Empowerment Through Self Expression
Whenever I get emails or comments on social media about this “perfect” life that I lead, I always, without fail, confidently respond that “Life is what you make of it. Pursue it head on.”
But there was this sort of guilt that lingered around afterwards, simply because up until very recently I wasn’t living this life I had imagined and envisioned for myself.
I still harbor a closet full of skeletons from my past. Throughout my sheltered childhood years living with domineering and disciplinary, tough-loving Chinese parents, I dealt with constant bullying — from elementary and well into high school — for the way I dressed, looked and acted. This invariably broke me down but also held me back from achieving my full potential. There were many days when I struggled through classes lifelessly. My only wish was to be saved by the bell, literally.
Despite all this turmoil, I knew deep down I wasn’t alone in my suffering. I eventually sought refuge in teachers’ classrooms that kept an open-door policy and developed friendships with kindred souls going through familiar troubles. Instead of courting negativity, I looked to empowerment through building community. I was then able to build an armor-like skin and found my inner light through commiseration and perseverance.
These days I never (read: try my best not to) succumb to the petty words of naysayers. Yes, words do matter and they do hurt. It is all around us. Cyberbullying is often unseen and takes place beyond physical boundaries. But what matters more is how you react to them. By taking negativity to heart, we only give it more power. It takes time to get there and rise above the digital noise pollution. The moment I did, I never looked back and just let me freak flags fly. Try it sometime.
While I didn’t allow these past incidents to define me, I wanted to channel all those frustrations and lessons into a positive, energetic place. My personal style has been the ultimate catalyst in finding my personal truth. It’s incredible how much power and confidence one can draw from an outfit that fits like a second skin. Power to expression in any form or way, forever and always.
This post is produced in collaboration with Express for their #ExpressLife campaign. I aspire to inspire, live to empower. Hope you find my story enjoyable and perhaps even inspiring to your own journey.