So I’m sitting here at home writing this blog post thinking this the ugliest I’ve looked in years. Those of you who know me, know how much I love skincare and can understand how I must be feeling having not had any skincare routine for the past week! Like I’m craving the opportunity to use a Lush face mask, wear respectable clothes, put makeup on, do my hair and just feel like a normal person again. It’s funny because I say ‘ugliest I’ve looked in years’ (slight hyperbole there), but I’m pretty sure I called myself ugly last week and the week before that. Contrary to what people may think about me, for as long as I can remember I’ve been insecure and super self-conscious about how I look. Now for those close to me, when I do make ‘negative’ comments about my appearance, it’s difficult to understand. I hate most pictures that are taken of me; I need to control those angles you know so all I know is that front camera. Don’t get me wrong, I have my good days – usually when I have a full face of makeup on and the lighting in wherever I am is just gassing me, but for the most part I go through life feeling like a 3.9 out of 10.
Trying to be my own therapist here, I think this insecure feeling stems from my school days. Now those of you who have known me since year 7, have known that I used to be so tiny (yes I’m 5’11 now but that wasn’t always the case) with the worst case of buck teeth, with rubbish hair and no sense of style. Having seen people’s glo-ups on Twitter, I’ve realised I wasn’t too far below average but at the time I felt like the only one in this position. I wouldn’t say I was bullied but I was definitely taken the piss out of on several occasions. I think it hit around Year 9 and boys became such a major thing, especially by going to an all-girls school, and being the tiny, skinny, buck tooth young girl that I was – I was definitely not on any male’s list as someone to be found attractive. This prolonged throughout school and my huge growth spurt in like year 10 just made things even more awkward, I was now obviously ugly and couldn’t be missed and to top it all off I had braces. Looking back my braces were one of the best things to ever happen to me, but at the time it couldn’t have made me look any worse. Got to sixth form and my self-confidence issue persisted; I continued to feel like the ugly duckling out of all of my friends. I think I masked these issues well with my personality. Despite being insecure about the way I looked, I was always very confident as a person. I loved public speaking, organising things, bussing joke, keeping it 100 (in other words being blunt with my opinion) and just being the happy-go-lucky person I still am till this day! Anyway I got to uni and things kind of changed. I changed! My face actually changed, got a bit more structure, looked a bit more mature, I found makeup (major key actually because I deeped that I was comparing my bare face to girls who wore makeup which really isn’t fair on oneself) and I began to take a slight interest into the way I looked. Disclaimer: I wasn’t recreating myself, just evolving and exploring things such as makeup which I actually never delved into till I started uni!
It sounds super cringe but all my friends are beautiful, both a blessing and a curse, as it can make you feel like you’re in a never ending circle of being the ‘ugly friend’. I guess one thing I have realised is that you shouldn’t compare your physical appearance to others, let alone social media ‘it girls’ (easier said than done). Society’s ‘ideal’ is always changing, so when you measure yourself against these ideals what you’re actually doing is comparing yourself to a fleeting image which in turn creates a vicious cycle of always feeling discontent and unhappy. I remember when having a thigh-gap and being slim was seen as the epitome of attraction and now thick thighs and a big booty are now the physical attributes to aim for. We can’t keep up; I definitely know I can’t. Soon they’ll be saying back fat is the new thing and they’ll develop one herbal tea that stimulates back fat. It’s all a bit long. Love yourself whether you’re slim, thick, short, tall, chubby, spotty, chiselled, gap-toothed, big nosed, big lips, thin lips, big bum, no bum, fair-skinned, dark-skinned, whatever! If you can’t see your own beauty, at least see that you’re unique. There’s only one of you, do you know how wavy that is? You have to love yourself first as you really cannot rely on anyone to show you that love. Moreover, your love for yourself shouldn’t be found or affirmed in another’s words or actions.
I think the concept of ‘self-love’ is a journey, if you’re anything like me it definitely won’t come overnight but slowly and surely you begin to accept yourself for who you are. I personally find it really awkward to look in the mirror and say motivational things to myself, but when negative thoughts come to mind regarding my appearance, my mantra is ‘for I am fearfully and wonderfully made’. I don’t even have to actually utter these words but mentally telling myself that I was personally hand crafted by the creator Himself makes me feel kind of special. I’m gradually ditching the ugly year 9 girl mentality of being buck toothed and unattractive and realising I’m an exotic Amazonian gazelle…LOL I JK… (or do I?). Okay I am actually joking, but the point is I am not ugly. Ugly is defined as ‘unpleasant or repulsive, especially in appearance’, I’m yet to make anyone feel sick at the sight of me and even if I did that’s their issue. I challenge you to come on this journey of self-love with me, because what damage could feeling content do?
Remember: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:31