I used to look into the mirror and see the words "gross" "ugly" and "fat" hovering above my head and truly believe it. It was less than seven years ago when a middle-school-aged-me cried every night over how much she weighed and what her face looked liked but honestly, I don't blame her. She was fat and she was "ugly"...at least through her eyes. Nevertheless, this isn't a story about a girl who hates herself. It's a story about me! A girl who gave this awesome speech a few years back about how tired she was of the whole world staring at her huge reddish-purple birthmark on her right cheek and how everyone is so stupid for thinking that all the love in the world will make you love yourself but until the day you look into the mirror accept yourself for who you are, you will never love yourself.
Okay let me set the seen: One girl, one jewish summer camp, a night on a basketball court, 86 other insecure 15-year olds and go! So the staff had put this activity together called "Insecurity Night" and it consisted of a few stations that spoke about teenage issues and why self-esteem is important to have, plus a bunch of other things that were interesting but kind of weird at the same time. Anyways we all sat down to wrap the night up when a counselor asked if anyone wanted to speak about anything and this one guy stood up in front of everyone and started talking and said something like "yea, just because i'm good looking, strong, and popular doesn't mean I don't cry on the inside and sometimes even on the outside." It was cool and everything don't get me wrong, but to me I just thought this time could be spent talking about something everyone can reflect on afterwards, and the next thing I know, I realize my hand is raised and i've been chosen to speak.
I get up and have no idea what to say, so, I start off by saying during one of the activities I wrote down on a paper that my biggest insecurity was my intelligence and how I had lied because my biggest insecurity was my birthmark. I asked if they could imagine walking around everyday of their lives wearing their biggest insecurity on their sleeves. Could they understand what it's like to walk around and see someones creeped out reaction every time they look at your face for the first time? I then went on to speak about how much I love this camp and how I return year after year because I love the people here and I consider them family. Just like family though, they are judgmental of me and even after all those years they still kind of look at me like a weirdo. I got so heated up when I was telling them that they needed to stop staring at me because it rude and creepy and especially hurtful because when I look into the mirror I too, see a monster. By then, the people (including the grown ups) and I were starting to cry and I felt a sense of relief. I continued to speak about how hypocritical it is to tell other people how beautiful and perfect they are and then tell yourself how terrible you are when others aren't around. I kept saying how I wanted to live in a world where there aren't constant reminders everywhere I go telling me I have to look this way or dress like her and put on makeup to hide who I am. This is my face so deal with it and if you can't then just don't look at me anymore.
Eventually this being a jewish summer camp, I spoke about how I constantly told myself that the only reason I was born like this was because God might have other plans for me. Maybe he made me ugly so I could focus on important things instead of guys and clothes, crap like that. Maybe he made me hate myself and eat my emotions so I could forever be used as a personal therapist instead of a regular human who can choose whatever path to go down on in life. Blah blah blah I spoke some more but the last thing that occurred before I sat down and cried next to everyone else was that a lightbulb turned on above my head and I came to a conclusion where I loved myself and from there on out everyone can suck it.
The love awakens: It's almost three years after realizing I'm in love (with myself) (well...I still kind of have a thing for the Jonas Brothers) and I have never been this happy. Of course I still have moments where I don't like myself and I think there are things about me that I need to change, but deep down inside, I mean you really gotta dig deep to find it, I love me. Looking back on the past, I had such a difficult time accepting compliments. Anytime someone even told me "thank you" or "I love you" my body would physically jolt backwards because I couldn't believe it. Thankfully I wised up and I, at least in the opinion of my friend and family, old councilors and now my own campers have become someone who can truly speak about hardships and well-advise other girls and boys into believing there is so much more besides what guys or girls you're into may think about you and why you should never change yourself unless you've first accepted yourself for who you truly are on the inside and out.
I used to look into the mirror and see the words "gross" "ugly" and "fat" hovering above my head and truly believe it. Bye Felicia (couldn't resist) not anymore. When I look into the mirror today, the first thing I see (right after my autographed photo of the All American Rejects that I got in the fifth grade) is me. A beautiful, tall self-loving birthmark faced (almost) woman.
If there is one thing I can say to those reading this article it's that at the end of the day it truly does not matter what other people think. Learning to love yourself because of your insecurities not despite them is the key to happiness and self-love. Never let anyone tell you that you are ugly or fat or any word that makes you feel less than because those words are just a reflection on themselves and no one else.
Welcome to me!