I was born in June 1996, and due to some complications during birth, I was born with very poor vision in my left eye, the result of which was that I had a lazy eye or wandering eye. I really struggled for most of my life, not so much for having a physical flaw, but the stigma that comes with having a lazy eye. The face that doesn’t really look like everyone else’s. I can remember, in the second grade, the first day of school, and the teacher said that I and a couple of other students who had disabilities would have to go around each classroom and talk to the other students about our ‘shortcomings’ and introduce ourselves. I remember being horrified, and really embarrassed because until that point I thought I was just like everyone else, and I didn’t really think of myself as any different. It was the first time I remember being separated from the others, being told that I wasn’t the same. And that moment really stayed with me for a very long time.
I can remember being called all kinds of names, whether it was “one-eyed”, “defective” and even declared as “retarded” by some. But what I know is that the things that were said to me were never as bad as the things I said to myself. And I think it’s the same for anyone who has been bullied or called names. The things that you say to yourself can be far more nasty, damaging and degrading than what anyone could ever say to you. And what we don’t realise is that this nasty internal monologue that we develop as children is brought with us into adulthood. And that sort of becomes the basis for our self-image and how deserving we feel of being loved and appreciated.
I used to get told all the time that I had beautiful eyes and it makes me sad now to realise that I was never really able to accept compliments like that because it always made me self-conscious. I thought people were just really sympathetic, they were trying to make me feel better and therefore, I could never really take compliments. It actually made me feel worse instead of better, because that’s the sort of thing that having a negative self-image does, it makes you second-guess any time anyone is kind to you or any time anyone says something nice to you. Part of our work is to overcome that, to be able to accept the gift of kindness with gratitude rather than push it away and say I’m not worthy of it.
I’ve always wanted to be a motivator, a storyteller, and I wish to live this dream through my writings. In case you’re still reading this, I thank you from all my heart for hearing me pour my heart out.
Lastly, what has being ‘different’ taught me, and continues to teach me:
1. There’s a real difference between trying to gloss over your flaws or compensating for them, and, embracing them, acknowledging them and working with them. What I know is true for me, and I hope is true for anybody who reads this—by being honest and open about your flaws, by not trying to hide them, that is when you feel truly liberated and begin to form more authentic connections with other human beings. I’d say that your flaws are really what make you beautiful, and you being at peace with your flaws really shines a light with other people and helps them be at peace with theirs.
2. Be kind, to anything and everything that lives and breathes.
3. Be a giver. Give more than you receive.
4. Bullying is not okay. It scars people for life.
This is my story.
Hope you have an amazing day.