In the race of life,
I knew, I had lost myself
Somewhere to the crowd, to which
I happened to be a part of while growing up.

For several years, I tried to fit in.
I obeyed their commands,
I said things to please them.
And I believed what they told me.

Things true to them were true to me.
I learnt that I was ugly,
And that I had no future.
I became a living puppet

I had realized that my confidence had
Drastically diminished when
I couldn't even tell my name properly,
And I knew, I wasn't living but surviving.

For several nights,
I cried myself to sleep.
I had many shoulders to cry upon,
Nonetheless they made me feel my own burden.

I had crossed thousands of bridges for many.
For many who've turned into just the faces I know.
I was neither repaid nor appreciated.
I became a tissue paper, to be used and thrown.

They made jokes on my looks,
They laughed over my personality,
And I knew, I wasn't a kind of girl
A boy would fall in love with.

I was dumb, I was dumb not because of who I was,
But because, I believed what they said about me to be true.
I started to hate myself because they hated me.
And probably that was the worst thing one could do.

A day came; while they burnt bridges, I built walls.
I freed myself from the crowd I was following.
I became my own judge.
And the moment I decided to be me, I became beautiful.

It never ended there; I realized how mercilessly life treats us,
Where every sip of my hot brimming coffee,
Scalded my tongue brutally.
But nevertheless, I had it every dusk and dawn.

Throughout my life I have tried to please people. I told them what they wanted to hear. I tried to copy them. I always did what I was told, over what I wanted to do. In order to make them happy, I even walked extra miles. I did things wishing that they would just give me at least one chance to be a part of them. But I failed. Every time, they would get things done from me and then, walked away. Even with all that I didn't say a word hoping that someday they will start appreciating me. Someday they will accept me.

"Don't you think you're as ugly as our maid?'', someone asked me. "I don't know, maybe if you say so", I replied with a smile. "How about changing your hairstyle? For it might help you look better". Nothing could have been more polite than a simple smile to something that tears you apart from within, but, that has to be your secret though. For ages I believed it to be true. I was ugly because they told me. It was not only by one person indeed, but several. Another instance I'd like to share is when I posted a picture of mine for the first time on social media. A friend of mine commented-"Oh my god! Look at her; she looks like the tea vendor outside our school". The very next day I deleted my picture and I erased that memory from my mind. A lot of times I tried to do several things that could help me look better. But every time I lacked in some ways. People made fun of me. A lot of times I was hurt but I didn't say a word hoping that someday they will start appreciating me. Someday they will accept me.

I have been an average student throughout my life and people had declared my future to be as useless as me. I had scored the lowest in my exams in class 6th and that was sufficient for them to declare me as good for nothing. Even because of me, my parents had to suffer a lot of social embarrassment, because at the end they gave birth to a child like me. I believed. I believed that I had no future and that is why I had stopped working for it. I lost the right to decide which course I wanted to pursue after 12th. As every other average student I was not allowed to dream big, for my life had ended the day my family got to know my marks in class 6th. "You scored the lowest in your class? Haw! Shame-shame!" I couldn't learn my tables. I couldn't remember why the World War happened. I didn't understand the concepts of physics and chemistry. But still I tried. I tried my best but I needed help. They kept on laughing on my dumbness while I continued to speak no words hoping that someday they will start appreciating me. Someday they will accept me.

There was nothing I could do. By the time I realized that people would never accept me, I became unacceptable for my own self. I had started to dislike myself as I considered myself to be as ugly as I was thought by them to be. I changed my hairstyle because I accepted that I looked ugly. I deleted my picture because I accepted what my friend commented about me was true. I was not dreaming about my future because I accepted that I didn't have one.

My imperfections gave me sleepless nights. I had no clue what I was supposed to do. With all this I had started to develop a feeling of hatred for myself and for others I knew. I started detaching myself with every human being I could possibly connect with. My depression was only my friend. With all that I had accepted that I was the worst person ever. I continued to say not a single word against anything but my hope of appreciation and acceptance had faded.

In order to make people happy I became my own enemy and that was the moment where I realized that I could survive with the hatred of others but, never with mine. I realized that no one would ever stand for me if I wouldn't take my own stand. That no one would ever accept me until I accepted myself. My fear had taken over me so badly that even smallest of things had become difficult for me. Everything was happening so simultaneously that I couldn't control anything. People were considering me as stupid and dumb while I was trying to fight with my fears. My weapon against it, my confidence, had already been destroyed and all I had with me was my weak patience.

One of the worst traits of our society is the fear of judgments. We are afraid of what others would think about us rather than being afraid of the effects it would have on us. What would people say if I failed an exam? Here you need to understand that people have nothing to do with your failure. The one who is going to suffer because of it is no one but you. You have to work for your own self. You have to pass your exams not because of what your society will think of you if you fail, but of what effects it would have on you. The result I got in class 6th was in no way acceptable. It was unacceptable not in terms of the norms of my society but in terms of me and only me. If I had to change my hairstyle or the way I looked, it had to be for me, for my acceptance and not for theirs. They are no one to compare me. Their acceptance is not important and never was.

Do what you want to do. Wear the types of clothes you like to wear. Pursue the type of career you want to choose for yourself. Don't wait for other's acceptance. It is not required. They will always have some reasons to oppose you. There will always be something imperfect in you with which they will have issues. Accept yourself for who you are. Nobody is stopping you from bringing changes in you. But do what makes you happy. Change for your own self and not for someone else's approval. Once you accept yourself, you will realize how amazing you are and how beautiful your soul is.

Free your soul from the hate it carries. We are not defined by the thoughts of others. We amount to be who we think ourselves to be. I am who I am. I am not perfect. I have several faults in me. But my imperfections are those which I think to be imperfect and not what others point out. Because had I noted every imperfection they pointed out in me, would have been the worst human being ever and for that matter I like being my own critic where I know who I want to be and what's right and wrong for me. I want to live my life. I don't want to regret not doing anything that I wanted to because of people who would have judged me or probably would have laughed at me. Our society has made many of us afraid not only of living a life but also of surviving as a living being. We carry so much pain in our heart that we have considered it to be just a normal thing. But trust me it's not. However it doesn't affect your immediate life but in the long run it's destroying you. It destroys your kindness, your peace of mind, happiness, affection for others, your sense of togetherness with people around you and ends up making you apart from every ordinary things of life.

Do what makes you feel alive. Give yourself the love you deserve. Enjoy your own company. Spend time with yourself. Take your own stand. Remember you don't need anyone to protect you. Speak for yourself. Express what you like and what you don't. Do whatever, but first start appreciating your own self. The moment you accept yourself, you become beautiful.

'Life treats us all mercilessly'. And it will continue to do so. It's a part of growing up. Struggles and obstacles are part of life. Sometimes you will win and sometimes you might fail. You will have moments where everything would not work as per you and life will become difficult. But remember 'what breaks you makes you stronger...' So never stop working hard. The more you struggle the better you become. Let yourself burn. But burn to become something precious. Let the fire inside you burn brighter than the fire around you. Let it make you something. Let it mold you into something that no one would have ever dreamt of. And remember, you are special.

While I hold my hot brimming coffee and take a peaceful sip of it, over my scalded tongue, I'd like to enlighten you with some words.

'Today, I appreciate myself. Today, I accept myself.'