It took me a long time to accept who I am. I never thought I was pretty. I always saw myself as an outsider as I was Asian in a sea of Caucasian faces. Worse, I was shy and very slow to leave my shell. It was easier to stay in the periphery, where I was safe. I’m also one of those lucky ones who are socially awkward and don’t always understand the rules of social engagement as my parents sheltered me from outsiders and my peers. I tell my boyfriend I was forced to be a nerd because I had nothing to do but stay inside to read and watch Star Trek. He was a nerd by choice. I was a late bloomer and didn’t start dating until my twenties. I didn’t realize I needed to be social until I was about 24 or 25. I realized that if I wanted to succeed in this world, I would need to interact with it. If I wanted to interact with it, I needed to learn their rules and social etiquettes. I am by no means a social butterfly now at 33, but I am a much different girl than when I was at 24.
I noticed that those who were successful were extremely confident in who they were, and this was the only difference between someone who was social and someone who wasn’t. There wasn’t anything I was lacking except for this one area. What makes someone confident? The ability to believe in themselves. What happens when you live in a society where the media and those around you constantly remind you that you are not beautiful, that you are not what they are looking for? What happens when you’re afraid to even search for those answers? I was a cloistered girl who didn’t know how to view myself, and I think a lot of girls find themselves in this position when they are just starting to find themselves.
Little by little, I learned to accept myself for every perceived flaw I had. This was completely an internal process that I created to heal myself. I was reading comments on the internet about this great, older guy who was so positive and many people asked why they didn’t have a person like that in their lives. The reality is that you need to be that person to yourself. Boom! I bet your mind was blown. No? Then continue reading. I realized what my parents had been telling all these years about surrounding yourself with positive people, because positive people will propel you up only, and the person that has to be the most positive is me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely sarcastic and really own my resting bitch face, but I’m extremely positive towards myself even though I may not look like it. If someone tells me to smile one more time, I will cut you.
I forgave myself for the past and let it go. I accepted my life for what I had and didn’t have. I learned to love myself. Now that may sound like some bs, but I would definitely hang out with myself. I would date myself. I am proud of who I’ve become and continue to be. Once I let go of things that were in the past, I worked on the present. I smashed all my mental barriers. As a woman, I own my sexuality and embrace how my mind works. As a woman, we tend to overthink and think of everyone in situations. This has allowed me to enhance my critical thinking skills. As a minority, I see the inequality and racism first-hand. This has allowed me to see the tactics we perpetuate as an ends to our means. As someone who was socially awkward, I know exactly what you’re thinking because I’ve spent so many years talking to myself and I know how to explain it to you. All these things have made me who I am today.
I was watching a news program where a Columbine survivor said he is not happy his sister is dead, but he wouldn’t change it because it has made him who he is today. Embrace all your detracting values, because you wouldn’t be the person you are today without them. There are those who are privileged, but they can’t see what you see. If you realize that you do have a unique viewpoint, you will see your advantage. There are always going to be barriers, but do not build a barrier in your own mind. The only way to tear it down is to revel in what people tell you should not. Confidence is not bravado, but it is contentment with who you are. To accept who you are, you have to accept everything. I would not want to be any one else in this life because this me is completely beautiful even with my resting bitch face.