When I was a kid, I hated the way I looked. I always thought I was fat. I detested my freckles.
When I was twelve, I was mortified that I was as flat-chested as any boy. When I was 14, I would sometimes try to avoid as many meals as possible without getting caught, and was mad at myself for not having willpower to starve. When I was 15, I moved to Utah and hid myself behind a book or a smirk to avoid being compared and contrasted with the sea of cute Utah blondes. Set myself up as the witty/ sarcastic Jeanine Garofolo-esque character. I’d always LOVED fashion, but thought I’d look ridiculous wearing anything more ostentatious that jeans and a hoodie.
I was never beautiful, but when I look back at photos, I wasn’t ugly. Or fat. My freckles were sort of awesome. And yet, I was lucky to have not realized it and reached beyond appearance.
It wasn’t until I hit college when I realized something. I’m smart. And I have talents. And looks mattered a little less, and were less significant to my confidence and feeling of worth. I started to realize I am interesting. Then I hit the workforce. And, I kind of kick ass. When I like something, I can be pretty damn good at it. I had a realization. We women are our own worst enemy.
Once I stopped the mindset that my looks were directly related to my worth as a human being or my privilege to matter to society, the damndest thing happened. I kind of like how I look. Though my nose is kind of too round and my forehead is kind of too high and my skin is sort of too pink. I still pick myself apart daily. But I have learned to like the big picture and never thought I would.
Now that I’m an adult with real worries and responsibility and successes and failures I have learned to appreciate my own face- I can form it into the perfect expression for the situation, wrinkle my nose when I smile even, stare back at myself in the mirror and give myself pep-talks before I do something I am completely nervous for. It’s so familiar… yet sometimes I’ll notice things that aren’t at all. Sometimes I’ll surprise myself and think- have I always looked like that? Sometimes others will surprise me and compliment me on my looks. That never happened when I disliked my own appearance.
I wanted to post this because I have lots of gals in my life who are beautiful in so many ways. Some of them so self-critical they refuse to recognize their awesome traits. Some so critical of others because they suffer from their own insecurities. Some holding themselves back until they get to a certain dress size. All of whom I could list dozens of fabulous things about in seconds. If you know me, dare me. I’ve been there, and sometimes I’m still there.
And I wanted to post this because I need encouragement sometimes, too, to stop focusing/stressing about the superficial. To find things to like about myself as often as I do in others, and to remind myself of those things as often as I remind (or try to remind) others. I’m coming out of a bit of a rough patch, emotionally, and it seems there is something in the water because I know others close to me have been, too.
So I wanted to be cheesy (but completely sincere!) and say we are each fabulous, interesting, talented people! Write a list of all the things you love about yourself, are proud of, are good at. Title it “Reasons I’m a Bad Ass.”