I happen to be the shortest among my friends.
I also happen to be the one with a big forehead, wide hips, pointy ears, as well as being vertically challenged - which is political-speak for being short - and, of course, I am the one who is also horizontally privileged, still colloquially, meaning being short.
Have you noticed how we never pick up what are so-called imperfections, until someone points them out - meaning that we had initially not considered them to have been imperfections.
"So what?" This is what happened after someone pointed out my imperfections. I decided to go "body shopping".
There were beautiful bodies all around me, but it was like taking a size 34 and squeezing into a size 28. It did not look, feel and fit right. It just was not me.
I must admit I did not get a new body. I realised that my body was the perfect fit for me.
I did not need to look like anyone else, but me. That I did not have to live up to the standards of this world and how it defined beauty. This was me!
This led to many questions flooding my mind. What defines me? What sets me apart from the rest? Could it be the size of my breasts or maybe the pointiest parts of my ears?
Or is it the way I conduct or carry myself, maybe the way I interact and relate with others?
Before I could answer these questions, I needed to ask myself who I was. I am Rorisang Thandeka Thandekiso, a young, beautiful, black woman, who is definitely making her mark. I'm confident, outspoken and determined to make it.
I am an over-comer, over-achiever, and wherever I go I overwhelm those around me. This is me. And because I know who I am, I have the right to say: "So what"!
Knowing who you are means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, knowing what excites you, challenges you, intrigues you, and what moves you from within. It means knowing your ground and standing for it.
So when someone comes to you and says: "My, but the Christmas cookies were good," you know to say "so what"? because you know there is more to life. In fact, that there is more to you than your appearance.
So, what if I'm short, fat and have acne?
So, what if I have a big head or fat lips?
So, what if I have small breasts or Bugs Bunny teeth? So what?
When you know yourself, you begin to love yourself. From the top of your head right down to your thick thighs and legs, passing through all the stretch marks, to the tips of your toes.
Love being you - live! The beauty of life is, after all, knowing who you are in it. So next time someone passes an "imperfection" comment your way, laugh.
It would be rude not to laugh at someone's joke. And with a smile ... say it loud, clear and proudly - so what?
l Rorisang Thandekiso is the 2008 champion of the Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards, which is supported by the Department of Education.
Rorisang is a Grade 12 pupil at Riverside High School in Vereeniging, Gauteng.
She is currently in the United States representing South Africa in the 2008 Global Young Leaders Conference, taking place in Washington DC and New York.