I’ve been watching you from the sidelines all these years. Though we have, on some instances, almost brushed with each other, we have yet formally introduced ourselves. You may not believe it, but I actually kind of know what you’ve been through and what you’ve been trying to achieve. I know, because I’ve been through them myself.
I see that you were this once skinny kid who craved attention. You were born to a lower middle-class family with three other girls as siblings. And when the time came that you realized you weren’t as beautiful as your sisters, you tried to assert yourself. You questioned why your mom had to be sick when she was having you in her tummy because you inherited a misfortune which affected you your whole life. You questioned why a girl has to be fair-skinned, healthy (that state between being impossibly thin and being impossibly overweight) and without eyeglasses to become a flower girl. All of your siblings walked down the aisle as part of the entourage while, you, you only sat on one of the pews watching them with envy and self-pity.
Your mom comforted you with words that sounded like the story of an “ugly duckling”. But it seemed like she didn’t get your predicaments when she insisted that you regularly cut your hair in a bob with bangs to frame your bespectacled face—the look that earned you the ridicule of your classmates. Kids at school called you many names such as “lola” (grandma), “payatot” (skinny), and “negra” (dark-skinned). Befriending the popular clique meant you will had to do their biddings. So you ended up with a circle of “friends” who were all underdogs. Just like you.
In high school, you thought you were so lucky to have been enrolled in a private institution. But your classmates were filthy rich that you couldn’t even afford their Cattleya notebooks and G-Tech pens. They wrote on the front pages of their notebooks and left the back pages blank. You questioned your dad why you have to be born poor. You asked why you can’t have braces when your teeth actually suck, but see them on classmates who don’t seem to have any dental problems at all. You wondered how much their parents earn because they always seemed to have the latest in technology and fashion.
During the JS prom, you got to be partners with your crush for the cotillion. But after that, you stayed in your seat, impatiently waiting for someone to take your hand and have a dance with you. You spent the whole night wondering why you can’t be as pretty as the “Queen of the Night” and get the chance to be swayed on the dance floor by plenty of boys, including the juniors.
After college, you finally began to embrace your individuality—except that it didn’t make you immune from jealousy. You learned how to use makeup. You overhauled your wardrobe. You started using contact lens. Everyone noticed your transformation. But you still pined for that “one who got away”.
What am I trying to say? You’ve made it to the finals! You became the “beautiful swan” you’ve always been hoping to be. All you have to do now is to let go of your insecurities and be comfortable in your own skin. I know it took you a long while before you and everyone else got to see the beauty in you. Don’t let the past define your life now. You have achieved self-confidence and got this far, so don’t dwell on your sad experiences.
I’ll always be here to watch over you. You may not notice it, but I’m quite proud of you.