By Amari D. Pollard
The other day, as I was mindlessly “erasing” my flaws under the bristles of a foundation covered brush and painting soft colors of red onto the brown of my cheeks, not once questioning the reason as to why I felt the need to hide myself. Smiling at the improved contours of my face I stared into the mirror, intensely studying my appearance from every angle possible. And even though my faults were invisible to the eye, my prettiness didn’t feel validated. It didn’t feel like it was really mine.
Turning sideways, away from the mirror, I slowly lifted the bottom of my top to reveal a strip of skin to determine whether it was flat enough for me to feel comfortable. My actions, my insecurities, they were and are mine, but they don’t just belong to me.
No matter how far we push back our shoulders back in an air of unaltered confidence or how many times we tell ourselves we’re gorgeous, the unseen veil of uncertainty hangs above our heads [kind of like those rainy clouds that follow characters in cartoons]. People may not be able to see it, but we feel it, everyday, every minute, it’s there.
We’re all aware of the fact that that perfection doesn’t exist, and yet we all still try to embody it. The sooner we fully comprehend that it won’t be found in the tininess of our waists or in the tightness of our arms the better off we’ll be.
I started to reflect on how we look to the outside for approval on our appearances rather than looking within ourselves. How we measure our prettiness: seeing it reflected in glances of boys/girls walking by or hearing it in the compliments of our friends or smiling at it in the envious glares of people we know and don’t. All those things, they make us feel good for a while…and then we’re left alone. We’re left alone, except we still fall prey to the threats of our thoughts. We constantly hear that annoying voice in the dark corners of our minds telling us we’re not good enough, that we’ll never be good enough.
It’s truly sad, when you think about it for a while, how we spend our lives unsatisfied with ourselves and go to extreme measures to enhance any part of our bodies. We go without eating for a day to fit into that dress, we use protein supplements to bulk up, we go under the knife to fix the bump in our noses.
And for what? So we can be deemed pretty by societal standards? So maybe we can finally look at ourselves with conviction and believe we’re beautiful?
My mom always says there’s nothing less attractive than a person with low self-esteem. And if that’s so, then I fear many of us will never be pretty.
And that hurts.
Picture courtesy of http://www.huffingtonpost.com