Feeling nostalgic the other day, I was leafing through an old photo album when I came across some photo’s from my eighteenth birthday family gathering a few moons ago. As I looked through the photos of me with various relatives, smiling the stock standard smile we all reserve for these occasions, something became very clear. My lips were curled in the right direction of a smile, but my eyes told a totally different story.
A sad story.
I saw a girl who was sad, insecure, hated herself and felt utterly worthless.I saw a girl who was overweight, who had a gap in her front teeth, had a few acne scars, was cursed with hair that, though long, was thick and dry. I saw a girl who was not one of the beautiful people and thanks to years of being picked on at school, damn well knew it.
I saw a girl who had an on/off relationship with her absent father, a girl who was quickly replaced with his new instant family. I saw a girl who had left school and had to go through a humiliating interview to just get on a waitlist for a tertiary education course, while other applicants sniggered away at her size in the corner. I saw a girl who had quit her crappy checkout chick job, so she now had no source of income. I saw a girl with no plan, no idea and no one encouraging her to look at her options. I saw a girl who was always criticised. I saw a girl who was never once told she was beautiful, that she was loved, or that she should take that passion of hers and do something with it. I saw a girl who was never told the world was her oyster. I saw a girl who was never told she could.
I saw a girl who loathed herself that much, she sought love wherever she could find it, and if she was treated poorly (which she often was) she always went back for more, because they said they liked her. I saw a girl who could not maintain eye contact when talking to someone. I saw a girl who was told to settle for mediocracy. I saw a girl who didn’t want to get out of bed somedays. I saw a girl who would have been happy if she didn’t even wake up somedays. I saw a girl who had no self-esteem, no self-worth, no nothing.
I saw a girl, who at that stage in her life, saw herself as nothing more than a fat, pathetic loser.
My heart broke for this girl.
Looking at those pictures now I see a young girl, a young, gorgeous girl with bloody fabulous hair and lovely wrinkle free skin drowning in sadness. Drowning in so much sadness. She just needed someone to be there for her, to tell her she was loved, tell her she was somebody. Someone to help her see her worth. She would have welcomed that with open arms.
We never know when those around us are drowning; some do it in silence. I know I did. The difference you can make in someone’s life can be as simple as telling someone you love just that — tell them they are loved, they are gorgeous, they are worth something. Tell them everything you love about them and listen to them, encourage them. You never know what path you might help steer them toward, the domino effect it may cause. You never know how much your words might inspire or keep someone’s head above water. You never know how your words can help.
Everyone needs a little cheer squad, even if you are the only member.
Start one today.
Belinda B — All rights reserved ©