I’m Marika. I’m 24, and I’m a model who lives in Germany. I have a special skin condition called melanocytic nevus. My platform is based on how I’ve grown my confidence, the adventure I’m on in life, and the experiences I’ve had with my skin condition. Because of my skin condition, I have more melanin than I’m “supposed to have.” I put quotation marks around the phrase “supposed to” because I was not meant to be anyone or anything else, and that’s what the phrase “supposed to” implies.
I am who I am.
Despite this, sometimes people react negatively to me without even thinking. They’re maybe curious or scared. However, I will say that people’s reactions are much more positive than they were before. Perhaps, it was because I was very insecure about myself in the past, and people sensed that. I was entirely different back then. Even nowadays though, some people wrongly think that I’m very insecure, and that makes me a target.
On the other hand, just because I’m not insecure - some people call me brave. This can be somewhat of an awkward compliment. Most of the time, people are just trying to comment on the confidence they see. But, when you actually think about the sentence “you’re so brave” - it’s implying that I’m brave for being myself. It insinuates that there is something wrong with me, and therefore, I have to be brave just to be myself.
And I don’t think that’s right.
There’s an implicit meaning there. The idea of having to be brave in order to be worthy of living or acknowledgment triggers me probably more than it should. I was bullied throughout school, and that’s made me very hyperaware of the meaning behind people’s words. But I’ve also grown to realize that life has never been about other people and their opinions. I can’t change how someone views me. I can’t change how other people behave towards me. That’s all up to them, but I can change how I go about reacting to it and how I let it affect me. It took a lot of self-work to change how I process the opinions of
Before I went through this change, I tended to give more than I received because of how people treated me during my childhood. I had the feeling that I need to give more because I felt like I wasn’t enough. People made me feel like, inherently, I wasn’t. When you feel like you’re not enough, you feel like you have to give more and more. I’ve dealt with someone who was looking for this and found it in me. In fact, they profited from it. I was in situations like this a lot, and that was a hard pill to swallow.
So, I’ve not only had to work on setting boundaries but sticking to them. Getting hurt over and over again taught me to accept not having boundaries. Getting hurt became reality, and I had to undo that. With time, I’ve worked on getting back control.
Getting through school, getting my degree, and making my own way out gave me a lot of confidence. And after my son’s birth, my viewpoint shifted. I started to see things out of a mother’s eyes. When I thought to myself - “what if those things were to happen to my kid?”- I started setting boundaries. As I contemplated how I’d want him to feel and react to being mistreated, it was easier to think about boundaries for myself. Having my son helped me understand that there are far more important things than what people expect from you. Because at the end of the day, the most important thing is what you expect from yourself. Sometimes though, the most important thing is not having expectations of yourself and just going with the flow. It’s important to go as far as you can, but it’s also important not to normalize making yourself uncomfortable. You don’t have to be boundlessly giving or incessantly productive just to be worth something. That’s not the case.
For example, when I first started posting on Instagram, I was very ambitious. I would post every week. I was very driven, and I wanted my platform to have exposure, and I wanted it to be right. I posted all of the time because people expected it from me, but that did not feel authentic. Now, I just post whenever I have the impulse to do so. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, and I still haven’t figure out how to mitigate that. It’s just that I realize how far I’ve come, how I’ve changed, how I’ve grown. I’m finally starting to see my own worth, my capabilities, and most of all, I’m starting to respect that. I realize that I’m not able to be at my best 100% of the time, and sometimes that messes with my head. So, I try to just focus on being the best that I can be within that moment. That’s enough.
Now, I realize my worth. I’ve become a model, and a lot of the time, I work from the morning to the end of the day, but I do so because I’m passionate about it and because I’m walking in my path, not because someone expects from me.