My Blog

I’m not Invisible

April 14, 2014

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Growing up, I got picked on and bullied a lot. As a result, in boarding school, I’d hide in the bathroom during breaks because I didn’t want anyone to find a reason to tease or pick on me. And I was only in grade 4 then.

A few years later (grade 8), we’d grown a little but I was still not popular – I was still the geek in class that everyone would push around. The only difference however, was that I had made peace with not having friends. In fact, the more my classmates called me names, the more they teased me, the more they made fun of me, the less I cared. Gradually, it didn’t hurt as much as it used to anymore. My parents had assured me that I was born to do great things in the world. This information blew my mind away. It was meaningful to me because I had never seen myself that way before. I’d go to bed at night and replay my parents’ words in my mind. How could it be that they saw someone so incredible in me? I felt like an ugly duckling turned into a princess.
Could I really be someone important and beautiful in someone’s eyes? Even the possibility of being viewed as such rouse untold hope in me.
The idea of me not being a zero in life gave me faith that maybe I had something good to contribute into this world.

Although other people didn’t stop treating me like a loser, I stopped thinking of myself as one. I stopped responding to their name calling. I started throwing away those labels I’d previously used to describe myself. And, gradually, their insults and hate didn’t bother me…and my confidence grew…and since then, my dream has always been to help other people to discover who they really are. Because none of us are what people say we are. We are better. We are beautiful. We are valuable. We are important. We possess power untold.
We are not nothing, we are not insignificant, we are not losers, we matter. And most of the time, those people who call us names are most lost, envious and blind.

If you met me today, you would meet someone very confident, bold and comfortable in her own skin. You would meet someone who is not defined by what people say. And I thank my classmates who wanted to fit in at my expense, I thank those who laughed when they saw me coming, I thank those who pointed fingers and whispered. You see, even though they were looking at me; they didn’t see me. I thank my dormitory mates who would talk to me when we were alone but distance themselves from me in a crowd. I thank them for teaching me how to be resilient and immune to hate. I thank them for making me an outcast and a misfit, so I can be bold and never rest beneath my potential. I thank them for forcing me to look within for beauty (because they always said I was ugly). I thank them for teaching me to forgive, to take responsibility for my feelings and to always believe in myself.
Most importantly, I thank my parents and the random strangers who looked beyond my “dorkiness” and saw someone beautiful. I thank them for not just looking at me, but for seeing me…

So, remember, when you feel like just a number in a crowd, when you feel insignificant, unappreciated and invisible- someone sees you. And you matter…more than you know. And being an outcast isn’t the worst thing, no, far worse is believing the lies people tell about you. Rise above.
When people tell you you’re ugly and fat and you’ll never be great, just say, “Is that all you’ve got?” And lift up your head and excel.

Love always,
Nono Cele
Tweet me: @Nono_Cele
Email: nono@nonocele.co.za

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