A Look Inside

Adolescence was a time in my life that I will never forget. Not because it was the most amazing time in my life, but because it was a very difficult one.

Growing up in the Coquitlam suburb of Vancouver was tough. My school only had two South Asian girls, one of them being me. I also sported glasses, hair on my arms and a little bit of a moustache. I was different and kids were mean to me because of that, especially the girls. They would make fun of how I dressed, the food I ate, they wouldn’t let me play hopscotch with them and they talked behind my back.

Salma at age 11

When I changed schools for grade 8, I tried to change myself in hopes of being ‘normal’ so people wouldn’t mock me and maybe I would have some more friends. I got contact lenses, waxed my moustache and got new clothes. It worked for a while. Girl’s were nicer to me and I was making friends, with the popular girls! But I couldn’t forget the past. My inner fears and insecurities held me back from discovering the full potential of who I could be and what I could do.

I wanted to join the basketball team, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough. I wanted to try out for the school fashion show, but I thought I wasn’t pretty enough. I wanted to be involved in a school production but I thought others would laugh at me.

Home was my haven. When I would come home from school, hurt and sad from the kids being mean to me, my mother would wrap me up in her warmth and say things to make me feel better. No mother wants her daughter to feel the way I did.

I also lost myself in books. My appetite for reading was insatiable because it allowed me to get lost in another world, a place that was different than where I was. But it only pushed away the reality until I finished the book.

Today, even though my insecurities may pop up once in a while, I am a different person than I was as a young girl.  As a parent, I want to make sure my children never feel the way I did. I want them to grow feeling confident in themselves, their abilities and the people around them. I don’t want them to come home from school sad or crying because kids were mean to them. I don’t want them to pretend to be sick so that they can stay home from school. I want them to love books because reading can be an amazing new adventure with each new book, not because they want to escape a their life. I want them to feel like they can do anything and try anything they want, because that’s how life should be.

Sharing this part of my childhood is difficult but it’s important. Especially right now as we are coming close to the first GDay in Vancouver, A Day For Girls on April 28, 2014. G Day is a new global social movement anchored by day-long events that celebrate, inspire and empower girls ages 10 to 12 as they transition into adolescence. To find out more or to get involved visit: gdayforgirls.com and follow the hashtags #gdayforgirls and #gdaystories.


19 thoughts on “A Look Inside

  1. Hey sis, amazing how much I just learned by reading this post – thanks for sharing, I’m sure it wasn’t easy!

  2. Thanks for sharing. I think many women can relate, particularly those of us who are first generation Canadians. I also think, these are some of the experiences that make us a little stronger and a little more courageous.

  3. Great post — thanks for opening up so much. I can relate, as I’m sure many women can. I too am scared of my children losing their innocence because other kids are mean to them….it makes me so scared and I just hope I can instill confidence in them before it happens, so that they know how to deal with it.

    1. Thanks Farin. I’m with you when it comes to the kids, hopefully we can bring up our kids with lots of positivity and confidence and all the traits they need to have good childhood experience and the tools to deal with whatever comes their way.

  4. Thanks for sharing that story with us Salma. It totally reminded me of my childhood. I went through similar experiences and feelings and can really understand where your coming from when you say you don’t want your kids to go through that. You sharing your experience allows other people to be able to relate and recognize that they aren’t the only ones who went through that. Also it shows people that we don’t have to allow our past to define who we are today. Thanks!

  5. I so relate! Thank you for being vulnerable. I loved how you presented the different perspectives- child, loving mother, adult who is now a loving mother. Kudos!

  6. i can relate salma – junior high was horrible for me – and as someone who hung out with you in university i always saw you as one of the “cool girls” so there you go 😉

    1. I am beginning to realize that this was something many people dealt with so we are not alone! And thanks for thinking of me as one of the ‘cool girls’ lol. 🙂

  7. I can totally relate to this post Salma. I was the girl with a unibrow, big hair, braces and glasses. I went through the same thing. I was teased a lot and I still find myself feeling awkward when I am around women like that. I am still extremely self conscious and don’t take complements well at all. I am trying not to pass this along to Aiden. I want him to be proud of who he is and to not be afraid to be himself. I also delved deep into books. It was my shelter, my sanctuary. I still will do that when I find myself in a bad place.

    Thank you for your honesty. It’s hard and it hurts. I just hope that things will be different for our children. This all starts at home sadly and many kids don’t have positive role models in their parents.

    You are beautiful inside and out.



    1. Really?! I would never have guessed that Agi, you are so beautiful and always well put together. I guess we never know about people as children. You seem to be doing an amazing job with Aiden and I hope I can do the same with my kids. Thank you for your lovely words.

  8. Salma, I have known you first as a confident producer & tv co-host, then as a gracious Mom & blogger. Now I am even more inspired by your journey in life. Often in life we get the teachers we need rather than the ones we hoped for. You have a beautiful & rich life and a strong backbone to get you through the ups and downs of motherhood, marriage & all the rest of it. Here is a sign off our old boss Mr. Lovelace frequently used: onwards & upwards. Be well sunshine.

  9. Hi Salma,

    As a first-generation Canadian I can totally relate as so many people have voiced her. Adolescence is a challenging time for anyone. And it’s funny how so much stays with us from that time. I’m so glad G Day exists for girls now and I hope that by sharing our experiences with our children we can teach them to love themselves for who they are.

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