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Growing up, I looked up to Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. I would spend hours daydreaming of hair that rivaled Rapunzel, patiently waiting for my prince charming who never came.

Growing up I had moments when I thought that maybe I was supposed to be a boy. I would watch how the girls I played with from my neighbourhood turned into young ladies that loved boys (and attracted boys), got invited to cool parties and were effortlessly graceful. I failed to understand why I wasn’t even one of those things. Why I failed to attract the attention of the opposite sex, or why I failed to be fun and light hearted like the women that surrounded me.

I got to high school, and the little hope I held in my appearance was lost. I found myself being constantly compared to friends in ways that I never thought important. My weight ballooned, and I didn’t understand why. Looking back I realise that I no longer cared how I looked. In my eyes I was ugly. Like the saying goes, even if you put lipstick on a pig, it remains a pig. And I was that pig in high school. It did not matter how many awards I got, or how academically strong I became, I still failed to be noticed by those I valued.

I remember wearing clothes more than twice my size to hide my body. I wore T-shirts and rugby shorts, tracksuits and vests. I refused to wear dresses, as I felt like a clown. Skirts made me feel insecure because I felt as though I was acting to be something I wasn’t… I was hiding from the world, and I was hiding from myself. The reflection in the mirror disgusted me, and thus I tried my best to hide from it.

However this year, something changed. I had spend so much of my life beating myself up and I was tired. I was tired of  making fun of myself, and looking for ways to change everything that is me. I got tired of starving myself in attempts to satisfy those around me. I discovered it was easier to just be me, and the part of me that enjoyed killing my self esteem would simply have to deal.

This year I have discovered that I AM BEAUTIFUL!!!

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Ros Limbo
mulemwa.limbo@gmail.com