I went to a small private elementary school a little out of the city. I was the school’s representative they said, possibly because I was always top of the class, even without studying very hard. No matter what I did, whether in science or art, it turned out to be the best. Again, this was in my early years.
If you ever watch the movie Inside Out, you will understand how a person’s character is formed. A certain character can develop into a more complex character or even change into a really different character. Put simply, a person’s mind consists of memories and some are influential enough to enter a person’s subconscious, and strong enough to develop into islands of personalities.
Memories are made of information. Information comes from a series of events that happen before us. Those events are subjects to the word “influence.” They can be places, people, and us, our inner self. That’s why they matter. By writing “they” I refer to people’s existence, opinions, feelings, and actions. It matters how a person opinion affects another person feeling.
And that’s how I changed. From top of the class to class clown. From life of the party to a wallflower. From hero to zero. From square something to square one. From the center to the margin. The Popsicle disintegrated. The Rainbow faded away. The little girl within me has left.
The sixteen year-old me was immature like other sixteen year olds—immature enough to believe what everyone said about me. They called me fatty or fool or ugly girl. I didn’t feel offended. Instead, I saw it as their way of noticing me because I was craving for attention and recognition.
After elementary school I had not been the best in the class anymore, so I wanted to be the center of the crowds, even if it took being a circus elephant for everyone to laugh at.
I took me six years to realize the harm this belief had done to me. I didn’t get the attention I expected. Instead of gaining friends or popularity by letting people throw nasty words at me, nothing happened. In fact, as time went by, I started to believe that I really was a fat, ugly, dumb, and shallow girl.
I continued to listen to the voice inside my head that I was worthless. I didn’t do well academically and I didn’t socialize enough to make more friends or connections. I was full of doubts and anxiety, and I overanalyzed every trivial thing that happened to me. My personality has changed. And this personality stays, within me, as a permanent cast member of my core memory.
Fortunately, I still have a good insight. Although it may be too late to change someone personality when they have passed their golden age, it’s not impossible to heal. I can change. I just need to recreate memories by engaging myself in a series of positive events and circumstances, and making a good environment for my body and soul.
How do I do this? By listening more to myself, not other people. By becoming what I want to be, not what I want to be looked at. By believing that my opinions about myself matter more than what people think or talk about.
Then and now I am still the same girl who is susceptible to various comments and judgments. The only difference is that I don’t believe them anymore. I have decided to be fully in charge of my own physical and mental health.
Dea Nathania is a doctor. She is interested in psychology and graphic design. She reads young adult fictions and drinks a lot of coffee.