Saturday, May 3, 2014

But Then She Grew Up

No one ever called her beautiful, or even pretty really, and she noticed that. She was the girl who everyone called “nice” and “sweet”. At her young, vulnerable age, those were not the adjectives she wanted by her name. She wanted to remove “nice” and “sweet” and replace them with “beautiful” and “pretty” She was good at noticing things, and she realized that pretty is what mattered to the world at her age. Many people told her that what’s on the inside is more important than outer beauty, but she wasn't ready to believe it. She was mad at her body, mad because it didn't work the way it was supposed to, mad because it wouldn't let her be an athlete, or even wear cute outfits  without having to cover up things. Mad that it was all scarred up as a result of ugly surgeries, which were a necessary evil she wished she could forget. Mad that it was flawed in ways that couldn't be hidden.
    But then she grew up. She deliberately chose to try to love herself. She began to understand that pretty will only take you so far, and in the real world you need some other qualities to get by. She realized that pretty won’t help you pass your classes, or get you genuine friends. Pretty doesn't cause permanent happiness. Pretty won’t get you to heaven.
    To be completely honest, she still didn't look in the mirror and  see a beautiful girl. She still didn't like to look at pictures of herself. Her scars and imperfections were still there, and they always would be, but she began to realize that they were permanent symbols of everything she had survived, like imperfect badges of honor. She began to find happiness in more important things. She began to spend less time thinking about what she looked like and more time focusing on making friends and being present in the moment. She began to take pride in her accomplishments and that pride helped start the rebuilding of her confidence.

    She accepted that she would never be beautiful by the world’s standards, and accepting that fact allowed her to get on with the business of living life. So she would never be the beautiful one everyone was mesmerized by, and she would never be one of those girls who is constantly complimented on her looks. She realized now that there were positive qualities about herself that she could focus on, instead of the things she didn't like. Now she finally knew that even though she would still go through days when her confidence was low, she would find a way to be okay, because for the first time she saw beauty inside herself that couldn't be reflected into a mirror.
Young Jennie who was not yet worried about the world's opinions of her, and older Jennie, who is trying to regain that state of mind.

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