It’s human nature, it’s in our DNA, the longing of wanting to be accepted and shown appreciation. To be accepted for the way we look, the way we dress, the way we think, for what we believe in and stand for, just to be ACCEPTED. Whether it’s from our parents, our friends, followers on social media, acquaintances, our partners, in a way we ALL crave it. Until the day comes, the day in which we FINALLY wake up and realise that longing for acceptance from others is not going to push us forward in life, it’s only going to hold us back…
Let me tell you, I’m 28 years old and only in March last year did I finally “wake up” from this logic and believe me when I say this, I haven’t looked back. For as long as I can remember I have always tried my best to fit the mould of what everyone expected of me or of how they wanted me to look. It all started back in primary school; I was bullied and teased for being the tall yet slightly chubby girl, however I was never able to understand why, nor able to comprehend how my “friends” could be so cruel. This carried into high school while at the same time I was dealing with my weight going up and down I was given the name “fat Nat”. It didn’t matter to me that people thought I was pretty, or beautiful, or humorous, I knew that in order for me to be accepted by everyone completely and for the teasing to stop, I HAD to be skinny.
So, one day in year 9 I woke up and started the “starving diet”- stupid I know, but peer pressure does eventually sink in and affect you (only if you let it). I would skip breakfast, lunch, eat something small and basic for dinner, or eat a meal at dinner and then bring it back up. I rode my bike constantly morning and night, I got into netball twice a week, swimming regularly, sport at school and exercised outside of all of this as well, I became a health freak. I can’t tell you how quick it was but after having lost 3 dress sizes, school friends started noticing how “small” I had become and the bullying slowly died down. I started gaining a lot more attention from guys and the compliments started flowing. Did I FEEL skinny? No of course not, I still felt that I wasn’t where I needed to be in order to be “accepted”, even though I resembled a tall lanky girl with a medium sized bust and ass.
I could be here forever retelling countless stories of occasions where I felt succumbed to pressure in doing certain things in order to feel “accepted”. The moral of the story is that no matter WHAT I did, no matter what attention I received from either sex, the compliments, the new clothes I would often purchase, the new hairstyles I often tried; it didn’t help me move forward in a great deal. My self-esteem and confidence remained at one level and I was so stuck in the feels of needing to do this or that to be accepted that I couldn’t shake it. And that is the core of the issue right there, I WASN’T doing it because I wanted to, I was doing it because I wanted OTHERS to accept me, to appreciate me. What about appreciating myself, isn’t that just as, or even more important?
It’s sooo much easier these days to fall victim to peer pressure and of wanting to fit in, media and society is the biggest culprit for this. Sadly, it’s being promoted more and more these days that to be beautiful you need to be light skinned or of an olive complexion, skinny or curvy, but not TOO curvy as that’s fat and nobody likes that. You need to have flawless skin, beautiful big hair, but not an afro as that’s “too black” it needs to just be big as in bouncy. You need a big round ass, big breasts and pretty much look like a video vixen or a thin supermodel. Where’s the in between? Who’s dictating these rules to us, where did they come from? What about those that are currently in the shoes I was in, not being able to find their place in society to fit in?
I’m long done with those days and done trying to fit in to a mould people want me to be. I dress how I choose, I cover my hair if and as I choose, I act and speak how I choose and as long as God is happy with me, my family, my close friends, I’m super happy and content with that. The moment you stop letting others dictate to you you’ll be a much happier person, believe me.