Hi, my name is Norah Makomborero Ndemera. I am a 17-year-old dancer and upcoming YouTuber. I am a proud Christian black woman. As for my aspirations, I am working towards building my career within the health care sector, with the idea of undertaking the work of a biomedical doctor or studying medicine.

I believe that in this day and age, it is so easy to lose yourself in all the standards and expectations society upholds. As a young lady, I really struggled with my self-image and consistently applied so much pressure onto myself. I remember a time when I genuinely lost all hope in myself, I didn’t feel as though I deserved to be happy. The love I gave to others, the care I felt for others, was something I couldn’t give to myself. It started when I focused on how I could look “prettier” and how much I wanted to escape myself. I began to build up this discomfort in my own body when I acknowledged that I gained weight. 

The media played a significant role in manipulating the mindset I had about myself. I envied those with slim figures, they were ‘perfect’ in my eyes. I polluted my mind with methods that I had hoped would give me the results of a ‘skinny beautiful’ physique that was the ‘beauty standard’. Every day, I would look into the mirror, look at my body and cry. The pain that I had brought inside myself, harboured inside of me every second and it was inescapable, to the point of me taking myself away from the things that gave me happiness.

I am thankful that God has given me many talents one of them being dance. I love to dance, it is something that has moulded me and allowed me to express myself. The pain and self-consciousness that I had developed, took away my passion for dance. I constantly worried about my dance peers attentively scanning my body whilst I danced. The paranoia pushed me to restrict myself even more on those days, I felt as though food was in control of me and my ‘desired body’. I was at my lowest, I wanted to give up so much because I was tired of waking up and hating myself, even more, I just felt so empty. 

I recall the day when I made myself a promise. As much as I wanted to have something I thought I needed, I had to understand that it was so unrealistic. I took into account the pressure and self-hatred I felt, only to realise that I fed those words to myself. I was the one who was criticising myself. I was the only one picking myself apart.

Being outspoken is to be real with yourself, to acknowledge that we are our biggest critics and that we need to speak over the hurtful words that we pile onto ourselves.

I chose to be outspoken because this event of my life needs to be let out so that there is room for me to grow emotionally and learn to accept that I am a beautiful creation. 

God created us yet we allow ourselves and societies standards to undermine us. But God never makes mistakes. I think one thing to take from this is that you are beautiful, a work of art with so much purpose.