Wednesday, September 3, 2014

embracing individuality

I am beautiful. All of me. My smile is beautiful. The dimple in my chin is beautiful. My legs are beautiful. My wild curls are beautiful. My eyes are beautiful. All of me is beautiful. Being able to write or say those things and actually mean them isn't something I was always able to do. It's taken years to be able to get to a place where I am comfortable with myself and in my own skin, but I'm finally here and it feels wonderful.

It wasn't until I was in sixth grade that I really started to be aware of my body and how it compared to others. I remember one of my "friends" scoffing at me when I wore a pair of shorts to school one day. I was so confused as to why anyone would care. It was hot out and the shorts were comfortable. I wasn't wearing them to look a certain way. Looking back now I realize it was because that girl was already insecure about her body. At the age of twelve she was already telling herself that she wouldn't look good in shorts, and she was somehow jealous that I was confident enough to do so. In elementary school I had someone tell me that my hair felt like "horse hair." I was made fun of all the time in middle school for having small breasts. In high school someone asked me if I was ever going to have surgery to remove the birthmark on my ankle.
I didn't come from a home where looks were judged at all. My parents always told me I was beautiful (and smart) no matter what I wore, how I did my hair, ect. It was strange to me to have people make fun of my for things I had no control over. According to my mom, when my dad first saw me after I was born, the first thing he said was that I had my mom's chin dimple. I love that story. But in high school, people made fun of my "butt chin." My birthmark went from "special" and "unique" to something I should have corrected. My slim athletic body wasn't womanly enough. My light skin went from "fair" to "pale" and "sickly."

The first magazine I ever had a subscription to was Cat Fancy. It came in the mail to me for years. Then I bought my first issue of YM. Then an issue of Seventeen. Slowly the cat magazines were phased out and were replace by the the sweet smelling brightly colored magazines for women. By the end of high school I had a subscription to Teen Vogue, Glamour, Elle, Cosmo Girl, and Seventeen. So THESE were the girls that everyone expected me to look like? Suddenly I felt quite inadequate. No matter how many products I slathered on my hair it never looked like the girls on those covers. When I went bra shopping I bought bras that were way too big for me to give the impression I had something bigger than A's in my shirt. I was always very athletic, and I was a member of the volleyball, basketball, and track teams. But suddenly my strong muscular thighs were seen as "fat."

I used to want to save all my copies of those magazines so I could go back and peruse them, or so that my future daughters could go look back. But those stacks were taken to the thrift store long ago. I want my daughters looking up to REAL women, not the ones airbrushed and photoshopped in magazines.

I'm thankful I've found blogs like The Clothes Horse, The Dainty Squid, and Delightfully Tacky. Blogs like these promote the idea that all women are beautiful. You don't have to look like the people in the magazines to be beautiful. You don't have to buy clothes from the mall to look cool. You don't have to slather yourself with the products advertised on their pages to be clean and acne free. It's ok to be different. It's ok to look different and to like different things. Reading blogs like these have helped show me that confidence in who you are is the best thing you can have. Being a unique individual makes you interesting. 

I still have small boobs. My thighs aren't as muscular as they once were, but they're definitely not skinny. My hair is unruly as ever. Oh, and my birthmark's still here, too. (No, I never did have plans to remove it, and I never will.) And I'm ok with these things. More than ok. I LOVE the things that make me ME. This is ME and no one else will ever be exactly the same. I dress up and take pictures of myself. I live in a trailer. I love exploring cemeteries. I collect bones. I like to read. I make my own beauty products. I love who I am. I'm sad that I didn't always feel this way. I wish I could go back and tell that fourteen year old girl that she was beautiful. That her hair was naturally curly and she didn't have to try to smooth it out every day. That she should be proud of her slim and toned body. That the rest of life wouldn't be like high school. People wouldn't always be so cruel. I hope that I can be the same voice of reason for other girls and women. You are beautiful. Gorgeous. Smart. Embrace what makes you special.
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11 comments

Laura Mitbrodt said...

Great post!
xo
www.laurajaneatelier.com

lucinda smith said...

this is great, indy. you've come a long way and i love how confident and self-assured you are now. you ARE beautiful and so are all those features that make you unique!

Britlyn said...

I just wanted to say hello from a fellow Wisconsinite! This post is beautiful and so very relatable. Happy I found your blog!
www.positivelydreadful.com

Danielle Morgan said...

This post resonates so much with me. I was called fat in elementary school for reaching puberty before everyone else. It carried on and the self-hate became a part of who I am. It's easier to not give into the hate the older I get. Thank you for posting this. It's a wonderful reminder that I should just love and forgive myself.

wardrobeexperience said...

great post ...
it's good to embrace yourself ... but this comes to a new level when you grow older and older and parts of your body change and turn 'old' themselves ... i think, learning to love yourself as you are and will be never ends. :)

Lostvestige said...

This is a wonderful post! I've recently become more self confident too.

ThanksToFashion said...

Your photo in that princess dress reminds me so much of myself when I was a kid :) I also used to dress up a lot :)
Well, you parents are right, you look beautiful in anything.

Love from beautiful Verona,

Mahshid مهشید


http://www.facebook.com/thanks2fashion
http://www.thankstofashion.com

Abigail ~ said...

WONDERFUL post. you're amazing. i also love what you said about blogs. some of the most read blogs are by ladies who don't have 'perfect bodies'. it's so inspiring and has become a big help to my self esteem to see this.
lovely pictures. :)
-Abigail

chantilly said...

Yes!! Awesome post (also clicked over from Delightfully Tacky :)

Also, off topic but I was looking through some of your posts and OMG, I love your style!!

xx
~Chantilly

J. said...

This is a beautiful post. And so are you.

Tori said...

Fabulously written--so enjoyed this read :) It is so sad how much time and effort we put into looking "the part" when really the beauty is all in being unique!

Tori
FashionBlingGirlyThings

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