How I Changed My Mindset and Said "I’m Pretty"

Ugly and fat.

This is how I thought about myself since I became aware of my body and my autonomy. These words seemed to find their way into my brain before any other adjective; I knew these words better before I knew how to write in proper sentences.

But, I know they aren’t true.

Every girl wants to be pretty. Pretty is a word used to describe girls since they are born. To be pretty is be valid, and if you aren’t, it could make you feel invisible.  

But, there's a big difference between being pretty and feeling pretty. When someone calls you pretty, it’s only to serve and benefit the male gaze. To feel pretty is when you hold all the power.

Growing up, I was always the fat girl. I hit puberty at a young age and I was developing light years ahead of my peers, so I always felt awkward and ugly. I was the tallest one in my grade up into middle school. And until the age of 18, I never wore two-piece swimsuits because I was so uncomfortable with my body. And to an extent, I still am, even after losing all this weight and being in a single-digit size. It’s so hard to not compare yourself to others; one girl might be curvier with a bigger butt, and another girl might be skinnier with a smaller waist.

But lately, I have been attempting to appreciate myself for who I am, recognizing my own beauty and everything that composes me. I did something I thought I’d never do; cut off all my hair. I chose to do it at the beginning of this year, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I used to be so possessive about retaining any length of hair because it made me feel feminine. But, guess what? I’m still cute.

While I do have my style muses, I don’t wish I were them; rather, I take inspiration from them. The days of my self-esteem being dependent on the mouths of others, or being in shitty relationships because I let that person have their way, have ended. I know my worth.

I think, for the first time in my life, I can call myself pretty, and it’s not because a boy told me so.


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