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Twelve-Year-Old You Was Beautiful—You Still Are

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Well, based on Mean Girls, the easiest things that might come to mind are your flaws.



It’s almost scary how easy it is to notice something you don’t like about yourself. The mirror sometimes feels like an  enemy instead of a friend. Or is it you who’s the culprit?



Yes and no—it’s more of the image we aspire  to be that hurts us. It’s like somewhere along the way it became a rule in our heads that we don’t deserve the same amount of compassion as others. We pick and prod at ourselves until we’re left with sad eyes and a frown reflecting back at us. But why do we do it when we know we shouldn’t? Well, there are a lot of reasons .


It’s the constant exposure to pictures in the media that point at us to be this and that and everything in between. It’s the push from different people that tell us we can’t be anything less than perfection. And then it’s the little voice in our head that follows us like a shadow waiting to pounce. The mirror always seems like the perfect place for all of these thoughts to come out.


But when that voice comes, I allow myself to see something else in the reflection. I imagine a 12-year-old with crooked glasses. Her long black hair is frizzy and wild, with a cowlick lurking on the top. She has a Hannah Montanna shirt that always leaves  her finding glitter on her arms and jeans her mom had to cut into shorts because the bottom was covered in shreds from finding stray dogs. Her pink Twinkle Toes are more brown, almost torn at the soles.


And I think: she’s beautiful. Her teeth are crooked and she definitely needs braces (trust me, I really did need some) but she’s happy. I wouldn’t dare call her ugly just because she isn’t the kind of perfect that society thinks we need.


She’s okay with who she is because she knows that perfection isn’t smooth skin and shiny white teeth, it’s the feeling of itchy grass and love from stray dogs . Years later, she forgets that sometimes, so she has to remind herself every now and again.


What better way to remember that then walking her sassy little self to a mirror and saying “Yass Queen!”



I’m going to be honest though—it won’t be easy. There will be  moments when

you’re at your lowest, when you forget that you’re so much more than you think you are. Yet those are the exact times when you have to let yourself remember the little kid you used to be in all your  crazy glory. Once upon a time, that kid was worth it . You still are.

Diana Arellano Barajas is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Arizona State University. She LOVES creating: graphics, animation, video editing, it's all fair game! Originally from a small town in Mexico, Diana currently resides in Phoenix. In her free time, if she isn't found attached to a book, she's writing about everything and anything including experimenting with visual content. Excited to write for HerCampus, Diana's ready to make readers smile, laugh, and possibly cry (in a good way). Feel free to contact her here: [email protected]
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