For many years, in response to various forms of abuse, I was exposed to or subject of, I naturally formed a hardened shell to cope with everyday life. Over time, I lost my authentic self as I distracted myself through other means, I never let people in, I avoided anything which involved revealing true emotions. It was an unhealthy solution and lead to further issues.
Addictions arose and not just the type associated with drugs. Through such extremities, you realise self-harm manifests itself in many different ways. For me, it was self-hatred, isolating myself and somehow focusing so much on the pain from my past yet, never expressing it. It's the perfect recipe for depression right?
The facade which was once used as my protection started to implode, cracks were revealed in many outbursts. These were in the form of breakdowns feeding the idea to self-terminate. Gracefully put, I have tasted 'the end' on three attempts. I just felt ugly, everything in my life was just ugly, grey, numb and bitter.
During my darker days, I still had friends and tried to be as sociable as possible. It became incredibly draining to be so, I did not feel present, for some reason I felt excluded but I was actually excluding myself. It is important to recognise that those struggling can also be your most supportive friend, the joker of the group or high-flyer in class. I know this too well from experience.
The shade of my skin, the way I talked or my treasured style often drew unwanted attention from my own communities. I doubted my identity, my places of 'safety' and my own creativity. I had to water myself down to suit the unpalatable tastes of the uncultured on an everyday basis. I am a walking fetish for some, too dark to be attractive to others, too queer to be near or some other stupid ideology uneducated parts of society like to conjure up and practice.
Modelling for the WAHP collection 'Nourish,' August 2018
When you see yourself as worthless, you often attract relationships which only reinforce such toxicities. People can be drawn to vulnerability, some empathise with it and unfortunately, some will abuse it (intentionally or unintentionally). It became my second nature to question everyone's motives towards me, paranoia kissed my most precious relations with truly good people.
My greatest lesson has been love. I had fallen in love with someone, not just for their beauty but their pain. They lead a completely different life from me and at the same time, we pieced together so well. I had never experienced compatibility, acceptance and safety all at the same time. It was so pure, so intense but even I had to fall back into my hermit ways to 'suss out' if they actually loved me. It was so easy to accept the fact that I love this person for EVERYTHING but it was difficult to understand how they could love me. Things changed dramatically, hauntings came back, distance took its place and everything I built my growth upon had crumbled in my hands.
For months, I wallowed in heartbreak, self-hate and bad habits. The first step I took to a grand recovery was to acknowledge - If I could love someone, accept their flaws and believe in their craft with a never-ending desire to see them smile, what makes me so different? I accept and love each and every one of my friends and family members for different reasons, with such ease! I know their mistakes but their worth to me remains the same. The ability to love even the smallest of things, anything was what lead me to a path of self-acceptance. If I can love something, then I know I can love myself as others love me.
With the support of loved ones, I took up therapy, I exercised self-care and started to appreciate my interests within writing poetry - my introverted way of breathing my expression into the atmosphere. It becomes so easy to focus on the negative things in life but there is so much beauty in even the smaller positive things. Internal growth cannot be measured, it is constant. Work to forgive others and more importantly, to forgive yourself. Don't be so hard on yourself, stop comparing, because everyone is different and that's one of the many beauties of life.
Explore interests and hobbies at your own pace, acknowledge your strengths, the small and the mighty and even things that hold you back.
I'll tell you some of mine.
Laughing and bringing smiles to the faces of others is something I have always adored. I seek satisfaction in visualising a look and proudly stomping it down the street to my own beat. I often stumble on my words, sometimes I prefer just to listen rather than talk and yes, I also enjoy spending time by myself (cats included) whether that be finding my way through a different city, writing poetry or just simply carrying out personal-admin. I am pretty imaginative and can daydream but I make the impeccable idealist, all for a good cause.
Practice the things that make you smile, believe in constant-improvement and see the beauty in support systems. Take a break if need be! Just acknowledge your worth and never shy away from seeking help from the variety of sources out there. Life is a continuous journey of growth. Good people exist, you are one of them.