It has already been two years since the first time I stepped foot into these halls but I can still remember the rippling anxiety I felt that very day.
Back in high school, I always felt like a lot of insecurities hugged me. I would ask the wind why I am the only one who felt that way and why others didn’t. I found the most random imperfections about myself that nobody else noticed. I made sure nobody noticed.
I’ve always been hiding my forehead with either straight cut or side swept bangs because I felt like everybody’s eyes would land on my forehead the second I will show it. Because of this, the first thing I’d look at a person is the forehead.
Good for her she has a small forehead.
That guy’s hairline though!
Aside from my vast forehead, I was insecure of my eyes. Back in elementary, I was called bukaw, budlat, and more derogatory terms because of the largeness of my eyes. Why was often the question inside my head. Why was I born with such eyes? It came to a point where I’d think that someone’s eyes are bigger than mine so why isn’t she bullied? She should be the one bullied and not I. Those were dark times.
In my second year of high school, I became aware of my knock knees. It felt like I ate a forbidden fruit and was not able to see my legs the same way again. Khaki shorts were my best friends— they were conservative enough and hid my thighs but were not too long to emphasize the shape of my knees. Whenever I walked around downtown, I’d often look at people’s, especially girls’ legs and determine whether they are bowed, knock, or straight. If straight, lucky for them. If not, I gave them props for having the guts to wear fitted pants. Looking back, I felt humiliated at myself for looking and judging others the same way I did.
All these negativities enveloped my being and I felt caged in my own body. I feared my own shadow because I felt like it was hunting me down. My reflection in the mirror was horrifying that I would even go to school without looking at my own reflection. I was filled with darkness and it made me feel like my forehead and eyes were increasing by one millimeter every second and that my knees were overlapping each other even more.
I blamed others why I became that way. They were the ones who pushed my buttons and made me the insecure person that I was. At the same time, it was my fault. I became too good of a listener that I forgot to filter away the detrimental things people spouted on me. Instead of barricading all the negativity, I absorbed them all at once. I may profusely point my fingers at others for causing all these dismays, but what has already happened cannot be rebuked.
Two years into college and I already grew my bangs. If it was too hot, I would put my hair up in a bun or in a ponytail and I would wear shorts. On lazy days, I just lay my hair down without brushing and would wear comfy leggings or fitted jeans.
What sparked the change in me?
I was freed from all my insecurities the day I realized that nobody cared. I was feeling extra adventurous that day and wanted to try showing my forehead to see what my classmates thought. After I put my hair up, I waited. Ten minutes. Two hours. All my classes ended and not one commented about my forehead. No one! The next day, I tried wearing short shorts. As expected, my friends teased me but it was because they wanted me to wear more of those.
It was then that I was enlightened and “who cares” became my life’s mantra. I let go of all my insecurities and self-doubt and then my judgment on others have been lifted as well.