They say true beauty comes from within. But then I’d find myself feeling insecure about my body. I’d see the image of our school muse every intrams season and the pretty models in billboards and TV, then feel inadequate.
While it’s normal to feel this way (as told by the self-help books I’ve read), the insecurities became a serious problem. The baby fats, excessive hair—que horror!—and constellation of zits on my face dragged my self-esteem down.
And whenever I tried to do something about my flaws, say put a handful of powder to conceal the imperfections on my face, it only got worse. I would either catch an allergy or my face would get really cakey.
The unfair part? My friends seemed to tread the opposite road of puberty. They were not only growing taller, but they were flaunting unblemished faces to boot. And without much effort!
I became so self-critical that it came to a point when I wished to be somebody else: A teenage girl with flawless skin, flowy hair, and a two-inch thigh gap. Still no matter how I tried to stretch the truth in front of the mirror, I could never be that “perfect” teenage girl.
It was Dork Diaries that turned around my perspective about my awkward body transformations. Funny how I found inspiration from a story of a not-so-fabulous teenager. But yeah, it taught me to respect my fears, at the same time, grow alongside my insecurities.
It turns out, the dramatic changes I experienced physically and emotionally were totally normal. I just had to deal with them one step at a time.
If there’s anything I regret during my younger years, it’s that I spent too much time criticizing myself in front of the mirror. I was never able to express my true self to the people around me. Much more my personal style.
The goal should be about staying fit, not necessarily losing weight. No need to break my back in doing burpees and lifting weights! With proper diet and discipline (avoid starving yourself), enough sleep, lots of water intake, and less time on social media, you can achieve a healthy lifestyle.
It took me years to learn there are different body types and skin types. I learned to find a style that fits my body type and follow a skin care regimen that suits the needs of my skin!
Nope, I’m not trying to sugarcoat my own experience (or anyone’s for that matter) of teenage awkwardness.
The road to body positivity and self-acceptance isn’t easy. The process will require a lot of courage and sacrifice.
Along the way, people can lay their heavy standards on our shoulders. But beauty standards will keep on changing. And in today’s Instagram age, pictures will always be filtered, cropped, and brightened to perfection. It’s a constant battle I face until today.
Yet those years of extreme awkwardness taught me the naked truth that happens to be elementary wisdom: No one is perfect. It’s our choice to keep looking our best and stay fit, for ourselves and not for others.
Check out our Generation Zen section to find more inspiration and advice on living a happy life inside and outside school!