July 21, 2016 by Cláudia
I almost never feel pretty. At best, it’s inevitable to say I am not conventionally pretty. I am very insecure about my looks and sometimes I genuinely think “yuck” when I look at myself in the mirror, and then I feel very sad about it. My nose is proportionally too big and my face is asymmetrical. My social skills are very rudimentary and around people I behave very awkwardly. I’m not so likable, my mood swings too much and I frequently explode with anxiety attacks. I gained a bit of weight the last couple of years and my belly, arms and legs are what some people would consider “fat”.
Comparing myself with others almost always makes me insecure as I often undervalue myself. But besides everything I’ve just said, after spending a week with five typically beautiful girls, but obsessed with looks and diet, I have never felt such deep gratitude for being exactly who I am. The first days inevitably took a toll on my self-esteem: I felt like the ugly duck. Constantly, they pointed out “flaws” I couldn’t even see and therefore made me much more self-conscious about my own “flaws”. When they pointed out how their belly was “fat” or skin was not perfect, I looked at myself and realized what they were pointing out in themselves was exactly the was my body looks. Plus, they constantly commented on how other girls looked fat or ugly, so I started imagining the things they said about my own body when I was not around.
After a few days, my mindset started to shift and I perceived all this body negativity they held against themselves as it really is: toxic. It became so excessive, so smothery that it affected every action, it was present every minute of the day. I started to feel pity towards them, constantly worrying about calories, working out, constantly criticizing other girls for their look or admiring some girls’ hot body, only to feel diminished. It’s so miserable to live like that! Instead of trying to love themselves, they fueled their lives with a deep self-hatred that made them only eat sad tasteless meals, corrupting the most precious relationship we can possibly establish: with ourselves.
I finally understood that body image as an obsession is invariably toxic.
In the beginning I felt like the ugly duck and wished I could look as pretty as they did. Soon I realized there is no point in constantly trying to change how we look if we’re going to hate it anyway. They complimented each other all the time and I felt left out because I would like to be complimented as well, but in the end getting compliments turns out to be irrelevant if they looked at themselves and always found something that should be changed.
Me and them are on different paths and I feel genuinely grateful to be on the path of body-positivity and self-love. My path is being gratifying, it is making me appreciate me more and more each day and making me feel like I can be the person I want to be. Their path, however, will lead nowhere because it has no ending point. When I look at them, they already look perfect to me but they will never see it as they will indefinitely try to achieve an ideal that doesn’t even exist.
I am so glad I am me and I know one day I will look at myself and think that everything is as it should be.