It's been exactly ten years since I graduated from high school. Many details of my time there are murky already, but they came into focus when I attended my friends' wedding last weekend. It's amazing to see how many of us have changed - or didn't change. It also felt odd as I held the people in front of me against the people I remember ten years ago.
The weirdest feeling of all however was remembering how I was like back then. I feel that I've accomplished many things and transformed myself tremendously since high school, but I still could not help feeling a twinge of self-consciousness around that crowd.
You see, I was ugly back then. I was intelligent and I had a modest amount of talent but I was ugly with my big curly hair, horribly crooked teeth, pimples, bad eyesight, and rather dark skin. I was smart enough to know that my physical appearance was not crucial to the success I wanted, but being ugly was always at the back of my mind. I knew I would never be a beautiful girl. I would be called smart, talented, well-read - but never beautiful in the first breath.
I spent much of my life so far trying to be as physically pleasing as I could manage, and sharing what I've learned to anyone who could understand the struggle. This beauty blog is proof of that journey! I believe that wanting to be beautiful goes beyond just vanity; it's a desire to be accepted, to be considered special by the people who matter to you.
Sometimes, a cutting comment takes me back to that dark period of self-loathing. the memory of that never really goes away. You know how some people blindside you with a seemingly innocent non-compliment? There's even more pressure on me now since I work in this industry.
But I am no longer that girl from high school. I love how I look today. I could lose a few pounds, lighten some dark spots, perhaps have a narrower nose, but I like me. I now know that there is only one person whose opinion matters when it comes to how I look: myself! At the end of the day it's me who has to face the mirror and deal with what I see there. I can choose to hate it, or I can choose to accept and perhaps even transform it.
I hope you've come to that realization too. You are beautiful, if you choose to be.