Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Over the course of our short 20-something years, we’ve all probably had quite a few defining experiences. For me, one was when my family and I moved from Oman to Sri Lanka. I was 6-years-old at the time, but as far as I remember, life in Oman was pretty uncomplicated and awesome in every way. The move affected me in ways I couldn’t imagine (how would I have known, anyway? I was only 6!).
Learning a new language, adjusting to an entirely different lifestyle and adapting to the people who lived here – it was all too much at the time. I entered my teenage years with a lot of angst and suppressed emotions. I’d not taken to life on this island and it took a huge toll on me.
Yup, my teenage years were not a blast. I was swamped with insecurities and it was a struggle to get through them. I like to think I’ve evolved now what I’m in my 20’s, but here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Making friends was a huge challenge. Having being brought up as a sheltered kid (thanks, mom and dad!), I was terribly shy and found it extremely difficult to initiate conversation. Even if I did manage to befriend someone, I was quite gullible, and so, often found myself in a lot of trouble.
But, with a little observation and making an effort to push myself forward, I’m waay better at speaking to people. The effort I put in was worth it because I’ve made some terrific friends along the way.
2. Safety First
Trying to survive as a female teen on the streets of Sri Lanka was pretty tough (who am I kidding, it still is!). There’s no end to the number of catcallers and street harassers who’ll make your life miserable. On the rare occasions I stepped out with my family, it was difficult to deal with the crude remarks that were thrown around.
Today, I’m more aware of my surroundings and I make sure to keep a sharp eye on potential sticky situations. I’m not afraid to speak up, and I totally will confront the offender if I’m with a group. However, I do know when comments should be ignored.
3. Clothing Is Important
As soon as I hit puberty, much to my displeasure, I wasn’t allowed to choose what I wore. What ensued were countless arguments over clothes I absolutely disliked. I rebelled but ended up conceding to my parents’ choices.
It took a lot of courage to break free from the norms that were enforced upon me. I did a 180° and gradually shed my former self, experimenting until I found a style I love. I now happily don jeans, hoodies, t-shirts, sneakers and boots.
4. Family Always
My aforementioned shy and anti-social behaviour left me with a poor connection with relatives. Needless to say, but my interaction with them was limited to an all-time low and this did no good to my self-esteem.
Blood is certainly thicker than water and now I have an amazing circle of relatives whom I share amazing relationships with. Coming out of my comfort zone was tough but it’s great to have the support of people who would do anything for you, and vice versa.
5. Shying Away
Being an introvert really affected my school life, because I always shied away from doing the things I loved. I really enjoyed writing and singing, but because I hid away, I was never top of mind to be selected for competitions and such.
It took a lot of willpower to volunteer and actively participate in activities. The end result? I now have many achievements and memories to look back on. It’s an amazing feeling to know that being brave and taking risks can lead to wonderful things.
What were your teenage insecurities and how did you deal with them? I’d love to know!
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