I was going through some boxes the other day and I found some old pictures. It was great to take a walk down memory lane and my reaction to my old pictures was interesting. My appearance has always been a sore subject for me, something I have in common with millions of people. In middle school and junior high, I was teased mercilessly. I had stringy hair, braces, coke bottle glasses and also developed early. My self esteem was sent reeling and I don’t know that I’ve ever felt confident with my appearance since then. My insecurity about my appearance continued into high school and young adulthood, especially after I gained a lot of weight in my early 20’s and after being cheated on by romantic partners. I always felt not pretty enough or downright ugly. My parents always assured me I was pretty but I felt like they had to say that, I never really took it to heart.
As I was looking through the pictures, I found some of myself from that tumultuous time in junior high, and also of myself a good 40 pounds heavier than I currently am. I was surprised by my reaction. Instead of thinking I was ugly in the junior high pictures, I was actually taken aback by how pretty I was. My big blue eyes and dark hair, my china doll complexion. I have never felt that way before, not sure if it’s the antidepressants or just that I am finally at a place where I can see myself honestly, with no filter of the bullying clouding my perception. When I saw the pictures of myself so overweight, I was stunned and filled with pride at how far I’ve come with my weight and taking care of myself more. It was definitely an ego boost.
I wish I could say that I did this or that to accept myself and be at peace with my appearance. It’s honestly been a long road and not an easy journey. I know there will be days I feel less secure in my appearance and I will always notice people I feel are more attractive than I am. But I’ve come a long way in accepting my own looks, in finding things I like rather than focusing on faults. I have started 2014 by being kinder to myself and it’s been eye opening and inspiring.