If I can’t be beautiful, then I’ll be smart. This is a recent phenomenon I’ve come to embrace, as well as another reason my style is so important to me. My outer beauty is created by physical pieces strategically placed on my body, not my lovely physique peeking out behind layers of cloth. I want people to look at my clothes and not me. My process is carefully curated out of necessity.
Growing up, I heard I was pretty. Not often, but the sort of constant you hear from friends because aren’t all kids attractive? Then puberty hit. Ah, puberty. We shoot up and fill out and try to find ourselves before we are even emotionally, mentally, physically complete. The complements stopped. My appearance was in my hands now – no more clinging to youthful innocence or reasoning behind why my hair wasn’t done or my face wasn’t free of acne. Suddenly, becoming a young adult meant learning (abruptly) that not everyone is pretty, not everyone is physically attractive or meets the standards of society. Of course, these sentiments do not align with the timeframe in which they begin to occur: middle school. If you learn one thing in middle school, it’s the definition of popularity. Now academics are not the only silent war you are fighting to win.
So I erased the words “beautiful” and “pretty” from my vocabulary, except for their seemingly constant appearances when one talked about a member of the popular clan. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit – I am going on 9 years of not using any form of either of those two words when I look at myself in the mirror. I’d say it’d be pretty hard to kick the habit when I’ve formed it again and again for a total of 156 times. (Shoot me an email if you don’t understand the math… or just take my word for it.)
I could go on about how instead of hearing the word after that fateful bodily phenomenon, I continued to listen to it coincide with my younger sister’s being. But that would take days, and let’s be honest, you’re already out of patience when it comes to this article. Instead, we should forget about beauty. It’s a word that’s become a lifelong goal and therefore ruined by the recent existence of mankind. Let’s focus on intelligence…fitness…creativity… I’m sure you are adding your own values by now. Let’s stop focusing on the aspects we have little control over, and begin to improve those that we do. Let’s be recognized for our ideas, our hard work, and our innovation… because the word “beautiful” is a very ugly word.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Don’t live your life to fit someone else’s definition of a word.