I took this photo February 2015, as a model it's routine to continually update your portfolio so that client's interesting in hiring you can see whether you fit the image they have in their minds for their event, product launch, print campaign, commercial, etc.
Through my overseas modeling travel, and just as a model in general, I became really proud of the fact that I could morph my personality to book almost any gig where you needed to 'fit a personality'. I was a professional chameleon. I remember as a child I would come home with a different friends' laugh every other week, or adapt little quirks and habits from people I spent a lot of time with. My parent's always thought it was funny, but now looking back, I have no idea why I felt so uncomfortable with my own way of doing things that I was obsessed with adopting the traits and mannerisms of others. Oh wait, yes I do.
This quirk followed me into middle school, wanting to find a clique and never being 'good enough' to where I could have a solid group of friends that I could trust. I used to think it was normal for my 'friends' to publicly humiliate me, make fun of my body, throw me under the bus in class and bully me. At least they cared enough about me to let me hang out with them, right? I must be doing something they like, I'd think.
And one day at lunch, a friend told me how embarrassing my light facial hair was and said that I should just go eat in the bathroom. So, that's what I started doing. It was a really sad, confusing time, I didn't know why it was so hard for me to find people that just liked me for who I was, I'd cry on the toilet seat, eating my lunch in silence for weeks. Finally, I decided to go see my counselor, I'd visited her once or twice for similar issues, and asked if I could have lunch with her. She was always so nice, and would just talk with me; I really considered her a friend and started just going to her office for lunch every day. I never assumed that she'd see this as abnormal, she seemed like she enjoyed our visits as much as I did. After a little while, she called and explained the situation to my parents, which lead them to organize a sit down meeting with my mean friend that'd bully me, which lead to her telling the whole school that I was a baby, and even more people started giving me an even more openly hard time. My dad began to wait by my bus stop to make sure I wasn't going to get beat up, a few times having to stop girls and crowds from gathering for an apparent ass-whooping that was going to happen. We'd report the bullying and harassment to the schools and nothing would happen. I'd cry and beg my parents to let me change schools... It was bad.
But to be honest, now looking back on all of that I can see that it's shaped and molded who I am. I understand that some kids with similar experiences resort to using those hurt emotions to harm others, or allow it to overtake them mentally and harm themselves.. I'm happy that the work it sparked in me was becoming a deeper empath. Understanding that everyone has a story and the perspective they take from it becomes their reality. It makes it easier to decipher why people are who they are; whether it's through how their emotional compensatory and decision making patterns develop, or their outlook on life. Empathy becomes more accessible.
I can only speak for myself, but looking back at my past experiences, for me, it makes sense why I developed this insatiable need to feel perfect. Perfection was what I saw in others, who had a plethora of trust-worthy and 'cool' looking friends. 'They probably NEVER go through what I'm used to.'.. All I wanted was to feel liked, by ANYONE. My sister and I never really had much of a relationship, I attributed it to my weirdness. My dad never seemed to want to make time for me, I attributed it to my weirdness. I found myself in the middle of a circle or corner surrounded by classmates jeering and laughing at various parts of my body; my flat chest, skinny legs, bunion-ed feet, facial hair, pointy eyebrows... I attributed everything about my lack of popularity or likability to 'my weirdness'.
What else could there be? In so many areas of my life, I was experiencing the same thing over and over, relentlessly. It's the only sense I could make of it. I created that story and stuck to it, until only recently when I was tired of feeling such lack.
I'm no longer a weird, friendless victim. I'm creating my new reality.