Other stories filed under Features
Other stories filed under Opinion
August 30, 2017
When thinking of the obstacles that one faces in life, the minds of many jump to situations such as a struggle with money or the death of a family member. Some reminisce on times such as a loss of a job, and remember how they had to work to overcome the struggles that followed. Though these are all valid examples of obstacles, there are some that are often swept under the rug—ignored by the general public.
Struggles such as those that begin within are some of the multiple hardships in life that escape what is viewed as “the norm.” Nonetheless, struggles like this are in no way unbenounced to some, such as sophomore Brianna Stewart. Since a young age, Stewart has been fighting a battle fought by most but discussed by few — the battle to love oneself despite flaws and shortcomings. The battle of self love.
“Ever since I was five I had always gotten bullied for my weight and the fact that my step dad is Mexican. Everyone would make fun of me because I am a different color than my sisters,” Stewart said.
Due to the hurtful words, Stewart became depressed, followed by issues with self harm and bulimia that caused her world to be turned completely upside down. Though the saying ‘Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you’ was drilled into her, the words spat out by others are what caused Stewart the most angst.
“The things that people say are the obstacle that I struggle the most with overcoming. You could be really far down the road of loving and accepting yourself and you can get dragged back down by just one thing that a person says,” Stewart said.
The harmful words and hate projected on Stewart by others caused her to be in a constant struggle with herself, causing the idea of loving herself to be anything but possible. Because of this, Stewart continually fell into deeper points of depression, so severe that suicide became an option that seemed to be less painful than continually swallowing the mean words of those around her. Though the words of others stung, the kind words of some, such as Stewart’s sister, were a reason for her to attempt to see light in the darkness of her situation.
After this perspective changing event occurred, Stewart began to see a brighter light in her situation, realizing that through her own strength and the help of others, such as her friends, that her battle with self love could be one where she was victorious, succeeding in her endeavor. On days where she finds herself struggling with something that has happened or a word somebody has said, Stewart turns to her friends, confident that their moral support can help her work through even the hardest of times.
“[My friend] texted me today and wanted to tell me that it is okay, and none of that and what people say is really worth it. He said that he knew I had been having a hard time but that he was here for me,” Stewart said. “It is like I have a ton of support from all of my friends. They tend to help me work through some of the stuff I have gone through.”
Due to her own strength and the help of others around her, Stewart is beginning to accept herself for who she is, not allowing the opinions of others to control the ways in which she runs her life. Stewart is actively finding different aspects of herself that she truly loves — one of which is her hair that she enjoys dyeing any color that she chooses.
“My favorite part of myself is definitely my hair. I love it so much because it sets me apart from everyone around me. When I was in ninth grade, the school made me re dye my hair to its natural color and I felt out of place because it is the one thing that shows the ‘Hey I am different from everyone else,’” Stewart said.
Through progress like this and more, Stewart sees changes in her life that would not be possible if she had not learned the lesson to accept herself regardless of what anybody else thinks about her. To Stewart, words do still hurt, but how she sees it, you can either brush it over or let it bother you can change who you are. Stewart has chosen the first option, seeing self love in a new, much more beautiful light.
“I have completely stopped caring about my appearance and about what other people think about me. I used to deal with anxiety, depression, and self harm and I have started to realize that no matter what, I am me, and there is nothing wrong with that,” Stewart said. “I see self love as being yourself and not caring what people say about you, whether it is good or it is bad. You are you, and nothing anyone says or does can change that.”