As an extremely superficial preteen, suddenly freed from the shackles of braces and invigorated by the recent growth of some AA cups, my Instagram became heavily populated by selfies flashing my brand new pearly whites (and the occasional flash of cleavage, because I was risqué like that). At the time it seemed like the “cool” thing to do, but, looking back, anything captioned “Selfie cuz I feel like it... #instagood #laikdis #love” is anything but (and maybe showing off your boobs as a 14-year-old is a little distasteful).

Entering high school, I lost some of that narcissistic zeal my former self possessed and hopped off the selfie train. From the ages of about 15 to 19, my Instagram was extremely selfie deficient.

Becoming more stressed, gaining weight, getting bouts of acne, and feeling overwhelmed all contributed to a decrease in self-confidence, and thus a decrease in selfies. I did not possess the kind of confidence it took to post an up-close and personal picture of myself taken by yours truly.

The event that made me a selfie advocate today may at first seem counterintuitive: My freshman year at UCLA I became close friends with a girl from back home who had also recently moved to LA to model. As we sat in her car one night she proclaimed “UGH! My agency told me I need to post more selfies…” To which I asked “Why?” and she responded with something along the lines of “Because it shows the real me, like what I really look like, as opposed to just professional photos which can be misleading.”

Now bear with me, because a beautiful model telling me she needs to post more selfies should probably NOT make me want to post selfies of my own. Yet, it did and I’ll tell you why.

Sure, social media is SO misleading, people formulate a life that may not be the truth. You can edit a picture until you think it's perfect. So yeah, maybe a selfie isn't the absolute most authentic version of yourself I would witness if I saw you in person, but to be honest, it’s much harder to doctor a selfie than another type of picture. Not to mention, a selfie is so much more intimate than, let's say, a picture of you and your best friend smiling from far away. You can blur out some zits, whiten your teeth and make your eyes brighter, but in the end, it’s still a picture of your beautiful face and only that.

The fact of the matter is a selfie is vulnerable. Firstly, you run the risk of people calling you out for taking a selfie. Millennials and their selfies, they’re so vain! Wow, she's, like, soooo into herself. To which I respond, 'Don’t bash it unless you try it'. Secondly, you’re posting a damn picture of your face for the whole world to see! How could that ever not be vulnerable? A selfie is a brave, beautiful depiction of its owner showing themselves some love and admiration–and is self-love ever a bad thing? A resounding no.

If there’s one thing I’ve gained from my venture into the world of the Selfie Kingdom, it’s greater confidence as I’ve learned that even flaws can be beautiful and have accepted my face for all its worth.

So to my selfie queens of the modern age: Fuck yeah. Thank you for teaching the rest of us to appreciate our features and show them off to the world.

As for the rest of you, don’t let the fear of judgment sway you otherwise. Embrace your beauty and post the damn selfie.