I have always suffered feeling like an "odd one out" among my group of friends and acquaintances especially in my late teen years. It was a difficult learning process to me, teenage isn't that kind of age, where you have enough confidence to come upfront as you are. You will try the hardest to fit in and be everyone else and do what everyone is doing. I did too. In the verge of that, I killed my originality my uniqueness and everything great. I regret that even now, only if I was more aware of the perks of embracing my own self, things would have been so better than it were. I was caught up in trivial things that didn't even really bother me at all. "Looking prettier", "Getting enough male attention" "having a boyfriend" were the major goals of girls my age. My friends did that and so did everybody else. In fear of becoming left out and unseen, I copied them but never happy inside. At the end of the day, I would question my actions but I fought with myself to continue making the same errors. I loved reading and writing more than anything else. Writing had always been one of my biggest source of joys but I abandoned that because I was someone else and not me. There were times when I felt I wasn't good enough, not beautiful enough, not petite enough, not fit enough to be a part of the world I lived in. I remember learning how to look more attractive, more girlish. I stopped eating, exercised so much as I was chubby and according to the pop culture then, chubby was anything but attractive. Finally I somehow managed to get the attention I wanted. I found a boyfriend. It was a disgrace apparently, if you never had a single boyfriend at the age of 18. It was supposed to be embarassing and not "normal". Finally I was relieved that I was now free from the mock of my girlfriends for never being dated or kissed. How sad is that? I thought I was "in love" when I was not even sure of who I was. I had my "heart broken", but honestly, more than my heart my ego was at stake when it finally hit me what I was doing wrong. I was being a girl that I never in a million years would become. I became so angry at myself for never appreciating that girl in me who begged to differ, who was way ahead of everybody, who was into books and not make up, who dreamt of finding a place in the world not a perfect prince charming to sweep her off her feet. I hid her, beneath the layers of hypocrisy, an underlying fear at a vulnerable age, not wanting to look like a nerd, and so powdered her with fallacies ultimately becoming a sheep; only making mistakes and more mistakes. I felt like a loser, because I let myself down time after time. But that was it. One day when I finally decided to embrace my weirdness, my goofy self, I never had to look back again. The awkward me, the flawful me, the carefree child who did not bother about anyone else but herself. I stopped living up to people's false expectations but myself and who I wanted to be. The day I finally gathered up that courage to show to the world who I really was, people not only accepted but encouraged and loved it much more than the older "wannabe" version of me. Of course, there were people who were there to put me down, undermine my confidence by making offensive remarks but I had once made a mistake of listening too much of people, and no way I was ever going to repeat that. I went back to my one true love; writing, and it felt like magic. I started learning again, diving into my curiosities and everything I kept aside while busy trying to be more people's person. I felt different because I knew I was and I was glad I was. Its not just my story, I am sure there are plenty other people who get lost in the roads of finding themselves. There comes an age, a specific time when people fail at realizing what confronting and loving originality of one's character can bring to their lives. But the sooner they realize that the better life becomes. You find the right people and stop being a football to people's opinions. But its okay, to get lost sometimes. Its okay to be naive and make silly mistakes and fail at something terribly. Be sure, it is just fine to have a history of embarassing encounters and not so great stories because that is what makes you, YOU. After all its only when you meet with failure you tend to find where you went wrong and fix it.
This story was submitted in response to Learning from Failure.