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I remember thinking to myself, "If they can love themselves, I can too."

I don't remember when it happened, but I remember the shift in myself; everything got a little happier, a little brighter, a little better.

As long as I can remember, I was self conscious of my body. I was always comparing myself to other girls around me.

I was a big girl. Not fat, but thick and tall. I was always the tallest girl and one of the largest in my classes. All throughout elementary, middle, and high school I felt out of place, self conscious, and generally uncomfortable in most situations like birthday parties, school assemblies, presentations, plays, etc.

I struggled to genuinely fit in while fighting off my own negative thoughts about myself through the majority of University and College. I was 23 when I graduated post secondary, and was still uncomfortable in my own skin as a person.

I felt physically and emotionally out of place.

I know every woman feels this way, but sadly some of us don't get the chance to get out of that mind set.

Personally, I don't remember when it happened, but I remember the shift in myself; everything got a little happier, a little brighter, a little better.

I remember the first time I looked in the mirror and smiled.

I remember waking up and catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thinking to myself “Wow, I’m beautiful.” I remember having to remind myself that I was allowed and had every right to think that, because I AM BEAUTIFUL.

I remember the first time I felt confident walking into a room.

I don't remember what room I walked into, who was in it, or why I was even there, but I will forever remember being so confident in my own skin that it didn't matter who was in the room, or why, all I knew was that I was in that room. I don’t remember what I was wearing, but I remember whatever it was I felt bomb in it. It didn’t matter who talked to me, what looks I got, I looked AWESOME, and I knew it.

I remember being embarrassed to embrace my femininity because I felt like it made me look weak.

I am a female security guard in a small city. I think I am the only female bouncer/security in my city, and with that comes a pressure to fit in with the boys, which I am good at, I’ve always been a tomboy and got along with men better than I do with women, but for so long I felt that me being slightly feminine made me weak in this field.

I was wrong.

It isn’t masculinity that allows an individual to succeed in this field, or ANY FIELD—it’s confidence.

I remember the first day I went into the bar I work at with painted nails, a male co-worker asked me if I had a date. I quickly corrected him by reminding him that I wouldn’t paint my nails for a date because the guy wouldn’t even appreciate it.

Once I embraced my own feminine body, by appreciating the curves I have, and valuing my own beauty, loving my hair, styling it the way I want without any reason at all, and having beautifully coloured nails all the time, for the first time in my life, I was myself. I was myself more than I ever had been before; this gave me confidence.

Confidence. It’s hard to come by, it’s hard to hold onto; but once you get a hit of it, it’s addicting.

I remember looking at so many people around me, my mom, aunts, uncles, sister, friends, teachers, co-workers and thinking to myself, if they can love themselves, then I can love myself too.

Even though I am constantly battling self-doubt and negativity, I am able to grasp onto these moments and regain my confidence from them.

I remind myself everyday that my taller, slightly larger and thicker body is just as worthy of love as everyone else's individual and unique bodies.

Self-confidence is not consistent. It is not a fixed thing. One day you can be the most confident person in a room, the next you might not want to leave you bedroom—and that is OKAY.

But you are able to grow as a person knowing that you are strong and capable. Know that you are beautiful and deserve to love yourself.

Everything will get a little happier, a little brighter, a little better.