Aug 29

Not-Beautiful

I have lived in constant fear of the word "beautiful." Exceptional, no, unique, never, but any word that has ever described the state of my face? Every. Single. Damn. Time. It's a consistent, damnable struggle. And yet, whenever I seek the advice I so crave, the answer that I always hear only prolongs the spiral of my insanity, begins to turn the cycle of my self-deprecation. But I let it, and I listen to those who are kind enough to lend me their ears, their minds, their words.

I miss feeling vaguely conscious about how I looked. I remember enjoying my face in photos and grinning at the funny faces I would pull; smiling in the mirror with all of my teeth and enjoying it--enjoying the way I was, the I remain to be. Now, I can't bear it--the sight of pictures with my face in them, the way my smile curves my chin all wrong, my hair in the mirror pulled back too far to expose my forehead. I write run-on sentences because my pain does not separate itself with periods or semicolons--it is a continuous and unchanging burden, and I now cling to these thin paper pages, seeking solace among the ink. 

I see all of these women on social platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok who I believe look infinitely better than me, that are the pinnacle of female beauty, and because of this, every piece of clothing that I wear or laugh that I have begun to share becomes a crutch--another thing to lean on, dragging me down. How am I supposed to feel at all beautiful in a dress when women on the internet are so gorgeous that they manage to pull off sweatpants and t-shirts flawlessly?

Don't even get me started on my mother. I love her, I do, but God, she has told me a thousand times that she thinks that I am one of the prettiest girls in my area, and the pressure of those words has become absolutely suffocating. Or, one of my teachers from long ago, told me, when she saw me at a summer function, that I was "as beautiful as ever." And I-I don't know how the hell I'm supposed to believe or understand that. Surprisingly, I have not cried over these issues yet, but I have gotten close. How can I not, when any other way I style my hair other than letting it down, thick and wisping around my face, make me feel inadequate? When do I get the chance to tell my body images to go to hell? I can't become any sort of motivational being, that is for certain. Because, and here's a pro tip, only the people that truly enjoy living in their bodies can speak the way they do, and I am certainly not one of them. And another--please don't tell those people who hate themselves that they should stop doing it--we are trying, believe me. But we'd rather not be patronized by pretty people on the way, thanks. 

And yes, my prose and vocabulary have taken a tumble during the composition of this essay--it is difficult to be elegant when caught in a less than sunny disposition. I am only so succinct. I am only so forgiving. But, really, if you can forgive me, I will be grateful. This was a difficult topic to speak on, especially as I am experiencing it as of late, and I do hope I haven't ruined your mood for the rest of the evening. However, I do want to share one last bit of... this. And although what I say does not matter, I wish it would. I wish that we, as women, could help each other up and believe what the other is speaking to us, and be content in ourselves. I hope we all find air, for Christ's sake, and I hope that, someday, we emerge victorious from the hellscape of insecurity and receive the answer we have all been waiting for. 

Breathe, darling. We are beautiful if only for the lives we continue to live. Breathe. 
About the Author: infinitelyinfinite3
Brown person, LGBTQIA+ member, overthinker, and book and music lover. I am not afraid of the Oxford comma, and you shouldn't be, either. ;)
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