“I spent 17 years of my life brooding in the pitiful notion that I was not good enough. I watched people my age keep their heads held high as they paved their way to the future ahead of them. It was brave of them to express themselves and easily socialise. Why wasn’t I like them?- This question haunted me throughout my teenage years.

As a kid, and as a firstborn child, I had all the love, care and respect from my family. I felt lucky to be in an urban home with educated parents and the freedom to be whoever I wanted to be.
But I was the only overweight kid in the neighbourhood. I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I refused to wear good clothes, play with the kids around or even step out of the house. I was barely 10 years old then and I loathed the person reflected in the mirror. At school I was frequently called names, my relatives made fun of my belly and I laughed with them just to hide how insecure and miserable I felt.

Over the years, I shed the extra weight with my mother’s help. But I still carried the constant feeling of insecurities weighing on my chest. This weight only got heavier with time and got my self-esteem so low that I started feeling like I would never make a difference in this world. Even though I had better written and spoken language compared to my classmates, I couldn’t fit in because of my introverted personality. So, I decided to channel all my energy into writing poems and stories. When I started doing this, I found life. I found a purpose; a responsibility to twist this bland reality and carry the legacy of literature.

I did not write because I was lonely or bored. I wrote because I needed to. It was the only thing I could give to the world. Many people told me that being a writer would not pay but that never mattered to me. With a pen in my hands and a piece of paper, the world was in my hands and these demoralising lectures were forgotten. I knew who I wanted to be and I would do it no matter what. It was beautiful how the poems I wrote slowly healed me. The few people who were inspired to write after reading my work inspired me deeply. I knew then that I could make a difference. No matter how small.

I did not expect much from life after graduating high school. So it was definitely surprising when I got a seat for medical college abroad. I am forever grateful to my parents for having my back through thick and thin. But I really wish that the younger me had known to love herself for who she was. Although I wish it were different, I cannot turn the clock backwards so the best I will do my best to keep my head held high and wear my words like a crown. I promise myself to never let anything make me feel like I am worth less than I am.

In case no one ever told you, let me- You don’t have to exist loudly just because some people are. Your poems, paintings and art don’t need to be perfect. Never let the world tell you that your mediocre talent isn’t appreciable. Be who you are meant to be, and the universe will eventually find a place for you.”

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