Someone recently asked me what the perks of being a fashion blogger was. And it has, is, and always will be the power to reach a wide audience of people, empowering them through, and having them support my advocacy. In my case, it's feeling comfortable in your own skin.
It's important that a person learns to love him/herself before anyone or anything else, because at the end of the day, people will come and go. Nobody ever really stays forever, and you're stuck with yourself. The thoughts that haunt you at night, the thoughts you so desperately try to push away--not good enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough--that's the one thing you cannot escape. So if you live your life hating yourself, thinking, "Oh, maybe when a boy falls in love with me, I will be better. I will finally know what love feels like," you will learn the hard way that despite being surrounded by millions and millions of people, it is still possible to feel lonely. Because sometimes, being alone does not mean loneliness. Sometimes, it could mean solitude. You cannot build homes out of people. You cannot live in the cracks in their heart, battle scars from wars they have fought in the past; nor can you hide in the crevices of their skin, thinking maybe that if you put your broken pieces and their broken pieces together, you could finally become whole once more. You cannot. You can try, but what then is left of you when they, too, have gone? Nowadays, loving oneself, accepting our own flaws, and knowing that it is what makes us who we are is mistaken for arrogance. Over-confidence. Vanity. Conceitedness. But how can you love another, when you cannot even learn to love yourself? How then are you to appreciate the little things, when it makes you want to hide in your own skin because "Why can't I be as pretty as she is? Why am I not as smart? I wish I was skinny, I wish I was pretty." How do you expect to see the beauty in others, when you fail to see that you, too, are a work of art, each flaw, each scar a brushstroke that separates you from the rest? Be the change you wish to see in the world, they say. If you want love, it's got to start with you, they say. So many preachers, so little doers. The same people who go on and on about spreading love and peace are the same people who oppress, saying, "You're pretty, but you're kinda fat," as if having a little meat on your bones is the worst thing a girl--if not a person--could have. As if it's a crime to weigh more than your peers. Why do we allow ourselves to distort our own views on what beauty is, forgetting that it is subjective, that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder? And then why do we blame 'society,' forgetting that we, too, are part of the masses that make it up, each a living, breathing, contributing member? Why do we put so much importance on such trivial things like how someone looks or the digits that show up when we stand on the tiny little screen on a weighing scale? There will always be someone prettier, skinnier, sexier, better. But does that mean you're not pretty? Does not looking like a supermodel 24/7 mean you're worthless? No, of course not. Just because someone is better than you at something doesn't rule out whatever skills you have. The Kingdom Tower is a lot taller than the Eiffel Tower, but does that make the latter any less beautiful? No, of course not. Just because they're both man-made buildings doesn't mean they're the same. Just because you're both humans doesn't mean you're the same. In your own ways, you are beautiful, and it's about goddamn time we all start realizing this. But I'm not saying you shouldn't constantly work on the things you could be better at. There is always room for improvement, and every day is a constant battle of which we are soldiers, braving any and all obstacles that come our way. All I'm saying is that we must learn to accept the things we cannot change--the tiny blotches on our skin, thin straight black hair where we'd rather see thick wavy blonde hair. We are the way we are for a reason, and all we can do is make it work for us. People are calling you dumb? Study harder and ace that exam. Let your critics be your motivators. Get into a good college, get the job of your dreams, and by then, you'll be thanking them. You would have never pushed yourself had they not told you you couldn't do the things you wanted to. But you know, never hold grudges. Never hold someone's past against them, because people change. Quoting Shaykh Hamza Yusuf:
People say to you, ‘you’ve changed’, or something like that, well, I hope, for the sake of God that you have changed, because I don’t want to be the same person all my life. I want to be growing, I want to be expanding. I want to be changing. Because animate things change, inanimate things don’t change. Dead things don’t change. And the heart should be alive, it should be changing, it should be moving, it should be growing, its knowledge should be expanding.And that's something we must always remember. Carrying anger and hatred in your heart is such a heavy weight and it will consume you. It will consume you to the point where it will always feel like there's a grey cloud hanging over you, and you will be stuck in the past, unable to move on. "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster," Friedrich Nietzsche once said. And so to you, my dear readers, I'm telling you this: once you know who you are and where you want to go, whatever people have to say will not matter. Do not listen to the jeering and the ridicule, but rather, listen to your reactions, because there lies your truth. If someone calls you out on something and you suddenly feel all defensive, take a step back and reflect. Always, always think before you speak, before you react, because "life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it." I, myself, am still learning this process. I cannot justify nor excuse my immaturity, cover it up with some snarky remark to make myself feel better. What I can do is to apologize for my mistakes, but of course, never for who I am. Never ever apologize for who you are, because there is no greater betrayal than betraying yourself. On a different note, always remember that you have the right to wear what you want if it makes you feel beautiful, because the first step to looking good is feeling good. I've received a lot of questions from people asking for advice, and it typically goes like this: "I want to wear this and that, but I'm afraid people will mock me." Well, we're all human, aren't we? We're all afraid. You're not the one with the problem if such the case happens. The people who will mock you for doing what you want are merely threatened by the fact that you're doing what you've always wanted to, and are jealous that they do not have the same courage you do. Revel in that fact, but don't let it get to your head. Don't ridicule them once you've reached the top, but rather, show them that they, too, can reach the stars if they wanted to; if they just stopped focusing on bringing other people down because misery loves company. And then that, my dear reader, is where you start becoming the change you wish to see in the world. Do not fret when you commit mistakes. We're only human. Pick yourself back up and keep moving forward. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. Always do things for yourself and not for the sake of others because you've only got one shot at this life--are you really going to let someone else sit behind the steering wheel it for you?