Growing up we watched our mothers standing in front of the mirror primping. We flipped through magazines and saw these seemingly perfect bodies. We attended school and watched as the lunchroom segregated into groups of the “populars” and voted for the most beautiful girl for prom queen. We spend our entire lives trying to live up to this impossible standard. We allow our human nature to include comparing ourselves to others for our own self-worth.
You always hear that we are our very own worst critic. It’s true most certainly, but there are plenty of people who have spent countless days being harassed and teased, tormented and bullied, just over their appearance. It’s difficult to appreciate yourself when you don’t fit the mold but even more difficult when you’re repeatedly reminded of it. Finding a way to ignore other people is challenging. I can sit here and type out all the reasons people lash out at others, but it always boils down to a lack of their own self-worth. So keep that in mind and do your very best to just ignore them.
Now, look in the mirror. There is something about you, I promise, that is beautiful. Something that is unique and glorious. If you truly don’t see it, stand closer. Look into your own eyes. What kind of person are you? What is your life guided by? Anger, regret, love? What do you live for? A child? A family member? Your work? Sometimes beauty isn’t the shape of your body but the warmth of your heart.
In my lifetime, I’ve run across all kinds of people. I’ve learned that not all beautiful, magazine worthy people are very good looking at all. An ugly heart can tarnish a beautiful vessel beyond recognition and make that person difficult to even look towards. Why did I use the word “vessel”? Because that’s all these bodies are for us anyways. They house our souls and our souls are what truly depict how beautiful we actually are or are not. You might be thinking that it’s easy for me to type all this. I’m a published model. I’m beautiful. But let me share something personal with you. Two somethings actually.
First of all, when I was in high school I was hated. Truly hated. There was an actual “I hate Angel Beth Club”. They even had a name for their club. They were called “The Follies”. The Follies had actual club meetings where someone even took meeting minutes. The meetings consisted of trashing my name and coming up with plans for ruining my day. These girls would dump water in my bookbag ruining my assignments, hide my bag so that I was late for class, ambush me and lock me in the boys’ bathroom, and even coordinate the entire class to burst into laughter when I answered a question, despite the fact that my response was accurate. I had my moment with some of the girls towards the end of my senior year. I asked one why she hated me so much. She said they all had their own reasons. I asked her to tell me hers. She said she hated me for my height. I was short and all the boys thought I was cute. Two other girls told me that they hated me for the way I moved my hair out of my eyes. Apparently, I did this in a way that caught boys’ attention. Trust me, I didn’t have much attention from boys. Possibly the reign of hatred from the female population kept the boys at bay. Either way, it wasn’t exactly the most pleasant times of my life. And I can promise you, as much as others disliked me, I disliked myself that much more.
Second of all, I have a genetic disorder, an illness that affects my daily life. But that’s not what I want to talk about here. This illness though, has a side effect of making me smaller. I’m only 5 1 1/2″. My parents divorced when I was 11 years old and my mom left. She has always said that I look like that same little girl she had to leave behind and that I never grew. My first husband didn’t really help my self-esteem either. He refused to be publically affectionate with me because he said that he felt like I looked like a child and he looked like a pedophile being with me. I hated the way I looked. I felt like the young girl from the movie “Interview with the Vampire”, trapped inside a little girl’s body. It wasn’t just my general appearance I hated, I thought my nose was way too big. My father always said I had the family snoz. I hated my freckles. I hated my hands because I thought my fingers were fat and stubby. I hated my legs. I felt like they were too skinny and looked like chicken legs. I could go on and on from here. There really wasn’t much I liked about myself physically. I had to grow into myself. Not physically but emotionally. I actually haven’t changed much from those high school years. I am frequently told I look exactly the same. I made small changes but mostly my changes were in my heart. I had to learn that I was beautiful. I might not have the perfect button nose or the long glamorous legs of a super model but I learned that I am beautiful. I live my life for my family and for helping others. That makes me a beautiful person. Learning to love myself has taken time and the more and more I loved about myself, the more and more my beauty showed through.
What is beauty? I can guarantee you that it isn’t how tall you are, or how skinny you are, it isn’t your complexion or your curves. It’s your heart. You might wonder how I left high school and what I think of when I look back. Maybe you’re thinking that I should show up at a reunion and show them how far I’ve come. Well, actually I left in a very unique way that shows the heart, my beauty, that I’ve had all along.
The end of the year school project was to perform something on stage. I was in the Drama department and one of the first performances I did at that school was “Dorothy” in “Wizard of Oz”. I decided to go out as I came in, and I performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Afterwards, I stepped off the stage and handed each girl in “The Follies” a letter. The letter explained what I thought made that particular girl amazing and wonderful and how I thought they’d succeed in life. My letter forgave them and wished them well.
Beauty has nothing to do with a mirror, although I guarantee you that if you sent me your picture I could find something to love about you. Beauty is heart. Simple and true. It’s not your vessel. It’s your soul. Live your life guided by love and happiness, not regret, fear, or bitterness. Love yourself and your outer beauty will grow as mine did. Xoxox
Editorial / Writer