We live in novels that have been created just for us. Worlds woven by words that we circle as though we are the Earth and they, the sun. Stories we tell ourselves become who we are, and suddenly, we’re orbiting time and space like we’re following a script. I see it happening to everyone around me. Manifested by our own perceptions, and fueled by our experiences and the opinions of others, an idea is nurtured until it demands to be fed. All thoughts have the potential to grow toxic, but insecurities are born hungry. When I was fourteen, my mother told me that my face was looking fuller, that I had put on some weight and was at last, ‘filling out’. To some, this would’ve been welcomed news – the thought of finally morphing into a soft, curvy woman like the ones we looked up to – but to me, this was the worst thing I could’ve heard at the time. Cue frantic googling of face exercises and hours of analysing the roundness of my cheeks, trying to determine if my fish lips and eyebrow lifts were doing anything to shed the barely-there puppy fat I had become hellbent on destroying. This was the first physical insecurity of many, and the beginning of my understanding that something small and seemingly insignificant can grow to become the whole world. It’s easy to get stuck in a loop; to feel and breathe and live the the repetitive motion simply because it’s familiar. It becomes your story. One you can read backwards or with your eyes closed. It’s the story you tell others, but more importantly, it’s the one you tell yourself. It shapes, motivates and guides you, but does not define you. Living within the novel that has been written for you doesn’t mean that you become someone else when you turn the page. You are more than the the words you tell yourself. If you’re unhappy about something that is within your control, don’t let past experiences be the reason why you cannot change. Don’t let people’s expectations of you hold you back from becoming the person you want to be. Stop living life according to a script that, when you’re taking your final breaths, means nothing. Write the story that you want to read because that would be one hell of a book.