I posted this last night on Twitter. I think it’s from sixth grade. It may be fourth or fifth. I know it’s not seventh or eighth because of the massive haircut before seventh grade.
Anyway, when I scanned it this weekend, I remembered how much I hated picture day. It wasn’t just my self-esteem issues that made it difficult. I would get stressed out over how to smile properly for a picture. I would obsess all day over getting the smile right, because I thought that if I didn’t, the picture wouldn’t look right and I would be laughed at. Okay, so maybe it was the self-esteem thing.
And I would think they were just trying to placate me, when the pictures would come back and my friends would say, “Oh, you’re so pretty.” Because I knew that there was something wrong with my picture—something wrong with me. And I could pick out every flaw in the picture to prove how wrong the compliments were.
I still struggle with that, but it is getting easier.
Selfies have made it easier. I can still see the blackheads, the messy hair, the bra strap sticking out, the weight, all the freckles, the lower jaw sticking out, the nose that always made me self-conscious, the half wavy/half straight hair, the unplucked eyebrows…but I also see the girl who put so much time and effort into hating herself that she couldn’t appreciate her own beauty, her own life. Selfies taught me to smile and every time I smile, I get a little happier.
But that’s why it irks me when people say people who can’t see their own beauty are “fishing for compliments” or that people who take a lot of selfies are “full of themselves” because there are a lot of people out there who have low self esteem or body image issues. Let people feel good about themselves. Life is hard enough as it is—why not let people feel comfy in their own skin.