I have a confession to make. While others see me as beautiful and kind, it’s hard for me to see it. My other half will attest to this. While there are days I feel absolutely gorgeous in my own skin, there are still days where I can hear some ugly voices from my past.
When I was young, I was told often I was ugly. I was told no amount of makeup would ever make me pretty. I was told I shouldn’t bother wearing nice clothes because they wouldn’t help my looks. I was called four eyes and chicken legs by kids on the playground. I was called squeaky because of my higher pitched voice. I was called a nerd for my love of learning and my reading and even for my writings. And while sticks and stones may break my bones, the words have stuck over the years, hurting deeply. They occasionally creep up on me when I am feeling self-doubt and like spiraling in the dark. I hear them still when I look in the mirror sometimes.
And of course, if I dwelled on it, I was called overly sensitive. Often, because it was boys who did the teasing when I was young, I was told it was just “Boys being boys,” though there were also girls and young women who would make snide comments about my attire, my looks, involuntary actions I could not control. So I just learned to hide away anything that made me stand out. I tried to keep my head down. I worked hard to ignore the teasing and tried to help others who were teased as well.
But the voices in my head learned from these experiences. They picked up where the teasing stopped. They are highly critical, reminding me of my every flaw, enhancing the things said to me as a child and young adult. Fighting them is exhausting, especially when I am in a low instead of a high. Often, this song is auto repeat, and currently part of this quote is scrawled across my bathroom mirror to remind me:
“You’re so mean…. When you talk…. About yourself, you were wrong… Change the voices…. In your head…. Make them like you instead.”~ P!nk, “Perfect”
If you’ve read this far, fear not. While I do hear the voices in my head that say I am not good, I have also worked hard to put affirmations in my mind from others that counter it. Most days, those affirmations are very loud and clear The voices drown them out less and less these days. But it’s taken me years to get to where I am and I have years to go. This I know.
It’s why I collect songs with lyrics that help me when I am feeling low. Like this one:
“But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark….. You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are…… And you don’t have to change a thing….. The world could change its heart…. No scars to your beautiful…. We’re stars and we’re beautiful.”~ Alessia Cara “Scars To Your Beautiful”
It’s why I have written some of the characters I have written into my Portals Series. Manda knows nothing of her past. Templeton is an outcast in his society and bears the turmoil of his exile. Silus has to deal with the memories of his father. Sa is the only one in her family without any magic. Solilune carries physical and emotional scars as he journeys through life, removed from his family because he can no longer bear their disapproval of his powers. Xavier and Tetyana both are stunted in growth because of their exile while Adryanos lives with the pain of what happened to him for trying to protect his children. Rhianna and Kyrbus run from their problems. Briar is haunted by nightmares. Garrion is told he will be weak if he shows any sort of emotion. Albion is abandoned. Manth and Alex and Sigsten learn to deal with their loneliness by shutting away their hearts.
Yet all of them are more than what they think they are. They become stronger, despite the words of others that tear them down. With each story I write, I am writing about truths. You are stronger and braver than you look. Emotions make you as strong as stoicism does. Love is stronger than hate and can conquer darkness if it is allowed. Even the smallest person is mighty if they stand up for what they believe in. You are beautiful just the way you are and there is a purpose for the way you are.
I write my struggles and the struggles of others into my stories. While they are stories of fantasy, they are really real. The doubts are real. The feelings are real. The conflicts are real. The voices that rear their ugly head in my mind at time, reminding me I am not beautiful, that I am nothing…. they are there too. It’s part of my way of putting them to rest. It’s part of my way of drowning them out and conquering them.
It helps to that I am working on making the world a brighter place for others too. And it helps that I am learning to accept the way I am now. Here’s another song that helps me with that….
“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down….. I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out…. I am brave, I am bruised…. I am who I’m meant to be, this is me ….. Look out ’cause here I come….. And I’m marching on to the beat I drum…. I’m not scared to be seen…. I make no apologies, this is me.”Keala Settle and the Greatest Showman Ensemble, “This is Me”
So dear readers, if you struggle at times like I do, find ways to change the voices in your head. Whether it be surrounding yourself with people who are part of your village who love you or sayings and lyrics that uplift you, find the stars that help remind you that you are beautiful. Find the ones who will help you continue to write your own story of life. Find the ones who help you stay magical, in whatever capacity that is. Find the ones that help you enjoy your moments.
I try. And I do.
Write your own story.
Change those voices in your head. You are beautiful just the way you are. Be you. No one else can do it.
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