Yellow used to be a color I never wore. It represented the desire to stand out—a desire that I never had. When I look back on photos of my middle school years, all the memories I have buried deep within myself come rushing back in bittersweet waves. Since the Dark Ages that were my seventh and eighth-grade years, I have become a more confident and happy version of my past self.
I think I just have a negatively distorted image of what those years were like because I remember an extremely awkward and antisocial middle schooler with little to no friends and a lack of confidence. In hindsight, I should have asked for more emotional support because I just really needed someone to talk to. I had so little confidence that I never wanted to show any part of my body. My arms were consistently hidden behind a zipped grey jacket so that my wrists would never see the light of day. No one else made me feel insecure about my skinny and rectangular body—it was just me.
I hated my thigh gap, which was why it was always masked with blue skinny jeans that were ever-so-slightly loose enough to give the illusion that I didn’t have one to begin with. A single glance that remotely resembled discontent would send me into spirals of self-doubt. Essentially, middle school was a repeating cycle of endless self-loathing.
That is not to say that I hated the experience of middle school itself. If anything, those years provided me with seminal lessons that taught me that I only have one body and there is no benefit to moping around. I also had supportive friends and an older brother throughout the first years of high school that helped cushion my ups and downs and grew alongside me without judgment.
I now keep those memories of sadness and pain in the back of my head in order to inspire me to always progress as an individual—to never let myself return to the unhappy and unconfident person I was before. I didn’t wake up one day and finally feel happier. I just hated always having heavy rainfall clouding my thoughts and I eventually started caring less about those insecurities over the course of several years. Even now, I still find myself struggling on several occasions to abide by my expectations because of my hasty shift to a more bubbly and outgoing disposition in sophomore year. It wasn’t necessarily that I put on a new and false persona to escape the dreadful memories of middle school. The bubbliness and energy always resided within me. It just took some time to draw it out from the shadows.
As a junior, I think I am at a point in my life where I can say that I am relatively comfortable with myself. I may still wear loose clothing or put on shoes that make me look taller, but it is no longer because I want to hide my body. I do it because it makes me feel more confident. My skinniness is not a major insecurity that prevents me from enjoying life and keeps me up at night anymore. If seventh grade Tiffany saw who she would become in just a few years, she would be shocked to see that yellow is a color that looks amazing on her.