My birth came as a shock to my parents. They couldn't believe their eyes when they saw me for the first time after I was born. Unlike my elder brother, who had a cherubic face at the time of his birth, I was born disfigured. My parents were heartbroken as they always wished for a healthy child.
All I ever wanted in this life was to look normal, to feel indifferent or ordinary, just like everyone else around me. That's what my 13-year-old self wished for itself.
Humans have bilateral body symmetry, which means that it can be divided into matching halves by drawing a line down the centre; the left and the right side are mirror images of each other.
But, my face lacks symmetry as I was born with a rare congenital disorder called lymphatic malformation, which disfigured the left side of my face.
Life, in general, is very challenging for me because of the way I look. There is always some form of conjecture around my physical and mental well-being.
The journey to self-acceptance was not an easy one, and it was full of ups and downs. My parents have been my biggest support throughout this journey.
The best gift my mom gave me was a normal childhood. Despite being different, she never brought any biased judgements of the outside world into our house.
I was raised like any other kid. She put me into school when I turned 3, although a lot of people around her were not supportive of her decision as they thought I was not ready for a normal school.
Raising a child like me definitely had its own challenges, but she was rock solid throughout. Home is my comfort zone, and she made sure of it every single day.
Growing up, you never realise the small ways in which your parents support you. But now, looking back makes me realise that I wouldn't have been this strong, independent and confident person if she didn't provide me with that normal childhood.
I'm constantly treated with sympathy, ignorance, mockery, hatred, empathy and even, to some extent, guilt.
At times people make me really uncomfortable with their silly assumptions like maybe I'm dumb, or I can't eat properly, or I'm mentally retarded etc.
I always aspired to be a fashion model but was very aware that I won't fit in. I had to re-mould my dreams to suit a profession where my physical appearance didn't matter. It took me a long time to accept and embrace myself completely.
Today, I don't wish for normalcy. I'm extremely comfortable in my own skin and not afraid to put myself out there.
While professionally, I work as an investment banker, I still aspire to be a model. I don't let someone's lack of ignorance define who I'm as a person or my potential.
I follow my passion for modelling through my blog and also carry on with my banking job. All that I've learnt along the way is that no one could stop you from leading life the way that you want and self-acceptance is one of the first steps towards it.
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