Treasure Hunt of Self-Worth

March 4th, 2018


Since the beginning of my life (given to me by the two most loving people—hi Mom & Dad!), I've had the challenge of being a woman. Being a woman is a privilege, but it’s also a challenge.

As women, we idolize the unrealistic labels of Hollywood, hoping they become reality. I don't just mean being rich and famous. We idolize the fashion, hair, makeup...all the trends we have to follow. We starve ourselves on the idea of being thin. We put synthetics on our eyes and head because as we are naturally is not enough. We buy revealing clothes because, hey, the more the merrier, right?


As a "big" girl, I've always struggled. All the trendy clothes that the "popular" girls wore didn't fit me. I indulged in make-up because I believed that would make me prettier. Not true. I was still bullied terribly for how I looked.

Let me take you back. It was my sophomore year at Comsewogue High School. For those who don't remember, we once had a self-damaging, vulnerable, terrible website (Formspring), and because everyone else was doing it, I signed myself up. Why? Because I so badly wanted to be part of the crowd.

What happened next almost broke me. I received three very long “anonymous” messages telling me I should kill myself and put everyone around me out of misery. They gave me three paragraphs of self-hate and suicidal thoughts, even worse than the already negative, noisy thoughts in my head.

I told the school. Their response? “It’s anonymous. We can’t get involved in online social media. It’s out of our jurisdiction." Oh. Okay. So even my own school, a place where i'm supposed to feel supported, completely shut me out. This made me believe that everything that was said, and my own terrible thoughts, were true. No one could help me, but me.

Throughout the dreadful years of high school, through graduation, and even today, I still feel like the ugly duckling. The ugly duckling that almost gets hit by a car because it's chubbier than the other ducks so it can’t catch up with them.

I gradually realized that none of this mattered. Make-up doesn’t matter because you can’t dress up a personality. If your attitude is ugly, then you are too. Makeup, hair, money, and fame are not what life is about.

Life is much more than an Instagram like. It’s finding love in the real world. It’s laughing at the space around you. It’s about more than your phone! Stop swiping left and right, and start mingling from your left to your right. Eat that midnight snack and don’t weigh yourself in the morning. Get that crazy tattoo everyone said not to (unless its a partners name...let’s not be silly). Live in the now: stop looking at what was posted three days ago to avoid having a real conversation and making eye contact. We only have ourselves and we need to support each other. Stop breaking people down and start building them up: at one point you were the broken one.

We all like to say we never feel sorry for ourselves, but that’s a lie. At some point you’ll feel sorry for yourself and that should be the pivot point. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and I started being apologetic to myself. I apologized to myself for being tough when it wasn’t necessary. I apologized for trying to fit in when I was meant to stand out. I apologized that it took me so long to find the treasure chest of self-worth on the crazy map of life. I apologized for wasting time on things that never truly mattered.

I hope that whoever doubted me, bullied me, thought they were better than me, or wrote those three terrible paragraphs to me, sees and knows that yes, you broke me. But I'm no longer broken. I’ve found my self-worth by eliminating the negative space and filling it with ~good vibes only~. Life is too short to let someone else control it. This is your life. Live it up!

Ashley Roell