My entire life, I was lied to. People were telling me how beautiful they thought I was. Some said I was the cutest girl in the world. Then there were some who told me I was ugly. They said I would never find love or someone who recognized my beauty.

My whole life, I believed every word they all said. You’re probably wondering how a person can believe two completely different things at the same time.

Well, I believed it when they said I was beautiful. My long hair and clear skin was a mark of their beauty scale, even when my numbers on the scale grew. I believed them when they said that I was ugly. My dark skin and chubbiness was a mark on my forehead that branded me for endless bullying.

I cut my hair and the compliments became scarce. The bullies are living their own lives now, and we hug whenever we see each other at the store or a university graduation as if emotions were never provoked or tears were never shed.

I’m still learning how to block out people’s perceptions of me and how to love who I know I am. Now I know that it only takes one person to tell me I’m beautiful, and that’s me.

It may sound cheesy, but with self-improvement comes self-love, and I want to get better with time, so only the truth is allowed in my heart. There’s no room for lies here. I’ve reset my purpose, my mind and my life.

I reset my everything. I found a purpose that isn’t just “graduate from college, get a degree, get a job” blah, blah, etc., etc.

After becoming sick and depressed, I took a semester off from school. In these past few months, I’ve learned about boundaries and reason. It takes a lot to put your life on hold, move back home with your parents, quit your job, say that you’re writing a novel and that you want to make a living off of your talents one day.

Nobody believed in me until they started reading my words. It only took two chapters and my dad literally said “You’re missing your calling.” I have a talent worth taking a chunk of my life out for. Yes, I’ll graduate late, and yes, I might add a second major in journalism or English which will make me graduate later and cost tons of more bills, but I don’t feel trapped inside myself the same way I used to. At least now I can smile a little each day.