By: Nijah Awj, Project HEAL Canada
When I newly immigrated to Canada, I was put in Welcome class, and then quickly placed into 4th grade. When I started, everyone already had friends and it was very hard for me to find my place and talk with others. I tried to be friends with some girls but it turned out that they made fun of me and called me names. I ended up feeling very lonely and insecure about myself.
Particularly, there was one girl who seemed to have some authority among other girls; and shewould criticize my clothes whenever she got the chance to do it. I remember she would say mean things and say that my shirt looked very ugly, so all her friends could laugh. I was naïve and innocent, in search of acceptance and this really made pained me.
I remember spending hours every morning trying to find a shirt that might please her, something pretty that looked good on me, to get others to like me. I started hating myself, how I looked and desperately looking for ways to improve my appearance, but it never seemed to work. She was never satisfied.
This went on for months and I become more and more desperate. Maybe I just wasn’t beautiful or any good after all.
Finally one miraculous day, something incredible happened; a simple coincidence that totally
changed my life. That day, once again I spent an hour choosing what to wear; yet it was my lucky day. I found a nice pink t-shirt with red little flowers around the collar. As I walked into the classroom, hoping she would for once not criticize, something unbelievable occurred. I found her staring at me with big surprised eyes from behind the class with her mouth wide open.
On that day, I don’t know by which force of coincidence, she was wearing the same shirt as me.
She didn’t say anything. I couldn’t believe it, how could a girl as ugly as me be wearing the same shirt as her.
That day, I realised it didn’t matter what I wore, she was simply looking for ways to put me down so she could feel better and gain acceptance among her friends. That lucky shirt saved my life and made me understand that it is unworthy what others think about me beside what I think of myself. It is my own confidence that makes my beauty, nothing else. If I didn’t care from the beginning she would not have had this much power over me; I gave it to her.
At the end of the day, I was free… I recognized that the only person’s happiness that should be valuable for me, it’s mine. Weather I get that happiness, or not, it depends on me. Each person does something for their own happiness if I don’t do it for mine then who will?
So after that day, I wear what makes me feel comfortable and feel no longer insecure. My new airof confidence gave me the courage to reach to others. I could attract people with my own identity and let my personality shine. Now, I don’t care about others’ opinion of me, because I know that you can make others feel better only if you feel good yourself.