Jessica - Chesapeake, Virginia
Entered on December 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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As I walk down the hallway, I can feel the stares of those who surround me. I already know that they are peeling back the layers of my appearance. What do they see? What do they think? I already know. They must think I am the most retched thing they have ever seen. I know that’s how I feel about myself. As I enter my next classroom, I almost burst into tears. Why do I even show my face in public? What’s best for everyone is for me to sit in a corner to whither away, and leave no trace of my existence. I am sure no one will miss me.

I believe everyone should have high self-esteem.

Many people throughout the world live with low self-esteem. I am one of those people. Though I have been working on it, it is hard to reverse something that I have lived with for so many years. In middle school, I was made fun of constantly about my physical appearance. I had frizzy, wavy hair that never looked healthy. I wore bifocals that didn’t suit my face and I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up, so I couldn’t cover up my acne. And, I am very pale.

I was constantly called names like Casper, Whitey, etc. I have been asked if I was “hit with an ugly stick.” During middle school, I wanted to fit in so badly, and to have so many people bring me down was a horrible experience. I felt like I was ugly, stupid, and worthless. I cried at home so many times and at one point, I wasn’t afraid to cry at school. I just couldn’t control myself. A girl actually made it her goal to make sure I didn’t sit at my usual table. She had all her friends make fun of me, and even with the soothing words of my own friends, the criticism still seeped into my head.

At one point, in high school, I was so embarrassed by the way I look that I decided to change. I received contacts and even though I was told that I still needed reading glasses, I didn’t wear them at school. I got a hair straightener that flattened my wavy hair and made it less frizzy. I talked my mom into allowing me to wear make-up and I abused the power by darkening my eyes and caking on foundation to hide my numerous flaws. I was so embarrassed by the way I looked that I didn’t want any part of my past to show. The people that made fun of me in middle school forgot me like I didn’t even exist to begin with. The girl that made sure I didn’t sit at my usual table became a friend because she thought I was someone else.

Even though my physical appearance changed, my mental state did not. It became a habit that I put myself down before anyone else could. If someone said that I looked different, I would say, “I know, I look horrible.” I lost a lot of friends that way. My constant negative talking drove people so crazy that they thought it wasn’t worth it. I thought I wasn’t worth it.

I started to get into theatre the end of my freshman year. It was a way for me to escape reality and become someone entirely different. I received the nickname Eve because, my junior year, I played the lead in “Eve and Adam: The Untold Story.” I loved the name but didn’t think it fit me because, in the play, Eve was a strong, independent, person, and I wasn’t. I want to be able to fit the name. I want to be strong and independent and, most of all, I want to love who I am. I am still on the path to becoming what I want to be, but I still have self-esteem issues. I get scared when I have to get up in front of a class because everyone is watching and It feels like they are judging. But, I am my worst critique, and a harsh one at that.

I believe no one should go through life thinking they amount to nothing physically and/or academically. It is no way to live. Basically, you’re floating through your days with a weight on your mind. A weight that keeps getting heavier with each passing person. One of these days, someone won’t be able to handle the weight that they decide to do something tragic. Everyone should feel like they are worth something in his or her own way. Being low is not only a damper on your view of yourself, it can be a death sentence too.