It’s Not All About Self Love, But Self Expression

Trigger Warning

When I was 14, I was a small, young, high school freshman girl who was very vulnerable and impressionable. Some unimportant guy, who was friends with the group of kids that bullied me, had told me that the only attractive thing about me was my hair. At the time, my hair was straight, brown, and chest length. And though this hurtful comment was devastating to me at the time, the guy who said it was so insignificant to me that I don’t remember his name or who he was. Nonetheless, I went home that night and took a shaving razor and cut all my hair off. It was an impulsive decision that I was not proud of. And it was this decision that started a long dark spiral into depression, self image issues, and unhealthy coping mechanisms.

picture: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/106749453646838098

These unhealthy coping “skills”, though they helped in the moment, were not a positive solution to my issues. I needed better ways to express my emotions and how I was feeling. I started to realize I could use my body to express who I am in a positive manner. I started to style and dye my hair different, fun colors. I began to draw on myself as a healthy coping skill; from small doodles to elaborate tattoo-style designs. I also started to dress differently. Instead of showing up in sweats every day, I started to style my own wardrobe with edgy and fun clothing. 

picture: https://killerkitten7.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/tumblr_mpvlpcmu4e1s9w5...

I was always told i should learn to love myself, but I felt that was impossible for someone like me. With both emotional and physical scars, I felt I didn't deserve to love myself. I tried journaling, writing positive affirmations, even doing worksheets about learning how to love yourself. I hated all of it. But once I started learning how to express myself through my physical appearance, self love was no longer the priority, but self expression and acceptance. I began to accept who I was through my hairstyles, colors, clothing, accessories, and art.

picture: https://www.wallpaperflare.com/white-string-light-heart-hand-glitter-gla...

Although self love is important, self expression is POWERFUL. No one can take that away from you. I once let an insignificant boy tell me whether I was beautiful or not. Now, I know that my beauty comes from me and how I choose to express myself through whatever means I want. People, especially young girls, need to learn self expression as soon as possible. We should be teaching young children these important skills. And we need to know ourselves, that it's not all about self love, but self expression.