1. Fixing your eyebrows makes a hell of a difference.
I didn’t have horrible acne or embarrassing Harry Potter glasses… No, I had something much worse – bad eyebrows. I can’t even believe that my mother allowed me to walk out of the house with my eyebrows looking the way that they did or that I thought what I was doing to my face was even remotely normal. The shape of my eyebrows configured into small lopsided commas. After about three solid years of shaping and growing, my eyebrows finally started to regain some type of dignity. Bad luck with eyebrows apparently runs in my family. When I was 15, my little brother shaved his eyebrows completely off and my mom had to draw them on every day before he went to school. Eyebrows make the difference, if you don’t believe me, google “Anne Hathaway, no eyebrows.”
2. Wearing makeup correctly makes a hell of a difference.
Three words – electric blue eyeliner. This was my statement piece. My best friend and I bonded over our love for Wet N’ Wild’s painfully blue color of pencil liner. We thought it brought out our eyes. In reality, we looked like we had just spent a week at RuPaul’s.
3. Personality is everything.
I didn’t pass Popularity 101 because of my looks. What I lacked in looks, I made up with personality. I was funny and had the ability to read and write by the time I started seventh grade. I was already two steps ahead of my fellow Alabamians. I used my talents to my advantage. I made an Xanga page where I posted different articles that made all my classmates laugh and overall, like me. Eventually I made a lot of friends and came out of my shell. Other ugly ducklings I know picked up an instrument or became an artist. You realize early on that it is important to cultivate your personality and talents and that these things are ultimately more important than the way that you look. You could look like Darth Vader, but if you are likable person, people will naturally gravitate towards you.
4. The Friend Zone hurts.
I desperately wanted to date the popular guys and developed crushes that were about 700 lightyears out of my league. Friend-zoned – the ultimate heart-break. My life became the movie Just Friends. I was Ryan Reynolds in the cat sweater that said “Shakes come and go, but friends are furrrr-ever.” I still have someone that I view as my Jamie Palamino and no matter how hot I am, this person will always see me as a nerdy middle schooler. Recently, the guy that I had the biggest crush on throughout middle school saw me at a bar and flirtatiously said hello. A few weeks later, I got a message from him on Facebook. Reeling in excitement, I clicked to open the message, which he sent to… ask me if I was interested in his friend. Really? Seriously? My life.
5. The Hot Guy/Girl isn’t that great when they are actually attainable.
My whole life I’ve dated people for personality. You can ask my dad, who has nicknamed and made fun of every single boyfriend I’ve ever had. My last boyfriend, I dated for looks. He was aesthetically perfect. One problem – he was a giant asshole. I was so obsessed with the way he looked that I never got to know him and completely ignored his personality during the beginning of our relationship. Eventually, I realized that he was aggravating, needy, controlling, and insanely annoying. I would have never been friends with this person, so why was I dating him?
I can only attribute that to the fact that he was attractive and for the first time I was “pretty” enough to date someone that looked like he did. His looks started to wear thin and I noticed he was like a fire hydrant that had been knocked over and was constantly and uncontrollably spewing out ridiculous, ignorant comments. He started to physically change as well. He lost the college athlete body and was left with his repulsive personality. After our break up, I decided that the “hot guy” wasn’t worth it. I’m back to dating people for their personality. A pretty face gets old, literally and figuratively.
6. People are cruel.
It is actually amazing how much you learn during your ugly duckling years. This lesson has stuck with me for life. I don’t get offended when people write mean comments after one of my articles. In eighth grade, the guy that I had a crush on told me that I had a mullet – to my face. Calling me a poor writer/psycho/idiot/asshole over the internet is not going to hurt my feelings. Ugly ducklings grow a tough skin and develop a “whatever” attitude when it comes to people behaving negatively towards them. Why? Because we were used to it for several years. Bullies last all the way into adulthood, that’s something that doesn’t change. Being ugly on the inside is much harder to change than being beautiful on the outside. No amount of makeup or plastic surgery can fix your soul.
As a kid, I had a book called The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. One of the stories was called “The Very Ugly Duckling.” This read more like a horror story to me. It starts off by explaining the same concept as the typical ugly duckling story, except it ends, “Well, as it turned out, he was just a really ugly duckling. And he grew up to be just a really ugly duck. The End.” This was my worst fear – that I would never turn into a swan and I would just be a really ducking ugly for the rest of my life. Sometimes I still look in the mirror and think that I grew into a really ugly duck. Especially when I have no makeup on and I haven’t plucked my eyebrows in a while. I can’t help but think, “Wow, I look just like my eighth grade self.” The insecurities are still there, but then I say my daily affirmations: “You are a beautiful and amazing flower.” All jokes aside, there is peace in knowing who you are, and sometimes when you are having one of your “ugly days,” remember who you are.
8. Karma is real.
You might not get it within the next week, but eventually the Almighty Bitch is coming for you. I look back and think about all the people that were mean to me. It’s just funny how life works sometimes. Be nice to other people and the universe will reward you. Be an ass to people and the universe will hand your ass back to you on a silver plate. Most of the weird kids grow up to make something of themselves, well… except that one who sat in the corner and ate his boogers, he just ended up being weird.
9. You have a few years where you are very critical on yourself because of other people, but it teaches you an important life lesson – love yourself regardless of what you look like and love other people regardless of what they look like.
In the grand scheme of things, looks don’t matter. Bill Gates isn’t winning Sexiest Man Alive anytime soon. I wish I could go back and tell my 14 year old self to not fret over this stuff. Your ugly duckling stage will only last for so long and the most important part about becoming a swan is making sure you are a good person with a good heart. I’m not going to throw a Bible at your head, but loving other people is by far the most important thing you will do in life. One person has the power to change someone else’s life and guess how they aren’t going to do it? By sitting around and being beautiful all day. Talent, ambition, personality, compassion, kindness, and confidence are the most important aspects of beauty. Looking beautiful on the outside is just a small part of what it means to be truly beautiful.