Growing up I thought I was the ugliest girl in creation.
I felt that in a group of girls and women, I was the unattractive one, the one that no man would choose first, and the one that the other girls would make fun of. When I looked in the mirror, I only saw each and every flaw as if someone had held a magnifying glass up to my eye just to see them a bit more clearly.
I am not alone in this. I know I am not. Most of us women were this same young girl picking themselves apart. Most of us women didn't believe it when our mothers told us we were indeed pretty and maybe even beautiful. We just figured they were our mothers and they had to say that. We never imagined that it might actually be true. Instead, we chose to believe the lie our lying eyes told us instead. We chose to see the ugly part of the truth and dismissed the beautiful parts.
We became our own worst enemy and our biggest critics. We learned to hate "fat" mirrors and sometimes glanced away from the store windows as we passed by so we did not have to look at ourselves. We discovered contraptions to hold our stomachs in and new bras to create deep cleavage; we learned to shadow our noses so they did not appear too long, and to straighten our curly hair and to curl our straight hair. We bought booty lifts and girdles. We bought every fad diet. We worked out until we tore ligaments. We envied other women their curves while the curvy coveted the slender. We didn't stop to realize-that everybody is somehow beautiful or we wouldn't be trying so hard to look like the woman standing next to us.
We do everything we can think of to keep improving, to get better and better and better, and what are we missing while we do so? We are missing our lives. We are missing our lives while we try to somehow create this "better life" we imagine we will have if we were just the damn prettiest woman in the room.
There is nothing wrong with make-up unless we use it to hide ourselves. There is nothing wrong with pretty clothes unless we think that it is the clothing that makes us pretty. There is nothing wrong with having a sculpted body unless we fail to see we are more than our body. Perfectly white teeth are attractive, but they do not make cruel words sound pretty. Manicured fingers are elegant but they do not soften the harshness of a slap.
I am waiting still for the day when I can look myself in the eyes and just accept that I have really beautiful eyes rather than getting distracted by the bump on my nose. I am looking forward to the time when I can see that I am curvy without thinking I am too curvy. I will jump for joy when I look into a mirror and do not feel the need to adjust something but instead, shrug my shoulders and say, "I'm fine." I think that day is coming soon. There is a reason we are not identical clones of each other-we are not supposed to be. I have wasted much too much time on this issue as I am sure millions of girls and women have too.
The beast is our failure to see the real beauty in it all.
Monika M. Basile