6 Life Lessons I Learned as a 22-Year-Old Full-Bodied Girl

2018’s almost about to end and I have no idea why, but I love reading and watching people share what they’ve learned and realized when they reached a certain age. I feel like it’s the most helpful life nugget you can possibly get (not to mention, free as well). For someone who gets anxious pretty often about navigating life, other people’s experiences really aided to calm my most ridiculous thoughts. Now I hope this one’s not going to be too cliché and mushy for you, as most lessons in life are. But I hope, as a full-bodied gal, you find these tidbits to be helpful in your journey.

I’m not gonna be everyone’s cup of tea, but it shouldn’t matter. I’m born a natural people-pleaser and always been hard on myself since, and that combination usually doesn’t work out that well for anyone. Sure, it gives me an angle on what to work on and it fuels me to give my 100% but having this type of mindset makes things difficult sometimes when you’re not getting the result. You end up frustrated and you put value on other people’s opinion about yourself than your own. This is a very unhealthy and unrealistic way of thinking. Life is so much more than getting external validations from others. I later realized that it is a disrespect to myself to put the power in other people’s hands. I live for my own pleasing and it doesn’t matter whether people can or cannot ride my flow. 

I have come to accept and love being “imperfect” I’ve said it a buttload of times but whenever we look in the mirror, we will always find something to pick on. It’s inevitable. It’s like our default is to inspect ourselves. Mine usually goes along the line of “fuck, I’m gaining weight again.” or “fuck, I wish I don’t have these flabby arms, pudgy stomach and/or stretch marks here and there,” and it sometimes gets to a point that it’s upsetting because you hide in a shell — ashamed of your body. After some time,  I redirected that line of thinking into something more positive, accepting and enthusiastic. I have come to accept that these things are natural and just part of life; it is a proof that we are living, breathing, human beings. So now, whenever I see my stretch marks, or my stomach, or my gap or any other insecurities I have, I just say “Well, look at those tiger stripes. They look so awesome.”

It’s VITAL to take care of yourself. Yes, it’s your life and you’re allowed to do with it however your heart desires but at the end of the day, you have to remember that, cliché as it may sound, we only have one life and one body. We should treat it as a vessel that needs to be filled by all good things and that includes taking care of yourself 360 degrees — nutrition, rest, knowledge, growth, love, spirituality, etc. It is also not only internal but also external. If you fill your life with negative people or with people whose mission is just to take you down, then there’s a higher possibility that these negative things will manifest in your life making you unhappy and unfulfilled. Cut these negative things off your life; you don’t need them.

Moving away and being on my own was one of my best decisions. Going back to another sandpit state wasn’t really part of my plan after I graduated or at least not for a year after I got enough experience locally, but plans changed and it was pushed back much sooner. Thankfully, I haven’t regretted it. I wouldn’t say my life is glamorous now but I have learned and grew so much since moving away. I have come out of my bubble and I would say that I have a stronger character. I say to you, if you were given a chance to move away to somewhere new, and start a new life, TAKE IT. You will not regret new experiences and new challenges, I can assure you that.

Knowing yourself is the first step to being confident about yourself. Along with moving away, another of my best decisions in life is having tons of alone time where I get to know what fuels me, what ticks me off, what makes me get a good night’s rest, what makes me feel something. Knowing your own inner workings is very powerful because you are acting on your own terms. You’re not becoming an impostor to somebody’s image or being a sheep to a crowd’s standards. I spent a good chunk of my first few months in Dubai like that — just trying to get to know myself in a new city and I have to admit that it was uncomfortable for the first few times and can even drive you nuts being alone in your thoughts for a long time, but you will discover something else about yourself.

You don’t have to put up with people’s shit. My grandest bit of life nugget will be this, folks. I cannot remember where I first heard it but there’s this liberating quote I’ve heard in a film that says “Life is about dying”. The moment we go out of our mothers’ wombs, we’re all just heading for death. And I think that tells us two things — 1, we should just do whatever we want and 2, life is too short to meddle and put up with other people’s shit. We’ve already deduced the first one is just as difficult but the second one is equally so. Sometimes a little bit of sugar can be blinding from the actual rotten treatment we’re getting. This year, I have been more assertive against people who do not treat me well and have been more clear about my boundaries. I cannot tell you how much people in this world have a skewed understanding of it that sometimes it comes to a point that you have to ascertain some things to them and take your thunder back.

2019 is fast approaching and I have at least more than half a year left to learn more things as a 22 year-old gal. It’s been a thrilling experience, I’d say, as I am becoming more accepting of things that didn’t make sense to me before. I’m also thankful that I have a great support system backing me up in my endeavors and guiding me in the challenges that come in my way.