Nicole's Story: Self Love - A WIP

Above image: Nicole at the Adelaide Fringe

Hiya, I'm Nicole! I'm here to tell you about my slow and unfinished journey to self love.


In my 23 years of growing up so far, loving myself has only become a recent thing. I still don't love myself fully 100% to this very day. But some percentage is better than none isn't it?


I spent most of my childhood in California, where I went to school for the majority of my life. I was your typical Asian kid: shy, quiet, one of the smartest in my classes, a major bookworm that eventually grew into needing glasses because of how many books I read (I made constant trips to the library, which was my favourite place to be in school). I was also one of the very rare Asian kids in my elementary school. I'm almost 99% sure I was the only one. Middle school introduced me to a few more Asians, high school was where I met a lot more. All those years in school weren't easy. Even when moving to Adelaide, the school I went to for two years to finish my schooling wasn't as diverse as I was expecting it to be. Back in California, I was surrounded by different people from all types of backgrounds and I found it so much easier to enjoy myself there. Moving from a public high school in California to a private school in Adelaide was a weird experience and culture shock all wrapped in one. It's the small things that still take a while for me to grasp, like the slang used (Maccas for McDonald's still trips me up), how tall the girls are (I'm vertically challenged at work all the time, meanwhile my coworkers breeze through easily), and sometimes the amount of roundabouts I see is amazing to me. I wouldn't wanna live anywhere else through!


High school was when I began fighting with acne. It's a natural part of growing up, that part I understood. It's a battle still ongoing to this day and it's become something I've embraced rather than try to get rid of. It wasn't as bad when living back in California but as soon as I moved to Adelaide, it pretty much exploded on my face, back, shoulders, and chest. It was easy to deal with on my face (not like I cared too much about it but it's doing better now at least) but my mom and aunties tried too hard to unhelpfully help me get rid of it. My mom bought me heaps of skincare that I hardly used, mainly because I found it difficult to do everyday and I hated doing it. My aunties would ask my mom at family gatherings, "what's wrong with her face?" in Khmer, a language I have some understanding of even though I'm sure they don't know this (it's pretty easy to pick up when you hear it your entire childhood) plus the gesture towards my face didn't make it any better. I immediately could tell what they were talking about. I didn't look like the typical traditional Chinese girl anyway so it never bothered me. I didn't have straight white teeth or pale glassy skin. My eyes were bigger than the stereotypical small Asian eyes. I didn't mind the pimples on my face but my relatives did and why? I didn't bother to try to explain that it was my body, my choice, therefore I could do whatever I wanted. They wouldn't have understood anyway. I ignored their comments and eventually my skin cleared up. I still have scarring and the few pimples that pop up here and there but I take care of them whenever I can. The acne on the rest of my body is still here and it's not easy to get rid of. It's mainly the reason why I choose to not wear anything very low cut or backless or I would end up layering tops to cover it up. I've embraced this new style completely and even though it makes it harder for me to shop around in stores everyday, I wouldn't have it any other way. Everyone feels confident in their own things, mine happens to be when my chest and back are covered and it's nothing I'm ashamed of. I look and feel just as confident as anyone else who has the complete opposite style of me and I think that's all that matters.

  

Self love is something I could achieve on my own. If you're surrounded by the right people, it'll slowly come to you like it did with me. The only reason why I feel so comfortable in my own skin now is because of my loved ones around me. My friends who were always there to hype me up and make me feel good about myself. My partner who embraced my flaws and built me up piece by piece and with his patience, I blossomed into the woman I am today. Being a former dancer of the Kult Crew in Adelaide also helped with my confidence. As someone who could barely dance about 4 years ago, I love seeing how much I've improved as a dancer with the help of leader Jay and the other members of the Kult family  who did nothing but help me in so many ways and to them, I'm forever grateful to for them and the joy they all brought to my life. I didn't get many chances or opportunities to show more of what I could do but it's something I intend on showing on my own. Loving myself became a team effort and it's amazing to see how far I've come as a person from the past years. I look and feel like a completely different person when I see and think about my past self. It's normal to change during the course of your life and I am no exception. Cutting the friends I didn't need brought change to me. Through that one action, I was able to see which ones would support me to the end and it brought new friends into my life as well. I became happier and could see that I just needed the right people in my life.


Peak self loving me would wear anything she wants without worrying about the acne on my body. If I truly loved myself, I wouldn't give a second thought about anything I did or what I looked like or what I wear. But sometimes I do. And that's okay. I don't mind covering up myself. I don't mind the acne on my face. I eat whatever I want and even though my lactose intolerance can sometimes say otherwise, I still eat things like ice cream and cheese and have no regrets at all (my stomach hates me). Even though there's some days when I wish I had clear skin or was a bit more photogenic, I love my life the way it is and the way I am now with the people I'm surrounded by. I've come to love myself bit by bit and I find it okay to not to love myself fully. My journey to self love is different from everyone else and there's nothing wrong with that. To me, it's okay to not love myself completely. I'm working on myself everyday, I learn something new everyday. It's a journey worth going on because in the end, you'll wish you did it sooner. I've gained so much from it, I wish I started it before but I wouldn't trade it for the world! 

It doesn't matter if you're curvy or skinny or have stretch marks or acne, every one of you is beautiful in your own way and that's what makes this world a bit of a better place to live in. If you ever need anyone to hype you up, I'll be here to do that! I hope my message here can inspire you to start your own journey to love yourself! It's incredible what a little bit of love can do to you 💖💖

1 comment

Rizzi Thorpe

love you nicole 💓

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