When I was younger, I did not compare myself to others. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that my mom began saying things like “All the other girls in your school are really skinny, aren’t they?” I said I wasn’t sure, but after that, I started to notice. I began to criticize myself as I stared into the mirror. I would poke at my skin and try to correct what I thought was wrong by covering up or standing at a certain angle, which always just made me feel worse. I looked to everyone to see how I measured up.
In high school, my uniform was a white short sleeve polo, a kilt, and a matching sweater or fleece. Overall, the look made most girls look like shapeless squares, but I noticed that I stuck out more in mine. I remember all of a sudden there being a fuss over the length of our skirts. I would struggle to pull my skirt down in the back and realized that it wasn’t that the skirt was riding up too high, but rather my butt was so big it felt like it was swallowing the length of the skirt. I became almost afraid of my body. Everything about me was wrong and misshapen. My butt and boobs were too big, my skin was too dark, my hair was too frizzy and my curls too tight, I could never measure up to any of my classmates
It felt like I was trained to be afraid of my own body. I suppose my parents were scared of me going out and becoming one of those “fast” girls because I was curvy. Instead of creating an environment where I understood my body, I grew up trying to cover up myself and being modest because it felt like it was my only option. It was either cover up or be seen as promiscuous. This resulted in being afraid to experiment with my clothing; I could only wear certain things because told me anything else would be “inappropriate.” I was uncomfortable in my skin.
Finally, one day I looked in the mirror and I decided that I looked good. Coincidentally, I looked good a few days in a row. I began to tell myself how pretty I was every day, even when I didn’t feel it. I used to wish that one day I would wake up and everything about me would be different. I just wanted to miraculously be better. Then I realized I’m fine being who I am because I look in the mirror and I know I am a good person. And that is what makes someone beautiful.