I often wonder why it is that I can’t leave my home without checking my reflection countless times for what I refer to as “errors” in my appearance and outfit choice.
At first, my mind logically conjured the idea that it might be my self-diagnosed “OCD”(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder); but once I’d rid myself of that thought, I instantly came up with vanity.
But the thing is, I’m not a vain person. So I decided to talk to one of my closest friends about this problem- and this was unusual because I’m often the one who people come to with their problems. I told them that I always fidgeted with even the most minuscule “faults” of my facial features, makeup, hair, and accessories.
“Maybe,” they had started almost uncertainly, “you’re an introvert.”
I had stared blankly at them for a moment, taking my time to contemplate their assumption and helpful input. I quickly came to the conclusion that this was inaccurate; after all, wasn’t I speaking to my friend confidently?
What I failed to think about was that when we first met, I was quiet and it took over a year of our being in the same studies for us to actually communicate. I reluctantly began to admit that I had every sign of being socially impaired.
“An introvert?” I murmured cautiously, my brows furrowing downward in deep pondering. “Maybe…”
I couldn’t look people in the eye when they talked to me, nor could I compliment someone or start even a mundane conversation. I couldn’t walk up to someone and ask them if they liked something. It’s not that I didn’t want to, it was just that at the time, I really couldn’t.
I slowly began to become even more insecure and worried. I stopped talking to friends and family members for about a month or two, I stopped doing the things I loved like drawing, writing, taking photos, and playing the guitar. I rarely left my room, and even less did I leave my house.
That’s when I started to believe that I couldn’t do anything right. I went three days without eating one time; and just when I thought it was getting to be too much, I gathered enough courage to leave my comfortable place of isolation and meet a friend who was very worried about me.
They ran up to me as soon as I stepped foot in the small cafe and smothered me in affection that I’d long forgotten. That’s when I began to get fatigued. They were just looking at me for an unusually long time. Was my hair messy? Did my makeup smear? Did my outfit not match?
“You’re so beautiful.”
I was stunned- how could they believe I was beautiful? That’s when I knew that what I was missing wasn’t the support from friends, but confidence in myself and the things that I could do.
It didn’t matter how others saw me, as long as I loved me for me and saw past the physical appearance.
My friend and I met each other regularly to work on this problem. That was about five years ago; we still meet each other frequently, but now I joke around and laugh and look straight into their eyes when they’re speaking- and although I still battle with my insecurities, it’s more about things of importance such as the bills and work and my studies.
Have confidence in yourself; be proud of who you are, and don’t be afraid to have aspirations and goals. Do what you love, dress how you feel, be open with others. It’s hard at first, but if you show others that you’re comfortable in your own skin, you might just inspire them to be as good of a person as they can be.