Growing up in the world we live in, we’re given a set of standards—how to dress, how to speak, how to carry ourselves. There are so many guides on “what men look for” or “how to lose 10 pounds in three days.” I’ve had my own struggles with these societal ideals of what makes a woman. Media constantly bombards us with what we “should” look like. After years of struggling with (and honestly, still working on) my confidence, I want to share how I grew into the empowered woman I am today.
I was born in the Philippines and have lived all around the world, experiencing the rich cultures in Asia and Azerbaijan. With growing up all over the place, I’ve heard so many different opinions on what makes a woman beautiful.
I’ll be honest, it took a long time before I could look at myself in the mirror and see any type of beauty. The things that stood out were my stretch marks, my round face, and frizzy hair. In high school, other girls seemed to know exactly what to wear and how to do their naturally smooth hair. They were fitter than me, more bubbly, and not awkward at all. Over the first few years of high school, I worked so hard to be more like them and to look like everybody else. I didn’t embrace my naturally wild and curly hair, my unique facial features, or my independent spirit.
College is really where I began to find myself. My first year went by smoothly. I made plenty of new friends and grew more confident in being myself as I met people from different backgrounds. I blossomed a bit more and fell in love with my personal style!
Now, my second year hit me hard. My personal life fell apart. I was left feeling so broken and low like I was in a deep pit. For months, I felt so worthless and unlovable with no motivation. It’s moments like these that we learn the most about ourselves.
Personally, I think struggles and low points in our lives are essential in growing as a person. They help us realize the ways we can improve whether in the workplace, in class, or with our personal relationships. Low points in high school drove me to excel in activities I loved (choir and academics). Being alone freshman year of college forced me to make friends with more people. Finally, my second year allowed me to realize my worth through a lot of self-reflection.
The best thing to come out of my struggles is that today I choose to be unapologetically me. Sometimes people see our Facebook posts or our Instagram pictures and make immediate judgments. Yet there’s so much empowerment in being your true self both online and in person. I share these pictures and my story with you today in the hopes that you’ll be able to fully be yourself! So that you will fall in love with the person you are. You deserve it!
How do you feel more confident in yourself? Comment below!