A Journey to Love Yourself

All my life I've had a problem with the way I looked, from my kinky thick curls, my curves and big thighs, to my dorky glasses. Everything about me I seemed to want to fix. All the other girls my age seemed to have hopped over the awkward stage. They seemed to become some beautiful butterfly with pretty straight hair, a thin stomach, cute clothes, and makeup; while I was left behind feeling like I would never love the person I was. Growing up I would ask my mom to straighten my hair or let me put her makeup on, or let me get contacts so I could see without my glasses. She would always tell me “Noah, you look so cute in your glasses” or “Noah once you chop all those beautiful curls off you’ll miss them.” and “Awh baby there is just more of you to love”.

Middle school got a lot harder, that was when everyone started liking boys and wearing makeup. For me, I was still in my awkward stage, with my frizzy hair, chunky stature, and a poor image of myself. Thinking back now, these things weren’t bad I was just a regular 11 year old. I missed spots when I shaved, I was embarrassed about my period, and I hadn’t quite grown into my chest yet if you know what I mean. Even though now it seems normal, back then it seemed like the end of the world. I was hopeful that high school would make it 20times better, it would be my time to shine.

The 9th grade came along and unlike my previous thoughts of it getting better, my image about myself and my body had actually gotten worse. During my high school years I was still a tad overweight for my height, had frizzy hair, and didn’t really fit in anywhere. Through those four years, I did things like pom, yearbook and ran track but something was missing I still didn’t like myself. I felt like every other girl around me was always going to be better than I was. I got up early every morning all four years, did a full face of makeup with lashes and all, perfectly pressed my hair and always felt the need to put myself in a cute outfit. This was my life for four years on a journey to like myself.

One day, very soon after graduation before I started college, I woke up and I went to do my morning routine and I stopped myself. I looked into the mirror and I cried. I cried at the thought of myself letting what other people thought of me define what I thought of myself. I realized as I stared at myself that day that my frizzy and kinky hair, my curves all over my body, my goofy personality, my old track sweats and glasses on a day I'm running late are what makes me beautiful. This is what makes me me. I thought “Why have I spent all this time trying to love something that wasn’t even myself, all that makeup and pressed hair isn’t me. This is me, this is what makes me beautiful.”

Now a freshman in college I have learned to embrace my bare face and springy curls. I have learned to love every inch of myself no matter what I look like and to never let the people around define your beauty because everyone is beautiful.