“Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends” -Aberjhani, American Poet
I have struggled with attaining self-love and self-confidence most of my life. When I was younger, I believed that uniqueness wasn’t beautiful. I didn’t like my body and I hated the fact I was different from everybody else my age. I have Cerebral Palsy which affects my ability to walk and talk properly. All my outfits needed to be trendy. It didn’t matter if I was just going to the gym or Walmart. Make-up needed to be on my face and my clothes needed to be cute. I soon realized that obsessing about not fitting in was draining. I was so anxious and eventually got depressed. Nobody noticed though. Like always, I hid everything in. I kept a smile on my face even though I was an emotional wreck. I really didn’t want my family to worry, especially my mother.
My depression wasn’t too intolerable, but I had no energy for life. Instead of focusing life’s wonderful blessings, I obsessed over what I didn’t have. One day, I decided to type out all my physical faults. I needed to release my frustrations in one way or another. So I sat there and started listing my imperfections. Here is the list:
What I Don’t Like About Myself
- My toes are freakishly curvy.
- One of my legs is longer than the other.
- I am short and bony.
- My kneecaps are higher than they should be.
- There are ugly visible scars behind my knees and ankles from a surgery I had as a kid.
- I have a bad scar above my right eyelid from tipping my wheelchair over at school.
- dark irregular sized are freckles all over my thighs, torso, and arms.
- My hands and wrists are so tight that I barely can straighten them out.
- I have really bushy eyebrows.
- I have a weird looking mole on the side of my face and I usually have a pimple or two.
- My lips are tiny.
- My teeth are not perfectly straight and I have an obvious overbite.
- I walk and run funny.
- I can barely talk clearly.
After I finished, I simply exhaled and pressed the delete button. I might not be a supermodel or an athlete, but I am a strong woman who has overcome so much, physically and emotionally. I was born to be a warrior! Focusing on only the positive became my new life goal. Being perfectly cute 24/7 was a top priority anymore. I also got involved in pageantry to inspire other disabled girls and women.
Pageantry Helped Me Gain More Confidence
In 2015, I competed in Ms. Wheelchair USA and ranked fourth place. I won the People’s Choice Award and the Mayor Award. It was such an honor. Meeting other young women that deal with the same challenges I do was the best part though. Most of them were already married and had children of their own. It gave me hope. A few months after, I met a sweet guy named Brandon. He turned out to be the one. In March of this year, we tied the knot. If I didn’t decide to be a part of Ms. Wheelchair USA, I probably would’ve not gained the confidence to date and go forward with life.
Because of my representation in the Ms. Wheelchair USA, I was asked to be the ambassador of Very Special Miss Louisiana pageant in 2017. It is a pageant for girls and women with special needs living in Louisiana. The ages are from infant to 40 years old. As ambassador, my responsibilities were to promote the pageant by going to different local events and sharing my story. Getting to meet young disabled girls around my home state and be an inspiration to them was my favorite part of the whole experience. I got the inspiration for my children’s book from the experience as well. My duties as ambassador have ended, but my passion to Inspire young disabled girls has only begun.
As you see, I took the dare of loving the woman I am meant to be. I accepted my imperfections and I stared treat my body as God’s masterpiece. I learned that anything is made possible when strong women are by your side. So I dare you to love yourself and do something that makes your soul happy.