“My journey has been a rollercoaster ride, filled with ups and downs, self-doubt, and eventually, self-discovery. It all began with my parents, who were the first to recognise my knack for connecting with people, community and forming strong bonds.
After completing my 12th grade, I made a bold decision to venture far from home for my college education, but not in Chennai. I chose to pursue my bachelor’s degree in London, focusing on my favourite field: ‘Media and PR.’ While my mom had her reservations about sending her 16-year-old child abroad, my dad’s confidence in my abilities became my driving force. As an only child, I had their full support.
I’ve always been a tall woman, and unfortunately, that made me the target of relentless body-shaming during my school years and went on until pretty recently. Not many people knew that I broke my back in school which resulted in weight fluctuations. The hurtful comments and unsolicited advice about my appearance inflicted deep wounds on my self-esteem. People would openly ask questions like, “How will you find a husband for yourself?” or “How will your parents find a husband who is tall enough for you?” The constant pressure to lose weight was suffocating, and I fell into a spiral of self-doubt.
These hurtful words and questions took a toll on my mental health. I believed that there was something fundamentally wrong with me and my body, leading me to take drastic measures like starving myself in an attempt to conform to society’s standards of beauty. I was lost, drowning in a sea of self-doubt, and couldn’t find answers to the questions that haunted me.
Despite these internal battles, I remained determined to pursue my dreams. At the age of 22, I began interning in my chosen field with a mentor who would become my guiding light. He gave me the confidence I needed at that age to go out there and pursue my dreams. Shortly after I founded my own company, ‘November Reign,’ My career flourished, after I started working I gained a lot of confidence. I achieved things I didn’t know I was capable of. I had a thirst to prove myself.
Then a couple of years ago covid-19 stuck and work slowed down. It was a devastating blow, and I felt completely unanchored. However, amidst the darkness, I made one of the best decisions of my life – seeking therapy. I bravely started discussing my struggles with mental health. Therapy became my lifeline, helping me discover the strength within myself. I overcame a lot and started speaking a lot more about how therapy had helped me on social media and to those around me.
After emerging from therapy, I began to see myself in a new light. I started accepting my body, flaws and all. I learned to respect and cherish every part of myself. The pandemic had given me the opportunity to reevaluate my priorities and values, and I emerged from it with a newfound sense of self-love and resilience.
As I re-entered the workforce after the pandemic, I carried with me this newfound confidence and self-acceptance. I fell in love with my body, my career, and the world around me. I found balance in my life. My health, mental health and my work became a priority. Yes, body-shaming still exists, bullies exist. but it no longer has the power to define me.
I’ve also noticed that post covid people have become more open to speaking about mental health and because of brave souls talking about the struggles they’ve faced on social media with body shaming and other battles they’ve faced people are being more educated. I notice a change within people and that makes me happy. For this very reason I will continue to be more vocal on the societal challenges I’ve faced.
I want you to know that everyone faces their own struggles, just as I did. Life is a journey filled with experiences and phases, each teaching us something valuable. We all have our internal battles to fight, but remember that life is constantly evolving and changing and so are we. Don’t take anything personally, and allow the tides of life to flow as they will.
My journey from self-doubt to self-empowerment has shown me that with time, self-love, and with the support of those who believe in you, you can overcome any obstacle. Nothing or nobody has got the power to define who you are. Only YOU have that power. Own it.”