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Content warning: mentions of self-hate and body image issues. Reader discretion is advised.

Sometimes, I have days where I feel ugly. Where I look in the mirror and no matter what I do, I can’t fix it. Where I consider not even leaving my dorm for the day because I don’t want anyone to look at me.

From a young age, I learned to hate my appearance. In the fourth grade, I was writing down the calories of everything I ate in a day, and I set a rule for myself to not eat anything over 200 calories. In the sixth grade, I started straightening my hair every day because a girl in my class told me it looked pretty once, and from that point forward I believed that was the only way for it to look pretty. In the eighth grade, I refused to go to school without caking foundation onto my face.

I’ve wanted to be able to heal and grow from these thoughts since I realized how toxic they are, but I find myself still avoiding all of the tighter tops in my dresser like a plague. At eighteen years old I am still staring at myself wishing I had a different nose or clearer skin or smaller hips. I hang out with my beautiful friends, and I think of how ugly I must look next to them. Sometimes all I do is sit in class and worry about how my appearance is being perceived by the people around me. 

The thing is, I don’t look at other girls and think that they;re ugly, so why do I think that of myself? Why can I find beauty in everyone except myself? Why do I feel like there’s no point of existence if others don’t think I’m pretty?

 It makes me wonder where I was taught that my beauty equals my worth, or how I even came to the conclusion that I’m not beautiful in the first place. It’s not like no one told me I was beautiful growing up, or that boys don’t pay attention to me, or people made negative comments about my body, so where did I learn that I’m not attractive? The only person who has ever really criticized what I look like is me.

Now that I’m eighteen, I’m trying to grow and heal bigger than the limits my hometown gave me, and I think part of that is becoming more at peace with my appearance. I still struggle a lot with how I look, but I’m taking small steps towards having the confidence to exist, even if I feel ugly.

Hi, I'm Sarah (she/her) and I'm a freshman at Wells!
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