by Alia Al Shamsi
  • 1 minute read
  • January 29, 2020
Do You Struggle With Self-Confidence? Read On

Dear friends,

Not so long ago, I had decided to do a social media detox. I was taking photographs of myself without a filter and I wasn’t too fond of them. I didn’t like how I looked in those photos. I hated my smile, so I stopped smiling.  I hid behind baggy tops and dark sunglasses. That’s what happened.

Gaining self-love and self-acceptance were a journey. Soon after the incident, I realized I need to change. I actively forced myself to spend more time not dodging the mirror and complimenting the way I look. I also learnt to thank people when complimented instead of shying away and refuting the compliments. I’m the exact same person but what changed was my personal perspective. Now, I look back at the photos I once hated in confusion.  No diets or gym, my gaze is what changed. I learnt to love me.

For the first time, I share with you the below poem, which is deeply motivated by my experiences. I hope it’ll connect with you as much as it helped me connect with my inner self.


Hidden portraits

Turned into frames

Softer eyes

Nothing has changed

I realized I was always beautiful,

That sometimes words hurt enough

To find on one’s body edges so rough

So much pain of thoughts of being plain

Nothing has changed

Only softer eyes that

Turned hidden portraits into frames

With love,


Alia AlShamsi is an Emirati-Italian former photojournalist and university adjunct faculty. She  published her first book Alayah with a publishing grant from Dubai Culture and Art Authority, and a second book Night/Day, which is one of the first three Silent Books published in the country, an initiative launched by UAE Board on Books for Young People. She has since moved into poetry and continues to write in both English and Arabic. Follow Alia @AliaAlShamsi.

Illustration by Alia Al Shamsi 

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