For a long time I haven’t known how to write this. I did try once. At university. But even then I was hiding behind a story, distancing myself. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe I was scared. Who knows? Even now, sitting at my laptop, I’m struggling with how to start. All I know is, I want to let this out.
As I was making my grand entrance in to the world, there were a few issues, which resulted in me getting stuck. There is a long and barely pronounceable term for this, but I just like to say that I was being stubborn (a quality that has never gone away.) This stubborn streak resulted in my left side being much stiffer than my right and with limited mobility. It is something that will never go away. It is something I can’t change. It is a part of me.
It wasn’t always easy to see it that way. As a painfully insecure teenager it was the trait that I would be constantly hung up on. Aside from the pizza-face, the greasy hair and the teenage podge, it was my left arm that would cause me the biggest heartache. As far as I could see, it was an embarrassment. It stopped me from being “cool.” It stopped me from being “normal.” And I hated it. I’d spend hours imagining what my life would be like if I was the same as everybody else. Surely it would make me so much happier. Surely it would make me so much cooler. Surely it would make me so much better.
I’m not going to sit here and lie to you by saying that now, as a twenty-something year old woman this insecurity has completely gone away. It hasn’t. Even now, being in a relationship with someone who sees beyond my arm, and being surrounded by the most caring group of friends. I still get nervous about how I hold myself, how I walk, about how I look in pictures. A long-sleeved top is my security blanket. And when I see somebody looking at me as I walk down the street, I instantly go in to defense mode. It’s a reflex. I just can’t help it.
But what it has done over the years is get easier. And I think part of it has come from moving out at quite a young age. After university had finished, I never really lived back home. I was in the very fortunate position to be able to invest in property and buy my own house. And that stubborn streak that I told you about earlier, remember that? Well it came out in full force. Was I going to ask somebody to help me put my hair up? Was I going to ask for help doing my laces? Paint my nails? Was I HELL! I took something that brought my so much pain and insecurity and heartache and I turned it in to something truly empowering. I have learnt new ways to do things that ordinarily I would have thought were reserved for those who can use both their hands. I have made a point of eliminating “No” from my vocabulary. Where there is a will, there’s always a way!
From where I was getting so caught up on the way I thought the world saw me, I have decided to turn this around and focus on what good I can help do for others. As I’ve made my way into womanhood I have realised how extremely lucky I am, and how, in reality, there are people out there who overcome so many more boundaries than me. How can I sit mulling over things I can’t change when they are out there living life to the max? It was time I started loving me for me.
So now, instead of focusing on the negatives I see in myself, I try to look at the things that make me who I am in a positive way. After all, I can’t do anything to change them, and why should I? With the media surrounding us with a sea of air-brushed, touched-up images of models, it’s time to embrace the women that we are and celebrate what makes us unique. All our lumps, bumps, creases and curves make up who we are, and we should be proud of them all.
So if you, like me, don’t always find it easy to celebrate how unique you are, try the following:
Find one positive to celebrate about yourself every day.
Challenge yourself to do something to help someone else that puts you out of your comfort zone.
Talk to someone close to you. A friend, parent, partner, and talk through how you’re feeling.
Take a long, shower or bubble bath. Do something that you enjoy to completely pamper yourself.
Go out with your friends, dance your socks off, and laugh until your belly aches.
“Imperfection,” is made up of two separate words….”I’m Perfection.”