The Beauty of Change

 Guest Contributor: Shellie Palmer
The past doesn't define our future, let alone the present moment. I've learned to live in the present moment, the here and now even though my mind takes me to those places from the past. I was an insecure teenager with low self-esteem. I was different than most girls my age. Extremely over weight with severe acne and I wore glasses. I'm short and have a learning disability. One can't see it in me though, but I know it's there. I didn't have a lot of friends and the friends I did have we're in special education. I didn't like the fact I was in special Ed and I considered myself normal away from them and wanted to fit in with the other kids.  Although I still needed help from special Ed, in high school I began taking regular classes rather than being in all special education classes. It was so freeing to me although I was extremely shy and awkward around everyone. My personality began to slowly change when I began to hang out with a few popular girls. Not so much in the class room, but before and after classes. It wasn't so much their popularity that was important, it was how they treated me and their personalities. They treated me with respect and dignity. It wasn't about having a status attached to them. It was more important for them to treat people the way they wanted to be treated. They made me realize this and to this very day we are still friends.  Every now and then we still see each other out in public.

In those memories I’ve learned how girls should be there for one another no matter how we look or act. It's about getting to know someone and making a connection with them.

Through the Years

It took me years after those high school days to accept myself for who I am. I don’t see myself as the once insecure girl I was. I’ve grown up and learned a lot about myself and my body. I’m not putting myself through the pressure to lose weight and although I still have some acne my skin is beginning to clear up.  I wear glasses and couldn’t see without them. I know I'm a different kind of normal and I'm fine with it, yet some days still struggle with the inner me. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see an unattractive blob, a woman whose shape and size is misproportioned. I've struggled with my weight since I was a child and have been on several diets. Some failed and some helped me reduce the weight. I've taken into account though it's all about lifestyle and what I can do for myself to live healthier. It became a key ingredient to my mental health.

In 2017 I was diagnosed with high functioning GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and massive depression. I say it has become quite eye opening how mental illness and my lifestyle are intertwine. I don't blame the anxiety and depression, but my thoughts do get in the way at times. I'm a whole person on the outside, but the inner can still struggle. I just want to be the person I was before without the insecurities. I put myself down every now and then, then remind myself to be empowered and self-confident. It's okay to not be a runway model. I have curves and a lot of them. 
          I see girls of all shapes and sizes and I wonder how they feel about themselves. Especially in today's society with social media. It affects girls emotionally and mentally and gives them a falsehood of how they should look. Being “Pretty” is not about outer appearance it’s who YOU are internally. What makes YOU different, special and unique? Looks fade, the heart doesn't. I'm that girl whose inner beauty stands out and I want young girls to know they too are beautiful regardless of age, shape and size. That is the beauty of change.


The link I'm providing is for self-empowering practice. It is inspiring quotes and words of wisdom to help you get through days when you just don't feel good about yourself. We're all going to have those days. Girls and women both.