I was always being judged by it.
I was mocked and belittled, harassed and made to feel as though my worth on this planet was close to nothing but a mote of dust. This constant anger that was always being thrown my way, from enraged customers at grocery stores to, of course, being "randomly selected" at airports, and to even having the police called on me—it made me want to never leave my house. It made me angry at a world that I felt was angrier at me for something that I had no control over. So I spent a lot of time at home, in fear of being judged for what I wore, for what I believed in, just one factor in the growing social anxiety that had overwhelmed me over the years.
And it was then I opened a book.
My life, this time, changed for the better. I could escape into worlds unheard of, become queens and warriors, fill my dull world with a little bit of magic. Each book was a new life for me, one that made me long to fit back in the real world. To embrace all the positives instead of surrounding myself with the negatives.
I took my strides line by line, page by page, chapter by chapter until I was supported with this confidence that grew within me from reading about so many brave characters. I knew then, I wanted to be brave for myself. And I owe it all to books.
I will still be judged by my own book cover, but there is a whole world within me because of it.