crop top for the first time
photo: Revelist/Jessica Torres

One of the bravest things you can do is just to be yourself. 

But it's challenging, and you have to work at it because everything you see and hear and read makes you want to conform to someone else's idea of pretty or normal or cool. I make pushing personal boundaries a part of my routine; facing my insecurities helps me get closer to who I really am, without the baggage of fear or shame. 

Aylyn Pimentel, a 23-year-old college student, is doing the same thing. She's wearing a crop-top for the first time — on the internet. 

A forensic psychology major, Aylyn is terrified to show her midriff in public.

crop top for the first time
photo: Revelist/JessicaTorres

It's her biggest fear!

“Growing up, my sisters were skinny. I couldn’t wear what they wore,” she says.

crop top for the first time
photo: Revelist/JessicaTorres

Shopping and dressing up to go out and party is anything but fun for the college student.

crop top for the first time
photo: Revelist/JessicaTorres

"The stuff that I wish I could wear on myself I push onto my skinny friends."

Recently, while shopping for a birthday outfit, Aylyn was embarrassed to come out of the dressing room and show her friends. She didn't want strangers to see her in the outfit.

crop top for the first time
photo: Revelist/JessicaTorres

"I was waiting for the line to get shorter so that people wouldn’t have to see me."

She says she'd rather go to a bar in her scrubs than a cute outfit. “I’m honestly so afraid of people. I’m afraid someone is going to ask me, ‘What are you wearing?” she says.

crop top for the first time
photo: Revelist/Jessica Torres

Top, skirt, hat, Forever21; shoes, H&M 

So the fact that she's wearing a crop-top for people on the internet to see is a HUGE deal.

crop top for the first time
photo: Revelist/JessicaTorres

By the end of our experiment she was in tears, but they were tears of happiness.

crop top for the first time
photo: Revelist/JessicaTorres

"I feel different. I didn’t recognize myself. It wasn’t jeans and a long shirt. I never thought I could look this good."

“I’m trying to embrace myself," says Aylyn. “This is going to help me come out of my shell.”

crop top for the first time
photo: Revelist/Jessica Torres

“I want to try on bodysuits next, the tight ones, but not too tight.”

crop top for the first time
photo: Revelis/JessicaTorres

Baby steps! You don't have to do everything at once, but a little discomfort for the sake of a better, more confident you is always worth it. Once you've done it, you don't have to be afraid anymore, and that will change everything you do going forward.