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How I stopped giving a f*** about what people think

Personally, I believe that I have really come a long way since my childhood days and teenage life. Gone are the days where I *worry* too much about what people think, what people would say, esp from people whom I don't even know personally or know at all. I wouldn't necessarily take pity on the old me but I think it was a phase in my life that I had to go through, just like everybody else.

Perhaps I would start my childhood story off by saying that, when I was in primary school, everyone (who had the guts to) kinda made fun of me. All was fine and dandy in lower primary until puberty hit me fierce and hard when I was in Primary 4 or 5. I had really really bad acne on my face and body. And when I say bad, it was like cystic acne kinda bad. I remembered going on Dermatologist trips with my Mom and even trying out Vitamin A that was the worst experience in my life. No wait, maybe facials were way worse than that. And then subsequently, I became so used to the pain and it's also probably why I developed a very high threshold for pain since then.

I would say that this acne infestation of my face, body and being probably lasted up till my mid 20s. Through secondary school days where us young girls, started to mingle with boys from schools across the road, boys from "exchange Art programs" in school, through junior college and then eating into university. It was an on-going battle. Some days it was under control, some days it was like as if life hated me with a vengeance.

Maybe it was a survival mechanism too because, I can't possibly NOT go to school cos my face was bombarded with pimples. I couldn't possibly NOT talk to anyone too or NOT go out at all. Life doesn't just come to a standstill whilst you are figuring out how to work through your insecurities. Yes, there were probably many days where I ran through in my head why some people were born with such great skin and even on days, blamed my acne on genes passed down by my dearest Mother (it is still probably 50% true, but I forgive you Mom - cos you went through it yourself too when you were young HAHA). But I sucked it all up and mustered enough courage to go to school, talk to my classmates, ignore all the boys taunting me about my bad skin, choose to believe that when people are looking at me, they are not focusing on my face and instead on the words that are coming out of my mouth. Strangely enough, I cannot seem to vividly recall a time where I actually cried about this, as most young children would I suppose.

Some time around 25 years of age, my skin started getting better (*finally!*) when I discovered retinol and stopped using those facial scrubs that had extremely huge microbeads in them. They could do you more harm than good with surface abrasions and all. Instead, I switched to a gentle cleanser, discovered The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol. Those were my saviours and to this day, I still swear by it. I wouldn't say my skin is perfect now, but it is definitely a whole lot better. I finally discovered what it felt like to have visibly clear skin and what people had with clear skin - confidence.

Maybe that was the turning point in my life, that I truly started being in my own skin (no pun intended). Coupled with all the years of learning to ignore, choosing to believe what I want to believe others are thinking. All those years of having so many thoughts and being a quiet opinionated person suddenly went out of the window cos I am no longer afraid to express my opinions verbally when necessary. I was so comfortable with myself that I started spending a lot of time on my own and learnt that I actually really love it. I would go to restaurants alone, watch movies alone, travel alone and I love that I can get to talk to strangers and not be judged by the people around me for being strange or weird cos everyone knows by now that I AM strange and weird. Y'know?

I think in this day and age where social media is so so apparent, and everyone is comparing about who has the nicest clothes, has the nicest house, has the nicest life even, I can imagine how hard it is to just be completely un-bothered by all the noise online. I used to find myself many years back, literally aimlessly scrolling through Instagram or trying to keep tabs on EVERYONE's lives until I realised how pointless it is and what a true waste of time it was. Since then, I stopped aimlessly scrolling cos they just don't excite me anymore. Instead, I find myself on the *discover* page a lot more now that saved pages works like pinterest. On the contrary, I do enjoy posting and sharing still (cos your girl has a lot of THOUGHTS). Maybe it's a good thing that I have decisively decided to start blogging again during this lockdown.

Social media can be a lovely bed of roses and a pain in the butt at the same time. I do wonder about young people's mental health at times, esp the ones born into this social-media laden world. If someone's post affects you in a certain way, learn to first, acknowledge that it affects you and then really really make it a point to choose not to follow so avidly, even if it's a close friend of yours. If seeing what they post makes you upset, learn that it is okay to detach yourself from their online lives for a bit cos no one is there to take care of your mental well-being except yourself. You have to learn to love yourself first. Yes, I admit that Instagram and Facebook has become way easier to connect lives together but we were never born with this technology. There was a time where all these tech didn't exist and people still found a way to connect. If someone truly cares enough about you, they will find a way to check in on you.

For all of you who are stuck at home in lockdown and have way too much time scrolling on social, try reading a book instead. Or learn a new recipe. Don't let yourself be a victim of social noise.


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