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How I Learned To Let Go

How I Learned To Let Go

A deep breath is all it takes, they said. So I took a deep breath with my eyes closed, and when I opened them, nothing had changed. My hair was messier than usual. My eyes had dark circles underneath them. My ribs were visible underneath my skin. My face was full of acne. This is what my mirror crudely reflected, yet I was so thankful that my reflection never showed my mental flaws. Ignoring them was, for me, the best medicine. But in days like this, they danced right in front of my tired eyes, making it hard for me not to notice how bad things were.

I remembered how, hours earlier, I fought with my mum over my lack of appetite, as if I could help it. I remembered how they would pick on my skin’s imperfections, as if it was so easy to get rid of hormonal acne. I remembered how they would say I ruin family gatherings because of my attitude. I also remember how they believed I was insane.

It was the start of my worst breakdown ever. All the silent tears I shed in those times were replaced by heavier sobs. It felt like my chest was screaming. My heart tightened to the point where it was hard for me to breathe. I thought of all those shoulders I could cry on, all those arms that promised to hold me when my world came crashing down. But when I looked up, I was alone with my red eyes and runny nose and broken self.

It was in that moment that I knew how much I needed to find a way to smile again, to get back up—this time stronger. Erasing my tears, I stood up in my underwear and bra, pulled my hair into a ponytail, cleaned my face from the aftermath of the breakdown, and played “Can't Take My Eyes Off You.” And I danced. I danced and danced, not caring about my out-of-sync steps, and my very unflattering wiggly bottom. I just needed to feel relieved, and that was my way of doing it.

What’s your relief? If mine is to be a dancing idiot for a few minutes until I feel better, then perhaps you like to sing, or maybe paint, or maybe write. Be authentic about it, and you'll feel a shift in the whole atmosphere. It sounds simple (and, OK, cliche), but being yourself can be really challenging in today's society. Ignoring people who bring you down is the key to self-forgiveness. Not everyone's going to like you—they're just not—but remember that this kind of negativity says more about them than you.

Changing the world starts from within. You have to take action, beginning with yourself. Be the person you want to be, unapologetically.

By Hajar, 19

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