As children, we come into this world feeling so loved. Our parents always tell us we’re beautiful, that this world is ours for the taking. This letter is to the boy who told me I wasn’t pretty when I was only four years old. My mother wiped my tears as I said I could never be pretty. She insisted everything would be OK.
To the boy who called me ugly and a nutcase at only seven years old. It’s funny when you’re the firstborn, or the first grandchild, hearing “She’s so wonderful, so beautiful!”, you grow up to see the beauty in everyone. To the boy who told me makeup couldn’t fix the genetic damage when I was thirteen...
To the dollar store clerk used to tell me all the time that makeup wasn’t a necessity. That I’ll be beautiful without it. But why could I never feel beautiful?
To my eighth grade teacher that doubted everything I did,.I remember walking into her class one day as she told her younger students that people like me don’t go far in life. I thought, heavy black eyeliner keeps me from success?
To the group of girls that shoved my head into the bathroom sink as they poured milk on my hair and told me I couldn’t ever be anyone. They were 12, I was 14. When I grew out of my dramatic phase and came running back home to my mother, I remember her always looking at my naked face and telling me how beautiful I always have been, how my stepdad couldn’t believe that such beautiful children existed.
To the man at Dollar General who happened to whisper just a bit too loud that ugly little white girls will never find a husband; fifteen. I remember when I saw his face. How hard I had tried that morning to be perfect. How many hours I spent crying that I could never be even the slightest bit pretty.
To the girl that used to Facebook message me hateful things about my face and how my boyfriend was too good for me. I remember his face, how amazed he looked to see me. How he kept calling me beautiful, and I had the hardest time accepting his compliment. This letter’s to the boy who told me I was pretty until I wouldn’t take my pants off, then called me a monkey.
It’s upsetting that two years later, my boyfriend and I are planning our adult lives together, and to this day I question if he thinks I’m pretty.
To the ex-girlfriend of his that found my every flaw, and just had to show him. To the boy that asked my boyfriend why he was dating the Animal Planet special. It’s crazy that now my boyfriend and I spend every night together: I drool on his arm, he snores. It’s crazy that I still doubt my personal worth.
He always tells me I’m beautiful, and you would think that that’s all I need. But one person telling you you’re beautiful doesn’t erase a lifetime of cruelty. This letter’s to the boy that, during senior year, photoshopped my head onto a gorilla, joked that he found his friend's girlfriend and walked away laughing. Yet, I will always be the crazy one, the one that overreacted, because I told him to picture that I was his little sister. He responded with, “But that won’t happen, my sister’s pretty.”
To the man at Starbucks who cracked jokes about my small lips. At 17 years old, I am entering college and I am pursuing my dreams, but I still cry every single time I see my naked face in the mirror. I am 17 years old, talking about marriage with the love of my life, but I can’t have a real wedding because ugly brides are not a thing.
This letter’s to the ‘friend’ that made fun of my “Asian-looking” eyes. I struggle to this day to find my way in life, to find pride in the person I am. To the boy whose laugh I still hear in the back of my mind from 10 years ago.
My mother tried for years to erase the damage they had done, but she can never make up for where the other parents forgot to teach. To the boy who couldn’t understand why I was crying when he told me I will never be desirable. I have lived through the cruelty, but it’s still alive to this day.
To the boy who calls my little sister "marshmallow." I never thought I’d watch my little sister have to live through the same exact story I went through... if only I had built a relationship with her. This letter’s to the girl who called my sister ‘whitey’, and laughed when she didn’t understand.
Young women are growing up to be shamed for their natural bodies, but shamed again when they begin to rely on makeup to find peace of mind. Beauty is not a conversation piece. Beauty is not something you can agree on one day and change your mind about the next day. Beauty is my little sister's beautiful blue eyes, and her rosy doll cheeks. Beauty is my mother's laugh when she feels at home, and the way she strokes our hair when she tells us how beautiful we are.
Beauty is found in everything. It’s such a shame that, to this day, I have a hard time believing it because people found humor in things I could not change. To everyone who used the word ugly, the word weird. To everyone who ever made me doubt my own beauty. To everyone who helped fuel the initiative it took for me to spend years hurting myself. To every scar on my thighs and arms, to every burn mark I have on my stomach. To every young girl who feels like they are never enough; you are beautiful.
Every single one of us is and always will be beautiful.