I had. I’d say things like “this girl in my drama class is curvy like me, but I didn’t even notice it because she carries herself in a way that you’d think she has a perfect body”, and I yearned for it. I just didn’t know how to find it. I tried for all of freshman year to figure out what the problem was, when one day, I discovered the problem was me. I had an idea in my head that I wasn’t beautiful because I didn’t look like the tall, thin, blonde, model-esque girls I saw in the halls.
I was just a short, chubby, curly haired brunette who loved wearing sneakers with fancy dresses. However, after surrounding myself with people that loved me for who I was, size 14 dress and all, I realized that I didn’t need to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. Obviously, seemingly perfect girls don’t disappear in high school. It just becomes easier to see the people unlike them.
My eyes were opened to people who embraced their crazy laugh, their obsession with One Direction, their tomboy style, or their love of chocolate.
Today, I wear dresses that make me feel good, regardless of how “flattering” they may be. I wear my hair curly, because I love being able to flip over and do my hair in 5 minutes, and because I love to stand out and be unique. I always raise my hand to say the answer in class when I know it, no longer afraid of people calling me a know-it-all. I dress shop with pride knowing that I love my body and how far I’ve come. I don’t get upset when I see 6 foot tall girls roaming the halls; in fact, I own my shortness and embrace it. I even wore Converse instead of stilettos to homecoming this year despite pressure to look taller, because guess what? I didn’t want to look taller and I like wearing comfortable shoes, so I wore my black, beat-up Converse just like I wanted to. Oh and P.S., all the girls who wore stilettos took them off 5 minutes into the dance, so who’s the smart one now?
If you take anything from my story, I hope it’s to embrace your true self.
I know it’s not easy to stand out, especially when standing out is treated like a bad thing instead of the incredible thing that it is. But, if you step away from the girl who says your smile is weird, the girl who says you look “fat” in a dress, the girl who tells you that you should straighten your hair, and the girl who tries to tell you to change who you are to be cool, you will have doors opened to find people who treat you like the wonderful individual you are. Wear clothes that you love. Don’t be afraid to be weird, unique, artistic, sporty, funny, and everything else that you are. And though it can take time, you will finally feel happy being exactly who you are. And that is so much more worthwhile than being anybody else.