As far back as I can remember, I remember never being good enough for myself. I clearly remember turning the bright light on in my parent’s bathroom before taking a shower every night. I would sit a foot away from the long mirror and lose track of time. I would sit there and stare at myself. I would sit there and talk into the unknown – begging to be pretty, begging to be a better daughter, begging for it to stop hurting. I was in elementary school. I would pick out all the things that I hated about myself. I would recap making my dad angry that day. I would stare with so much hate for the person looking back at me.
I used to think everyone was so beautiful around me, but I never saw anything beautiful about myself. I remember always having older friends that were confident and desired by boys. They would call me and tell me about all the boys they had to choose from and about the Myspace comments their crushes left them. I always just listened and felt like they had it all. They were so happy and confident and beautiful. And I just felt lucky to be their friend.
I remember spending the summer in between seventh and eighth grade in Guadalajara, Mexico with my family. My mom bought a house in a neighborhood with a park in front of it. We arrived at night so I didn’t meet anyone at first. Then one day when we got home from running errands to get my mom situated in her new home, it happened. I had just stepped out of my mom’s avalanche and there were three girls, the same age as me walking by. They looked at me with such curiosity, I smiled and all three of them smiled back at me and continued walking by. I remember that moment so clearly. Later that day, those girls knocked on the door and asked my mom if I could come out to play soccer. That was the start. I spent every day playing soccer at the park in front of my mom’s house with the neighborhood kids.
I transformed in Guadalajara. I didn’t care about anything that summer besides getting to spend time with those carefree kids and laughing. Those kids will never know that they made me comfortable with being myself more than I had ever been before. They don’t know that the memory of them running up to my mom’s truck as soon as my brothers and I got home to ask if we could come play, would be treasured ten years later.
That summer, I didn’t hate myself. I didn’t wish I was someone else. I didn’t want to change my entire appearance. I didn’t feel like I wasn’t good enough in any aspect. I felt happy to be me.
Have I been that way ever since? No. Not at all. But sometimes I get that feeling again… that happy to be me feeling and it’s the greatest thing ever.