It’s okay to be not okay
For a long time Hasanga was bullied for looking different until she became inspired by the campaign “Beauty comes in all shapes, colors, types and sizes.” Now she has stopped trying to change her appearance to please others, and started to create her own version of beauty.
Sri Lanka, Southern Asia
Story by Hasanga Gagalagamuwe. Edited by Melaina Dyck
Published on May 24, 2022. Reading time: 4 minutes
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Since my paternal side and maternal side both had curly hair, I had naturally curly hair from the time I was born. I didn’t like my hair at all. I was the only person who had such hair; not only in the nursery, but also in my primary, secondary, and tertiary schools. I always wanted straight or at least wavy hair like the others, which you can style as you want. Since I was different from the others, no one saw me as a pretty girl. Other kids made fun of me, tortured me, and made me feel less valued and least important. Since they all held such thoughts about me and there was not a single person who supported me or opposed the idea that I was ugly, I gradually started to believe that I was ugly.
I still remember the day when someone called me “UGLY” to my face for the first time. I held my tears until they passed and cried out aloud alone. I couldn’t understand their so-called beauty standards, which made me feel marginalized. Since then, many people have called me ugly to my face, as well as behind my back, and silently I agreed with them by holding my tongue. I never spoke up for myself and, trust me, that’s what made their tortures and insults stronger. But deep inside, what I wanted was to shout out loud and tell everyone that I also have a heart and I am not ugly as you think.
I stopped trying to change my appearance according to others’ preferences, and started creating my own version of beauty.
Thanks to globalization, I found a few people who inspire the victims of “BODY SHAMING” all over the world. They campaign under the theme “Beauty Comes in All Shapes, Colors, Types and Sizes.” And that became a hope for me. With their inspiration, I gradually started to feel more confident, secure, and beautiful than I ever felt before. I stopped trying to change my appearance according to others’ preferences, and started creating my own version of beauty. After some time, by gathering all of myself, I got stronger and started to love and face my uniqueness, and my own creation of the happiest, relaxed, prettiest girl ever. Since then, I have been the prettiest girl I know and people around me also started to see me as a “Pretty Girl.”
After years and years of trauma caused by body shaming, finally I found myself being an inspirer against body shaming. Many of my peer associates, batch mates, and friends are currently taking beauty tips and advice from me about being pretty and confident about themselves.
Try to create your best version of your inside and fill your heart with kindness.
Let me tell you, if you have ever felt insecure about yourself, keep remembering that it’s not the outside that matters, it’s the inside. So, try to create your best version of your inside and fill your heart with kindness. And always remember, the world needs DIVERSITY. Everyone in this world is pretty in their own unique way. There is no such a thing as “PERFECT-PHOTOSHOPPED-BEAUTY.” We all have our own insecurities; even celebrities have insecurities. Therefore, there is no need to be ashamed. Accept your true self. Once you start to accept yourself as you are, the world behind you will also start to do the same. So, don’t change yourself for others. Change yourself for YOU and feel proud about your own unique beauty.
Because, as a wise person once told me, “It’s okay to be not okay.”
 Content creator Dharr Mann is the main inspiration of my life.
 Dharr uses this quote as a theme for some of his videos.
 Batchmates are undergraduates who read for several degree programs under the same batch in the university.
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