This is Alana
“Stand up straighter. Smile more. You need to lose some weight.”
Everyone has probably heard something like this before. I have, but sometimes it came from those I love. Although they mean well or think it’s a joke, these comments hurt. They made me doubt myself, made me think that I was not good enough.
“You could do better. You need to be better.”
I believed I needed to prove myself worthy to others, to meet society’s expectations of the perfect woman. I tried so hard to be the best. I studied so much that I barely slept, I didn’t eat properly because I wanted to lose weight. I got the highest grades in my class, and I got pretty thin. I thought I had finally achieved what I wanted: perfection.
But I was not happy, instead, I was malnourished, and both emotionally and physically exhausted. I was unhealthy.
I blamed these comments for holding me back, but it was my fear of failing, of not being perfect, that kept me from becoming the person I was meant to be. These comments taught me something: I learned that the perfect woman does not exist. No one is perfect. Everyone has flaws, imperfections, but this is what makes them special.
I did not have to be perfect. I did not have to prove myself to anyone. Instead, I just needed to be me. I worked harder for my grades, and I took care of myself by sleeping better and eating healthier, and honestly, I could not be happier. I may not be the prettiest, or smartest, or even the most athletic, but I am extremely proud of who I am.
The world has an altered perception of what a girl should look like, of how a girl should act and behave. You need to show the world that you do not belong to a category; that you should not be forced to fit within the confines of what a girl should and should not be. No girl should be ashamed of who she is. No girl should ever be silenced nor should she be ignored. We need to stop worrying about how others perceive us, and how we compare to that image of the perfect woman. She does not exist, but you do.
You are alive. You are loved. Your beauty shines through you and those who love you see it in you. You need to let yourself see it too.
Here’s a piece of advice that gets me through the day: Never doubt yourself; be brave.
Be the woman you are meant to be, not the person others expect you to be. There is only one you, so be the best possible version of yourself.
Do not let fear hold you back. Breathe and take the world in your hands. It offers so many opportunities and adventure; just push your shoulders back and hold your head high, because you are beautiful and the world is yours for the taking.