Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Don't Call me Beautiful

This face complete with sparkling eyes and porcelain skin, these were not always mine. They were, they just weren't always so organized and put together. There was a time when this skin was completely freckled with acne and a slight unibrow. When my body fat distribution was off balance and my words were limited to, "Hi." and "Bye." At this point in my life, I was pretty miserable. For a slew of reasons, but how my peers and teachers treated me was not any help.
In college, this slowly changed. The acne mostly cleared (darn you, breakouts!), I regularly went to the gym (darn you, peanut butter!), and I learned how to look my best with the minimal amount of effort (darn you, eyebrows!) At this time, I noticed something changing. Outside of myself. It was in everyone else. I found men talking to me for absolutely no reason and asking for my number. I found women hating me and their husbands/boyfriends telling me it was jealousy. I could no longer hang out with my old buddies, they didn't trust themselves to behave around me. I was now the man-stealer, the housewrecker, the young blonde...
I hadn't changed, though. I still felt utter terror when talking to strangers and I felt ugly wearing short skirts or tight tops or bikinis. I had a few more tattoos and piercings, which made me come off as confident. I learned how to pull along a conversation without blushing or sweating too profusely. However, I was still the hippie weirdo with social anxiety and an unhealthy obsession with all things fluffy, feathered, and scaled.
I never adjusted to being treated better. After all, I didn't feel better about anything. I didn't want anyone to envy me, I didn't want to feel like I was becoming "one of THOSE people", either. I wasn't making more friends or feeling accepted, that's for sure. Now the guys got to admire me, the women got to gossip about me, and what did I get from the deal? I got harassed a lot. I got treated like a Barbie doll. It was assumed I was weak and stupid.
Only recently have I realized what I gained from this. I stopped putting all my focus on being one of those brats and I started lifting weights and I attended my college classes, putting my passion for psychology and music to use. I stood up for causes and sometimes people listened. People felt safe coming to me for help.
Should I be treated differently because my physical appearance has changed? No. Will I forever experience the world from a different perspective than those who never outgrew their rough patch in life? I hope not. I plan to always hold onto the worst pains of my past and what I felt and saw and experienced and never watch anyone else go through the same thing helplessly. I still have to fight to maintain my confidence and strength, and through that power, I will help others. Not to mention, others will continue to help me. I am still a lost fish trying to balance this new me and the me who couldn't be forgotten.
I just hate that the person I was before was the one who was bullied and teased and forgotten, while the new me sits around and reaps the benefits of puberty. I won't allow myself to become the person I've seen many of my peers turn into because I would hate to be that person.

Most of all, I have learned to let me people care about me. Even... LOVE me. I still have to practice and remember I am worthy of it, but I have made such strides and I have to love myself for that. Once I do that, I can begin my journey to forgiveness and eventually, esteem.

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