I hated how I looked when I was younger because I was bullied about it.
That’s no joke. I used to stare at myself for hours in the mirror, hoping my face and body would become something else. I’d fantasize about looking “perfect.”
I think I hated everything about myself – my hair, my face, my teeth (God, I hated my teeth), my birthmarks.
I remember being only happy about the way my fingernails were shaped. That was about it.
It’s crazy how sensitive you can be at that age. It’s also quite insane how insensitive other children can be to you at that age. As the super sensitive one, I internalized every jeer, insult and humiliation.
I remember I talked to myself a lot during that time.
Holding on to that kind of negative self-image so early on in life really damaged me. I was about 8 when I started crying in the shower, and a few years later I started down the path of self-destructive behavior. In my mind, my life was like a black hole – I listened to depressing music, wore black a lot and was inherently negative about everything. Even when I didn’t need to be.
Fast forward to this day, and though I don’t think of myself the same way I do then, it’s still very hard to be positive.
It was like being negative and self-loathing was my default. It was my comfort. In some weird way, maybe it was my happiness.
I’m actually afraid of things going right at times. It’s so easy for me to fall into negative thoughts that sometimes I wonder if I’m okay. It’s an uphill battle to push myself, to believe in myself and achieve my goals. I can only imagine how many other girls feel the same.
How many women walk around with negative images of themselves, how many of them internalize years of negative talk and how many of them put themselves down before they even start the race.
I think it’s more than we’re willing to talk about.
So, I’m writing this because I hate thinking that anybody else might even feel half of what I’ve felt. I hate thinking that another beautiful girl would think about suicide as often as I did, or would be so disgusted by how she looks that she chooses to hide in the shadows or allows herself to be taken advantage of.
Dear girls who don’t love themselves, I love you.
I love how you look, and I think you’re the most beautiful ever. I love your smile, even if you don’t think it’s perfect. I love the way you think, even if people try to tell you keep your mouth shut. I love all your goals and dreams, even though you might think they’re unattainable right now.
But most of all, I want you to know that all of this is going to make you into a different caliber of woman. In time, the hardships won’t feel like spots in your past – instead they’ll be like badges of honor. You’ll be able to say, I survived that and I kick ass right now.
Don’t ever give up. Please.
The world needs you.