Looking at my Instagram account, you might think I’m the most confident person in the world. Maybe even a bit vain.

Selfie after selfie. #IAmCuteToday. #IAmAPrettyPrincess. #IAmVeryPretty.

Just a typical self-absorbed narcissistic millennial, right?

Well… no. Because not all of me believes the words I type on my pictures.

I’ve always been fat. When I was a baby, I had the sort of chubby hamster cheeks that maiden aunts want to pinch in movies.

As a small child, my mum took me to a dietician to find out why I was heavy and the dietician told her that’s just how I was.

When I went to secondary school, people bullied me. Food made me feel better, so I got into the habit of comfort-eating.

I think I felt beautiful once the entire time I was at secondary school: for my prom. And I still thought I was too fat.

No more.

I turned 23 last year. And that was when I decided enough was enough. I was sick of hating myself, sick of thinking I looked awful in everything, and sick of being unhappy.

I started buying pretty clothes. I bought shorts for the first time in years because who cares if I have chunky thighs? Those shorts were cute and I looked cute in them.

But it still wasn’t quite getting me there. And that’s when I decided to start using Instagram to push myself along.

You’ve probably heard the expression “Fake it ’til you make it”. But that phrase has become my personal philosophy.

If I just keep telling myself I’m cute, that I’m pretty, that I’m a princess, I’ll have to start believing it eventually. Won’t I?

So when you see me post my third selfie in a day tagged with a self-boosting hashtag, don’t you dare think that I’m just some big-headed boasting brat.

I’ve spent a lifetime feeling ugly. And if this is what it takes to make me feel beautiful, you’re just going to have to deal with it.

For now, I’m faking it. But one day, I’ll make it.

This article was originally posted to Readwave.

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