You could ask your mama and you’d swear she’s lying to you. Ask your papa and he’ll lock his eyes on yours and whisper “Darling, you are the most beautiful girl I have ever laid my eyes on.” And even though you know what they’re going to say in advance, you ask anyway. You ask because hearing someone speak those words might really make you believe it. But you know deep inside that you will never, ever, believe it. Sometimes you’ll ask your friends or your brother or sister, but you could never ask society.
You won’t have to ask society, though, because society will always be one step ahead of you. Society won’t look you in the eyes, but rather from your hair down to your toes, and it will never like what it sees. It will tell you your hair should definitely be brown; change the blonde to a light brown, maybe black, or try red. You know what? Just keep the hair blonde, there’s no use. Your stomach isn’t flat and you should definitely work on those squats. Society won’t even comment on those thighs because–you know. Society will look at your face and shrug its shoulders and say “Eh, could be worse.” And you cry because things could definitely not be worse.
You wonder, how could it be worse when you can’t even look in the mirror without crying? When you get dressed 12 times a day because nothing looks good? When you’re too self-conscious to show your true personality? And, tell me, how could it be worse when you are afraid to make eye contact because you don’t want anyone to really look at you?
You know-it’s hard growing up in a society where being yourself is never good enough. We place importance on being skinny and beautiful. Hell, we have just about every little girl in the world playing with Barbies. No wonder every teenage girl grows up to despise herself. Society wants to change you, to manipulate you and improve you. But all society really does is cause self-harm, self-hatred and self-consciousness. You know what? F*ck society.
You were set up to compare and contrast yourself to the person next to you. You were tricked into thinking you aren’t beautiful all on your own by the mirrors and the critics. And you were manipulated into thinking you aren’t good enough. We all were.
You are good enough, though, and it’s about damn time somebody told you that. I mean, really told you that. You are beautiful, every last blessed part of you. The scars above your eye, on your wrists and knees; beautiful. The freckles below your eyes that you wished would disappear; beautiful. The imperfect build that your mother gave you; so, so beautiful. Never change.
You roll your eyes thinking I’ve heard this all before. I bet you have. Believe it. We are all put on this earth as unique and beautiful individuals and nothing less. You were born to have imperfections, as was I and even the runway models. We all have something we would love to change about ourselves. Would we be unique if we all looked the same? Our imperfections give us character, they make us interesting. They make us who we are.
You, pretty girl, are more than just skin and bones. You are more than a face in the crowd and more than numbers on a scale. You cannot be defined by the gap between your teeth, the clothes you wear, or anything in between. You are strong and capable. You are talented and intelligent and loved. You are the contagious laugh, the smile that lights up a room and the reason somebody else smiles every day. You are the door you hold and the hand you help up when it’s been knocked to the ground. And you are nothing less than beautiful.
So forget about thin privilege. Forget about society’s view on the perfect girl and the need you feel to fulfill those expectations. Accept your flaws and define your imperfections as oh-so-stunningly perfect. Remember to look into the mirror and smile and tell yourself that you are lovely just the way you are. And never, please never, forget to love yourself. And do it first, before anyone else. You are important and you matter, too. Be strong, be bold, be you. It’s a beautiful look for you.
Author: Catherine Conner
Author Bio: Just a girl keeping myself afloat by writing, writing, writing. Check out my poetry book Turning Tides: