Personally, I don’t think I have nearly as close to an inspiring story compared to others, however I’m going to share anyways.
When I was growing up, I was a bit on the chubbier side. This was during the Tumblr era where the beauty standard was being stick thin, where all my friends were obsessed with getting thigh gaps, all complaining about their weight even though they were already skinny. All this coupled with the fact that I have a Chinese mother who would constantly comment on my weight and subtly control my eating habits. My insecurities got really bad to the point where I would want to go home immediately if I go out in public. I quit school curriculum and tried fast diets that never worked.
After I left high school, I started Foundation in Arts in Taylor’s. This was where I started to discover myself, wear clothes that ACTUALLY fit and found a community of friends. What kept me going during those times was when I took part in musicals, plays, and short film projects.
During this time, I was also roped into an MLM group. They made me feel welcome, and being as naïve as I was, I was also inspired by the success stories. “Don’t be stuck in the rat race” and “Would you rather work a 9-5 or according to your own time?” were the few toxic positivity affirmations that they ingrained. They wanted us to write a board of big and unrealistic goals and emotionally manipulated us into getting more people to join. So, in short, I was quite emotionally scarred, and it took a while to get over the mentality of thinking I’m a failure. This also tied into when I studied in Monash. The struggle with ADHD (I didn’t know I had it at that time) also coupled with the fact that I was dealing with thinking I failed in life just because I didn’t make 500k dollars to support my family. It was a lot of self-blame. Eventually I realised that the MLM was a scam and that I’m glad I did not get any of my friends involved. No one is going to make a million dollars at 21 unless they’re trust fund babies or cryptobros.
I’ve learnt so much about how the world works as much as I’ve also learnt to accept a great number of things as I got older. For example, working out to impress someone or look a certain way is not nearly as affective as working out because you love your body, and that body trends change. After failing Monash, I was diagnosed with ADHD after doubting that I had it for so long. This was after I met similar friends, finding out that I’m not alone in my struggles, and that I’m not just lazy. Now I’ve graduated, have a job, a healthy relationship with my body, and I’m back in theatre too. Maybe I’m not where my 18-year-old self imagined me to be, but I think that’s okay.