I started out cute with chubby cheeks and a glasses-free face. By the time I turned 8, I was a full on ugly duckling. I had two buck teeth, I was chubby and I had a rather interesting taste in eyeglasses. Big and pink seemed cool at the time.
This “ugliness” consumed me. I was so self conscious. I tried to blend in but my awkwardness made that difficult. I had critics. I was bullied in school. As I got to puberty, there were plenty of crushes on teenage boys. The crushes were not returned.
As the years went by, I became more awkward. Within my group of friends, I was myself. I valued my friendships because they accepted me for who I was. I didn’t really have much else outside of that. Dating didn’t seem like an option for me.
I struggled all throughout high school so much so that immediately after graduation, I left to start an engineering program prior to the beginning of college. By the time I went to college, I was slightly more comfortable. I still hadn’t discovered a flat iron or some basic makeup tips. I was wearing t-shirts and cargo pants while the other girls were in tank tops and shorts.
I started shedding my cocoon in college. I pierced my tongue. I cut my hair. I had blonde hair. I had purple hair. I bleached the front of my hair. I tried different things. I was desperate to find myself and the only way I knew how was through altering my appearance.
When college ended, I was in a slightly better position with self acceptance. I had a boyfriend that contributed to my having some confidence.
I was around 22 when my mother recommended I get braces again to finally fix my overbite. I had them in my teens but the problem persisted. I was upset with my mother for her recommendation. How could she not accept me for who I am? The newly found confidence was shattered.
Despite my reluctance, I followed my mother’s advice. I had braces again from ages 22–24. It was yet again a very awkward time in my life.
At age 24, I emerged a butterfly. I was grateful to my mother for her recommendation. The braces changed my face by altering my overbite. I actually had cheekbones.
It’s 14 years later and I have good and bad days with my appearance. I’ve found myself over the years and that has helped me realize what I was searching for was within me the entire time. I can honestly say I am beautiful now. I was beautiful all along. I’ve always been proud of my compassion and bigheartedness and that has never changed.
Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don’t see what goes on underground — as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don’t see the roots. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree. — Joyce Meyer
I should have focused on my roots all along. The secret to feeling beautiful is to feel comfortable with yourself.
To the girls and women that are struggling with feeling beautiful, it’s not the outside — it’s the inside. Focus on self awareness and finding yourself and your feeling will quickly change.