What Having Haters Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful

#WorkForHappy

I could never fathom how someone would go out of their way to be nasty to another human being. What sort of satisfaction does it serve? Is it a rush, perhaps? An outlet?

When I wrote “What Having a Big Nose Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful”, I knew I was putting myself out there a little bit. For most of my life I figured that as long as I don’t publicly acknowledge that I have a “unique” nose, other people wouldn’t either.

I was right. Once I acknowledged it, other people couldn’t help themselves in having a say either.

Having exposed this insecurity and my relationship with it, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I got messages and comments telling me that my confidence (such as it were) had inspired them to take some steps towards accepting themselves as well. I got messages saying that the uniqueness of my nose was beautiful and nothing to be ashamed about. Hell, someone even told me that my post had made them see their gender dysphoria in a new light, looking for their inner self rather than what they looked like to affirm their new gender identity. It was inspiring for me, and made that insecurity pretty much shrink to nothing. 

Then some teenager on my Instagram called my nose ugly in Swedish and, what’s more, tagged a friend to affirm it. 

I’ll say that, for the record, I wasn’t at all effected by the ensuing comments that included multiple barf emojis from these adolescents hailing from across the world. Standing in Canada, far away Sweden was non-existent in my breadth of understanding. What’s more, my ever-lasting compassion, a quality that even I acknowledge is quite a landmark in my personality, extended even to these poor girls.

The picture in question, which I honestly am kind of proud of – like I said in the caption – “This is an incredibly personal post for me

What’s funny is that whenever you see anyone on the internet acknowledge negativity, there is always a mention of how one should feel sorry for haters and trolls on the internet. I didn’t think much of it until I had a brush with this negativity myself. I felt bad for them –  actually, first I thought it was funny, then I felt sympathy. I had tagged the photo showing off my nose #bignose and #rhinoplasty, which I have no doubt is what landed these girls on my page in the first place. Self-esteem is hard to come by these days, even for these girls who are, admittedly, quite pretty themselves. They were most likely looking for someone that they could call uglier than themselves. Commenting on my picture that I have an ugly nose probably made them feel better about themselves, because they could proudly say that they don’t have my ugly nose, so there’s that. They might feel crippling despair when they look in the mirror, but in their heads, they are making me feel even worse than them. That is a comfort. I’m not assuming they knew what they were doing. That kind of mean-spirited insecurity is very subconscious.

If they were to read this right now, they would probably comment that that’s not at all what it is – “you just have an ugly nose” they would say. They’re right, perhaps I do have an ugly nose. But at least I don’t feel a need to put others down, for whatever reason.

In the end, who is more beautiful? The person who spreads negativity and puts down others for the parts they cannot change, or the person who tries to spread positivity and minds their own business? 

Someone who has true self-love will not feel the need to point out flaws in other people. I don’t want anyone to feel that way, because I know what it feels like to feel worthless… but at least I didn’t cope by putting other people down too. That I can proudly say. 

In the end, they deleted their comments. It was a losing battle, after all. While I didn’t engage with them, people who cared for me did. It’s not something I wanted, but I got messages from people I’ve never met before telling me that I am beautiful. I never doubted that I am beautiful –  if anything, I feel more beautiful, not just because of the whole “rising above the bullshit” stuff, but also literally just out of spite. I don’t have a unique nose after all. I have a big ugly one. But hell, it’s my nose. Only I can put my nose down, not some silly broken teenager on the internet – my insecurity belongs to me. I will fiercely protect it. 

I’m no online personality, but in a strange twist of events having one or two haters definitely elevated my self confidence. Who’d have thought?

Definitely not those girls. 

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New Year, New Chance

#WorkForHappy

Resolutions are not just for the new year. I know that because my resolutions started in the middle of fall 2017. Rather than fireworks, I started this fresh new chapter of my life in the aftermath of a breakdown that had repeated itself countless times before. I can’t say a breakdown isn’t comparable to fireworks in inventing a new me with a bang though, except this one involved less pretty colors and much more nasal congestion afterwards.

Artwork by Elliana Esquivel

I resolved to be a better person. It’s a huge ask, but I think I’m on track. Whatever ailments of the mental kind that dogged me constantly before became a minimal concern. I weaned off medication eventually, invigorated with a new outlook on life – I would work hard and develop my mental immunity. Sure, I still catch the occasional bout of anxiety or feel the virus of depression seep back into my veins every now and then, especially when I overwork or feel overwhelmed, but it’s just that: a cold. A sick day. I am back on my feet in no time and feel better than ever. At the end of the day, I am much stronger and cognizant of my mental health.

I count myself lucky. I want to tell you something I wish someone told me when I was in that dark place. Continue reading “New Year, New Chance”

Break Up 1, Scene 3

Sometimes she is powerless in the execution of control over her own inhibitions. She feels her emotions too strongly and her heart warms with terrifying sensation, quickening to the pace of her thoughts as they begin to run wild. She peeks behind the curtain of his iris, and sees a thousand million trillion neurons, connecting, dazzling, snapping at her senses as her medulla works into overdrive to make this moment end fast, cut short, be gone.

In a single moment time will become irrelevant. All that exists is the space between their two bodies, the overwhelming awareness of their breathing, and the weight of the words that they both know in an instant would fall off her tongue too easily for comfort. The jolting sound of a spotlight igniting makes their chests contract, as does the silence of a million eyes watching, the ghosts of a past that dwindled to nothing.  

He watches her lips formulate the first syllable as if his eyelids had been pinned to his forehead. It was like torture out of a novel scene, forced to watch something die in front of you so that it is memorialized in your brain. His cerebral cortex is abuzz with fresh blood as she moves on to the next consonant, zapped to life out of a slumber so that he feels like he has just brutally woken up to a horrifying reality he thought was just a dream. 

It’s happening. He can’t believe this is happening. The sound of her voice is oddly flat. Impassive. Final.

“This is stage fright. It’s a physical reaction to shock. The consequences of heartbreak hasn’t set in quite yet.” [Click To Tweet!]

She knows he asks questions if the answer is already plain, otherwise he wouldn’t dare. He’s just too much of a coward to say it himself. She thinks she knows. Even in this moment, she thinks she has him all figured out, like with the crescendo in the sound of his footsteps as he came home from work, or the heaviness of his shoulders when he was focusing on a task. If she hadn’t figured him out then she wouldn’t be playing this game with him in the first place. She wouldn’t say what she is in the middle of saying right now. In this moment. Irretrievably.

It took him a second to realize that she is finished. He blinks. 

She said it. 

Now he won’t have to. 

Bitter relief mixed in with adrenaline, racing through his veins with a barely contained excitement – not the kind of excitement he had felt ages ago when she smiled at him for the first time, or let certain I, L, Y letter words sneak out from between her lips. This was the kind of excitement that came right after driving into a ditch and realizing you had survived. This is stage fright. It’s a physical reaction to shock. The consequences of heartbreak hasn’t set in quite yet. 

“Good.” He is in the middle of blurting this out when she finally looks away and their cord of communion breaks. He has a notion that he will take to bleeding inwardly. She however, he is sure, would forget him. 

“Good.” She doesn’t put her vocals into traction when she ghosts his own speech, instead letting the word echo and fall into the space between them, filling the void with something mutually acceptable to both of them. It is the first time they are agreeing on anything. Or at least, in this moment, this irretrievable moment, they do. 

It does not matter that in the matter of weeks, they will close that gap again and continue on renewed, rejoiced, and heavy. It does not matter that this moment will chatter before suddenly falling quiet. On a snowy white night in Dresden eleven years from now this moment will claw itself back out from the depths of their hippocampuses. By then, crescendos will not matter. 

For now, they breathe. The hot light dims. The curtain falls. They are thrown into the dark, and walk off the stage in opposite directions.

On to the next scene. 

Breaking the Cycle of Silent Treatment #WorkForHappy

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Artwork by Sina Shagrai

Here’s the God honest truth about silent treatment – dishing it out feels like sweet justice. It’s the kind of satisfaction that makes you a little power-hungry, especially when it works over and over again.

On the flip side, being on the receiving end of silent treatment stings. You feel like you have to swallow your pride and give in, or suffer a drawn out punishment that maybe you don’t deserve.

Having been on both ends of the deal, I think I have a pretty good idea of the pros and cons of silent treatment.

Spoiler – there are no pros. It’s all cons.

Breaking the cycle takes a lot of guts and twice as much resilience, but I promise that it is so incredibly rewarding to break out, no matter which side you’re playing. Ultimately, this is just what I realized through my experiences. You can take it or leave it, but I’m not going to stay silent about it.

After all, that’s sort of the point.

Powerful vs. Powerless

I realized the behaviour I was choosing actually contributed to people walking out on me, and in a state of blissful ignorance, I’d say “good riddance”. Then I lost almost everyone, and I was forced to figure out what the trend was.

I realized that having fallen for it every time someone pushed the behaviour on me, I had subconsciously decided that silent treatment was the most effective way to get what I want.

After all, I always gave in. I can make people give in to me as well. Right? Continue reading “Breaking the Cycle of Silent Treatment #WorkForHappy”

How Being Childish Made Me More Mature Than Most People My Age

Maturity shouldn’t be described like it’s some personality trait, because maturity is imperative to your personal success. [Click To Tweet!]

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Source

As a child I was too childish. My enthusiasm was met with a roll of the eyes from peers, and my habit of being a little too loud was a nuisance. Now, much older, I can see why it was annoying. Nonetheless it’s a weird paradox, being called childish as a child.

It wasn’t infrequent, being asked why the hell I couldn’t just “grow up!” by people who, honestly, probably couldn’t even grasp the concept of maturity themselves. I used to respond with a blank stare, but now I know exactly how to respond to the accusation.

Being childish and immature isn’t the same thing. I know why because I am childish in a lot of ways, but I’m a helluva lot more grow-up than most people I went to middle-school with.

Immature people care about seeming mature. Now, having come to a point in my life where I can compare myself to the person I was yesterday instead of those around me, I’ll tell you why this has changed me in a way that truly, honestly made me into a real “adult”

And it involves a bit of Disney. Continue reading “How Being Childish Made Me More Mature Than Most People My Age”

One Day

One day they will have accomplished their lives and lie next to each other 6 feet deep, lulled to sleep by the melody of Mother Earth, and drawn out of it by their Father into a brilliant world where they will stand, side by side, awash in white light. Luminescent.

Now, however, in this moment, right now: he whispers a final “goodnight”, teetering on a laugh as if something is funny. Maybe there is something funny. She never really knows, and probably never will.

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Artwork by Emiliano Bastita

Right now she presses her head against his chest to listen to his heartbeat and slow down her own, but one day she will be looking out to the sea, standing on the shores of Prince Edward Island. Continue reading “One Day”

What Having a Big Nose Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful

Do I have to love my nose? No. Do I have the right to hate it? Also a no. (ClickToTweet!)

When I tell people I want a nose job, the answer is almost always, “but why?! I love your nose, it’s so unique!”

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This was the first time I was purposely trying to capture my nose in a picture

I have wanted to scream that I don’t want a unique nose. I hated that word. I always wanted to yell: “I just want a normal nose! I just want it to be remarkably unremarkable!”

I don’t necessarily hate my nose anymore, but I still want to go under the knife. Am I a terrible person for promoting self-love in the same breath as expressing my desire to have cosmetic surgery? Am I a hypocrite? Absolutely not.

It is possible to love yourself and still feel insecure about some bits and pieces.

This is my body, and it’s my freaking story.
Continue reading “What Having a Big Nose Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful”