Let me ask you this, how many times can you die in a lifetime?
You would definitely answer once, but in my case, I died several times in a lifetime. At the time of great loss, the mind succumbs its way to torture. Mental chaos creeps inside of me which no-one can see nor comprehend.
I came to realize that the cruel part of life is not even death, it would be that a heart can keep on beating even after it has been broken multiple times. It can feel as though it is being gripped out fiercely from your chest but still the beating continues.
I died in every heartache, every discrimination, and every rejection. I grew up having a paper heart, a heart that is very fragile and sensitive. In my childhood years, people called me ugly or so, so I was told by a boy who sat in front of me in the nursery class. I was five years old back then, yet it was instilled in my memory what he said and did to me that day.
I was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. Being born with a disability is not something I would wish to have grown up as a kid. I had two surgeries, but the scar that is left written above my upper lip is a constant reminder of my flaws, my unlikeness, and my differences.
I grew up having crooked teeth and underdeveloped jaws. Those were barriers to building my self-esteem too. I was called by names that eventually broke me in parts.
“I am so ugly!”, I have said it a hundred times in the mirror. Odd enough to say, I sometimes find comfort in saying those words to me. It is a recap of disgrace and mortification.
One of those unfortunate experiences I had back then was when the person that I adored and looked up so much slated the idea to some people to think that having a disability makes someone less of a person.
I don’t understand why it’s easy for them to degrade someone because of it. I can still remember those times I wrote letters for that person, burning them was the best decision I have ever made. Yet, my ignorance and naivety took me to my first ever heartbreak.
That day I felt like I was the ugliest person in the world. The pain I felt that day was uncomprehending and overwhelming. That fateful day I realized that heartache is twice painful when it comes from the person who you thought will give you importance. Of course, I thought wrong; I made stupid decisions and mistakes in the past.
Looking back, I regarded myself as lost and broken. I was not used to playing outside or putting myself in the open crowd for reason being that I was frightened of hearing murmurs and whispers of distaste against me. For that reason alone wrecked my innermost well-established arrangements.
Knowing what feared me scared me even more. I could feel the monsters beneath the shadows of my insecurities grinning while I melt away in shame. Speaking for myself was never my strong suit. I could not even talk to people without sweating that’s why I had a hard time defending myself against the bullies.
At that time, I considered everything that people used to say to me. I allowed criticism to validate the person that I was that led me to break my heart and affected the way I see myself.
I used to remember all the hurtful comments that I kept inside and think about it most of the night at the bed while crying. But now, I rarely remember all of it, though some comments left a scar, my point being is that I used to care but not anymore.
I always fish for compliments in the past. I always seek joy and attention from the wrong people for the very wrong reasons and have come to realize that none of which had ever filled the void inside of me. I was disappointed to see that the beauty we exemplify must conform to society.
Our definition of beauty is closely tied to social acceptance. Almost crumbled in vain just to appease the opinion of everybody. We are conditioned by culture on what we deemed as beautiful and ugly.
I think this is a shallow concept that we need to eliminate. We need to accept who we really are, including our flaws. If we truly accept the shape of our soul, it will glow in radiance even in the darkest low.
I believe that the beauty in us is rotating perpetually, never shallow, and never absolute. I suppose that we start loving ourselves and the things that we do because someday there will be somebody who will see the heart in us too.
Of all the things, I have realized that how I look is just a part of me, but not all of me. I realized that there is beauty in every scar. This realization didn’t come that easily. It developed over the years of thinking, teasing, bullying, friendship, and love.
I have realized that there’s a greater probability to change the way I see myself than change the way others see me. I have never measured myself less anymore. It took me years to see my worth and know that every one of us forms part of this incredible universe.
I am not ashamed of my scars anymore. They are part of my identity. The journey I have been on has shaped every bit of who I am. That journey included the pain and suffering that led to each one of the scars. If you try to separate me from my scars I may as well have never existed at all.
Love indeed comes in all forms. Among all those forms, self-love is the best kind of love. Self-love is a continuing process, it never ends. Do not measure yourself from your head down to the ground, always measure yourself from your feet up to the sky.
I learn to invest in myself and inspire myself the most so I can be the best person to the people that surround and love me. Self-love is an endless discovery of the self.
It is taking care and respecting myself so that I can be able to give the same amount of respect and care to my families, friends, significant others, and the community.
One of the biggest reasons we exclude love is because we feel unworthy or we deny ourselves from it. To have a loving relationship with ourselves, we must challenge our negative self-concept.
When we do this and take the loving actions that contradict our critical self-image, we enhance our sense of worth and are able to get closer to the people we love.
The main reason why I was unhappy before is that I did not know where to find love when I lost it. When you are broken, it seems like the only thing there is to do is head out in search of the love of another. But instead of looking elsewhere, you looked right at the walls you’ve been hiding for years.
The walls you built to protect your heart gave you a narrow view of the world. Sometimes pain leads you to where you belong, and sometimes pain is your guardian angel; it will help you find the way to the place where you are supposed to be.
I always remember that there are a lot of people along the way who will take my breath away, but the people who remind me to breathe are the ones I should keep.
I always put in mind that there are glitters in my hands all along, and magic is something I must create. I always cast magic that sparks hope, joy, and redemption. I always use magic that is well to my soul.
I used to write to someone else’s name for façade happiness. It is about time that I should write my name for my own sake. It is about time to love myself and leave no space for hate.
It took me years and came so far to finally find out that my life has never been the same since I wrote my name on my paper heart.
About the Author:
I am a law student from the Philippines. My friends find me to be an upbeat, funny, and self-motivated person. I have enjoyed reading books and writing poetry since I was a kid. Desiderata by Max Ehrman is my favorite poem of all time because it reminds me to treat others kindly, to accept who they are and to be gentle with ourselves. Reach Kristine through her Instagram:
Featured image via Omar Lopez in Unsplash