For most of my adolescence, I struggled with my appearance. I was never fit and skinny, but I was also not overweight. I'm a whopping five feet tall, and my face is covered in freckles. There are tons of them—it's to the point that in the summer, my face doesn't tan, it only reveals more and more freckles. Needless to say, in my teenage mind, I was not traditionally pretty. Even if I thought I looked good, I didn't adhere to society's beauty standards so I wasn't pretty in the way other girls were pretty.

To cope with this fact, I wore quite a bit of makeup. I was a dancer and cheerleader for most of my life, so putting on makeup was a part of my routine. I was lucky enough to never struggle with acne and my skin has always looked relatively good, except for my freckles. Oh, how I hated those freckles. My mom constantly told me that she was in love with my freckles and wished she'd had them herself, but that meant nothing to me—she was my mom for Pete's sake, it's her job to love me. My freckles make me look more like a 12-year-old than I already do thanks to my height. As a teenager, all I wanted was to look, well, just like a normal teenager. So, I became best friends with foundation.

Now, I never piled the makeup up like some do, but I wore a lot more than I needed to be wearing. I didn't even really like makeup—I wasn't talented enough to make it look good. I just wanted to cover up my freckles so I could blend in. I even kept this up through my freshman year of college—it didn't matter to me that most other girls were rolling out of bed and making themselves look just presentable enough to go to class, no I was waking up two or three hours before I had to be in class so I would make sure I had the ten or twenty minutes I needed in my morning to make sure my hair and makeup looked flawless.

As time went on, I noticed I was getting compliments on how I looked, but the compliments were coming hours after the makeup came off.

I'd go through the line in the dining hall and the workers would stop me solely to talk about my freckles. I met a new group of friends, and they couldn't get enough of my freckles either. Eventually, between their encouragement and my desire to get more sleep at night, I finally got the courage to stop with the foundation. And honestly? I've never felt more beautiful in my life.

Sure, I still put on a little bit of makeup when I'm in the mood for it, but it's no longer an essential part of my morning routine. I am more confident because I don't feel the need to hide what I actually look like anymore. I worry less about how I look and can focus more on who I am. A few little compliments made the world of a difference for me—this is a real-life example of how words can have an impact. I've improved as a person because my main concern isn't looking just like everyone else, it's more about looking like me. Freckles are a part of who I am, and finally, I can say I'm okay with that. I mean, those little dots are pretty cute, aren't they?