Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
I’ve had a problem with my looks for as long as I can remember. I hated the brownness of my skin that I was belittled for. I loathed the crookedness of my teeth which caused me to never smile. I despised the awkwardness of the hair on my head to the hair on my arms which led to constantly wearing jackets, even on the hottest of days. I was never satisfied with how I looked. Despite all those insecurities, my appearance was never my main priority in my youth. It was just one thing I detested, but learned to deal with. However, as time flew, that changed. I grew and learned that looks play a big role in society. As my awareness grew, so did my insecurity.
The journey to learning to love myself is truly a hard one. The struggle to accepting myself thrived during my sophomore and junior years. My obsession with society’s beauty standards was at its peak and my confidence was at an all time low. During this time, my appearance changed a lot compared to my younger self. I got braces to straighten the teeth, learned how to use curling irons, and my skin became a lot brighter. One would think that these changes would have helped with how I viewed myself, but they didn’t. Everyone has their own flaws and no one is more aware of them than the person who has them. Not only did I focus on my imperfections, I also came to struggle greatly with my identity. I heard countless times at a young age that light, fair skin is beautiful. When I found myself having this light complexion, I was mocked.
Teased for not looking like my family or being too pale to be hispanic. I wasn’t a real Mexican. My focus on weight didn’t help my situation. Body image is an easy way for poor self esteem issues to take hold. I compared the perfections of others to my flaws which made me feel less beautiful. My thoughts consisted of what I could be rather than what I was. The great amount of discomfort and self consciousness that consumed my mind eventually led to low self-esteem. I felt inferior to everybody. However, what I failed to remember was that beauty doesn’t come in just one form. The body positivity movement meant to eradicate the beauty standard helped me accept my flaws. It helped me realize that others aren’t judging us; they have their own insecurities to deal with. It’s our own anxious thoughts that keep us trapped. It’s easier to compare yourself to others when you’re surrounded by people you wish you could be. Seeing others with similar thoughts let me know I wasn’t alone. I’m working on not only accepting my flaws, but embracing them, and learning to not view them as flaws but just something that makes me who I am. My confidence may not be the highest, but I can say that today I’m more sure of who I am, and eventually I hope to love myself completely.