From a young age I struggled with the way I looked; always comparing, analysing and measuring my beauty against other girls. I guess it didn’t help growing up with an older sister - who in my eyes was flawless. To her, I was always just her little sis.
With a four-year age gap which I always tried to close, of course, by copying everything she did. Whenever she had friends over, I’d be eavesdropping and trying to get an invite. Pretending to understand periods, boys, kissing and how to apply makeup, way before my years. I tried my best to be more like her, for sadly, pretty much my whole childhood. I looked up to her, but I didn’t realise how much it was damaging me internally.
I developed a negative relationship with my body and how I looked, I noticed the way the boys looked at my sister but not at me and I taught myself that what I was, was ugly. It wasn’t until I reached the age of 18 and my sister moved away to live with her now-husband, that I was finally able to stop comparing myself. I was able to distance myself from the shadow of hers that I had put myself in and had the time to discover, what made me special.
So, I stopped trying my hardest to be like her and I started doing what felt right and what felt good, for me. I found again my love for sport and started exercising weekly, and with that, followed a healthier mindset. I began noticing my harmful habits and started twisting them on their head. The second I started focusing on my wellbeing internally, instead of the external visuals, I discovered newfound confidence, newfound energy.
When I look back now, I wish I could hug my younger self, tell her, you are beautiful! You just don't know it yet. Beauty comes from within and I know it’s cliché to say, but it’s true. I would tell her that the things that she sees as imperfections are now the things which I love the most. These imperfections are what make me, me. What makes us, us!
With each year that I grow in age, I am a little bit more confident in my own skin, with whom I am and with whom I am becoming. In my opinion, growing in age is a gift, because, with each year, you know yourself that little bit better - like an old friend. Today I feel security within my body, confidence and ownership in the skin that I’m in and that’s all because I stopped trying to be anything other, than the real me.