I used to hate everything I could possibly hate about myself. How awful is that? When we’re young we’re so susceptible to what’s on TV, in magazines, trends, and so on… the things I hated the most, that set me apart, are what I treasure now. Growing up is fucking grand. Not giving a fuck is, too. They go hand in hand I’m sure.

I could give you a list… my freckles, dimples, brown hair, uneven eyebrows (seriously, one is raised much higher than the other and I never knew what to do about it), awkwardly skinny – bony, if you will? Dare I go on? My name, even!

I hated it all. I focused on every detail I hated. God, I cringe thinking of it. But that’s growing up. We learn, grow, do better.

It’s not just how I look, I’ve always felt a little off. I never thought the same as everyone else and viewed it as a weakness. Oh no no no… dear young child. It is such a strength, I hate that it has taken me this long to figure that out. I felt like I was slower than others… It’s just that I’m in a whole different lane all together.

Because it is really disheartening to go through the first 16 years of your life thinking there’s something wrong with you just cause you don’t have blonde hair, hips and say “cool things”. Grade school sucks for anyone who is different. You never feel accepted, really. Maybe get along fine (not all of us), but regardless will always feel like you’re on the outside lookin’ in.

I wish I realized all this, then.

Bottom line: being different does not make you lesser, weaker, or what-have-you. Make it what you need it to be for you. It’s your choice. It could make you weaker, if you let it. No fucking doubt. Or…. Make it your strength.

The cards are in your hands, it’s up to you how you play them.

Ciara Leah

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