Overcoming Me

Growing up in an extended family isn’t always the easiest. Being one of the younger children in a large family, you are destined to be picked on. I would consider my childhood a difficult growing and learning experience. I can recall being five years old and helping in the kitchen. Overcoming Me I remember setting the dinner table for everyone to eat. I also remember going to bed hungry most of the time because of all the unwanted criticism I would get from people living with me. “Are you going to eat that? It’ll only make you fatter.” I heard this often as a child. I developed a major complex and was scared to eat in front of people for most of my life. It was a daily routine to be picked on; called “ugly”, “fat”, and “stupid”. It isn’t always easy for me even to this day now to take compliments from people I don’t know, and even harder for me to take compliments from those who do know me. When you grow up constantly hearing a variety of negative things about yourself, you tend to believe them, and the good qualities about you are over shadowed and seem to be something of fiction. I was constantly being picked apart by family and their friends, it brought smiles to their faces to see me cower and cry. I would always compare myself to everyone I saw. I would look in the mirror and make myself believe that what I was looking at was ugly. I walked with my head facing downward and purposely wore oversized hoodies to keep people from looking at my body. Due to the constant abuse, in my early teen years I sought an escape… an outlet, a way to drown out the voices that seemed to haunt me daily. As cliché as it sounds, I resorted to alcohol and drugs. I lived in an apartment on the ground floor so sneaking out wasn’t hard. At the time, I was living in north Houston and had made friends with the “right” kind of people providing me easy access to any substance at fifteen. Eventually, I became numb and immune to the “raw pain” I once felt. I felt as if I hit a stalemate, a plateau and I wasn’t moving forward. I felt ice cold on the inside and became antisocial and hid from my friends and family. I still felt ugly. The voices never left, I wanted desperately to feel special. What better way to feel special than to give yourself to someone intimately. I’ll spare the details but will say, sex shouldn’t end nor begin with you crying. One day after my senior year of high school, I woke up and I ran to the bathroom and did the thing that I feared the most. I looked in the mirror. I looked at brown eyes and black hair. I looked at my straight smile and clear olive skin. I looked at my thick eye brows and full lips. I looked in the mirror. I thought to myself, how stupid have you been to let someone else tell you how to feel. How stupid of you to let someone make you feel opposite of what you are. I even verbally/emotionally abused those who I felt were weaker than me at some point to bring satisfaction to my shallow point in life. Words may not break bones like sticks and stones do, but they can cause more damage than you could ever imagine. I listened to everyone but those who mattered to me. I should have said thank you to a compliment instead of blush and run. I should have smiled while I walked instead of looking at my feet. Looking at one’s reflection isn’t the easiest things for everyone. I had to look hard at myself and drown out the voices that told me I was inferior, the voices that told me if I ate it would only add to my “fat” body. I had to believe in me. I had to be bold and brave to muster the courage that I always had in my heart. It’s been a few years since that day at eighteen and I have had more experiences between then. I left out a great deal of detail but I figured I would keep that for another story. I know that to live with yourself sometimes is the hardest thing to do. You can smile and lie to the world, but when you look in that mirror, the truth is revealed. For those of you who read this, please take is amongst yourself to look in the mirror once a day and tell yourself how incredible you are.