May 17, 2019

As I was rummaging through my hard drive to find some photographs from the past summers, one thing has struck me. I have always carried my camera around me wherever I go, but I have never gone in front of the lens. There was no photograph of me, at all. Not ones that I liked, to be honest.

I have already spent three summers in New York and I have taken countless photographs of the city and its people, but not enough of myself. Why was I so scared to get in front of the lens and just have my photograph taken? What was I so afraid of?

You see, I had been so hard on myself and the reality was, I wasn’t afraid to get in front of the lens. I had taken some photographs of myself. But the thing was, I never thought I looked good enough to actually keep them. My routine was: take photographs, get in front of the lens, take more photographs, edit, find myself looking horrendous, delete. That’s why, looking back, there were no photographs of me at all in my hard drive.

One thing that also didn’t help my self esteem was having ‘friends’ who always criticised my appearance. It was either I was too fat or I was wearing the wrong clothes. This had been very challenging for me because I just wanted to fit in and be accepted. I had changed myself and wore outfits that weren’t me at all. It was a disaster, and my confidence just flushed down the drain. My self esteem had hit rock bottom and I was in a downward spiral. This lead to depression.

In my struggle and depression, I had learned to finally accept me for who I really am. Self love has been one of the areas in my life where I was not strong enough. But I have realised that in the past few weeks, I was happier and more loving of how I look like. Those pretentious ‘friends’ that I had before were gone from my life, and so were the negativity that they brought me. When I hung out with people that I actually liked and who liked me back, my life has turned and changed massively. It is true that your vibe attracts your tribe, so I urge you to find the right vibe to attract your right tribe.

It had taken me three long summers to love myself. To be honest, I wouldn’t change anything because my struggles have also helped me so much. I lost all the people who have brought me down, and I have met a lot of new people who are very helpful and supportive of my endeavors. My life has changed a lot, and my point of view along with it.

Now, I am ready to embark on new adventures, and to love myself more. This time around, I am ready to take more photographs of the world, my loving friends, and to, eventually, get in front of the lens myself.

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

John 3:18 NIV

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