Did you know, before the 17th century, almost all cultivated carrots were purple?
The present-day orange carrot was (supposedly) developed by Dutch farmers in the late 16th century who took strains of the original purple carrot and created them into the bright, sweet, tasty orange carrots that we eat today.
As far back as I remember, I have always felt different from everyone else—a feeling of unease around crowds, never feeling like I fit in, and always feeling like the odd one out.
I was always the quiet one, the shy one, the unheard one; I never knew how to express myself.
Fear was holding me back. Yet, fear from what?
I remember back to my school days when the teacher would ask a question in class and, more often than not, I knew the answer. Nevertheless, I would never raise my hand in fear of saying something wrong—the fear of everyone looking at me and judging me, the fear of rejection, the fear of failure.
I hung around with a group of girls who aptly named themselves “Le Clique.” Although I never felt like I was part of Le Clique; the other girls always had pristine hair, shiny shoes, tidy school bags, and the neatest handwriting. You know the type of girls who used to put a heart over every letter “i” in their writing?
I tried to fit in but never felt like I could be me—the true me, the sensitive little me.
At girly sleepovers, they would talk about dresses and shoes while I would spend my time smiling, feeling like I was looking in from the outside; wondering why was I not like everyone else, why can’t I be bubbly like the others, have fun, smile, tell jokes.
I was always withdrawn, hurting quietly inside.
I have a traumatic memory of being with Le Clique, going around to a girl’s house one day to revise for our exams. I knocked on the front door; there was no answer. Peering through the window, I saw Le Clique hiding behind the sofa and heard their faint giggles and laughter in the background as they pretended not to be home.
I was devastated. I instantly burst into tears as my heart broke into a million pieces. I was only trying to fit in!
I was in a state of despair, which has scarred my inner child up until today as I still have my insecurities of being left out by my friends.
It was not until I left for college in London at the age of 16 where things started to get better—a clean slate, a fresh start. It was there that I found dance.
This was the first time I could relate to others, as we all had something finally in common: the love of body movement.
Dance took me away to a place where I could get lost, a place where I didn’t have to speak, a place where I could be silent and just move. I was still the quiet one and struggled to express myself, but in my own little world, when I moved my body, I had the loudest voice of all! I had found my place of solace.
I loved my London days; this is where I really started to grow my inner strength.
The first couple of weeks in London were hard, leaving my family and friends at such a young age. I missed my family so much. Now I know that past traumas make us stronger; even though they hurt us, they make us the person we are today.
After college, I moved to Germany to pursue my career as a professional dancer. I ended up getting a job in a theatre travelling Germany as our show moved on from auditorium to auditorium. This is where my passion for travelling stems from—my feeling of never knowing where to settle, not knowing where to call home.
After living in Germany for a few years, my father passed away suddenly, to my dismay, so I had to return to England to be with my mother. It was a distressing time of grief and sadness for my mother, sister, and me (and my entire family). My tiny family had just got smaller, and the more vulnerable and alone I felt.
After my beautiful father passed, I never really travelled again and ended up staying in the United Kingdom, in Blackpool, in a place I never felt I belonged.
Today, I’m still the quiet one, putting on a brave face, still not feeling truly accepted for who I am.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
However, I stand proud—proud of who I am, proud to be the purple carrot, staying true to myself, following my heart, and believing in me.
I may be quiet, I may not be the centre of attention, I may not be the coolest, and I may not have all the best jokes, but I’m me.
I now believe in myself; I don’t judge myself; I try to love myself unconditionally, and I will continue to smile, hold my head up high. I’m unique; I’m weird; I’m silly; I’m fantastic; I’m me!
We are all unique. We are all different. We are all beautiful.
Be the purple carrot!