Healthy self-esteem is something that has to come from within, the reason why I keep mocking at the tailored confidence boosting courses that are being held in the city lately. The unwavering promise to induce undying confidence in someone would be the height of exaggeration that one can hear, especially when the person in need is diffidence personified. Diffidence and timidity are mostly the outcomes of real-life experiences that leave cold fears of unconfidence and shyness. Being a living example of one such daunting experience, I am well aware of the lasting impacts of embarrassments that such incidents leave in our minds. Back in the village where I stayed during my childhood, with a whole bunch of immediate and extended family members, I had this snooty aunt of mine, who had a bunch of humiliating adjectives to define me. The exasperating teases and distressing comments on my dusky skin, my broad forehead, my belly, and my legs were not only mortifying, but brought me down to tears several times. I was told that my forehead protruded like a Cro-Magnon man, my teeth protruded like fangs, and my legs were skinny and bony like a starved Somalian. I was told that I was terribly ugly, and this filled in and settled down in to psychic space indefinitely. Though her comments where often shrugged off by everyone as casual jokes, but they were not as benign as how others thought about them.
For child of less than ten years, the demeaning and hurting teases were like thorns that stuck and pierced through her little soul and left it bleeding every day. Flawed by the kiddish naivety of mine, I never had anything to say in return to my aunt’s scorns and mocks, and always ended up teary eyed, cursing myself for having born ‘ugly’ looking. The day-today ridicules slowly started working their ways to batter, bruise, and cripple my personality, and I was forced to watch how I groomed myself to a shy, introvert, and diffident woman who leaved no stones unturned to save herself from the visibility of the world, especially in public places. I hated being photographed, desperately found excuses to skip family functions, and freakishly looked for everything that can lessen the melanin under my skin. Well, as the saying goes, “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.”, and I was no different until lately.
Though I left the village and moved to the nearest town within a few years, my defaced second-self was glued to me, and forced me to remained aloof from everyone for years together as I had this strong notion etched in my soul that I was not good looking. Being bullied by a family member can be more than devastating, even when the bullying stops. Although several years had passed, the lasting effects of my aunt’s bully and torment left severe self-esteem issues in me. While some of them were so blatant and direct, the others were quite subtle, leaving severe long-term damages. I turned away bright dresses and glossy accessories, as I feared they would accentuate my ugliness. Instead, I draped myself in dull colours and little adornments, and believed they wold help me disappear in the crowd, so that no one like my aunt would take notice and pass more comments. School and college days flew by and I remained hidden in the drape of loneliness and dullness, sacrificing all the fun for saving myself from the vicinity of the world. Though I regret that decision now, while looking back, that alter-ego of mine, whom I forcefully bid good bye to, always raised my fears and insecurities that left me with the lowest self-esteem.
Being constantly belittled about something leads to a very harming self-doubt, and it gets worst when one is belittled for things that she can’t possibly change, like skin color and physical attribute. I was always made to believe that I was less of a person due to my appearance, and those hurting thoughts keep resurrecting intermittently many times even now, particularly when I get to see rejections on the matrimony page that my parents have put-up for me. My aunt wrecked a terrible havoc on my entire self, and left me with a crippled self-esteem. Although I worked for long rebuilt my spirit, I still believe that I have long way to go, yet can confidently say this now – Unlike the my aunt’s comments, I am beautiful in my own way!