By Aaliyah Jensen, We ‘Ced Youth Media
Since I was 11, I have struggled with trying to figure out who I am and loving myself. I’ve never quite fit into a category. I’m not the pretty girl in school, or the smartest kid in the class, or the athlete who takes home all the trophies.
Making my way through middle school and high school with this identity crisis has been tough. First-hand, I know what it’s like to walk down the halls and be intimidated by all these pretty thin girls with long pretty hair and smiles, and immediately feel horrible about yourself. All it takes is a couple seconds to start questioning your own self-worth and beauty, and begin wishing you were someone else.
I guess my crisis comes from society’s faulty beauty standards. American standards and expectations for what is considered beautiful imposes unrealistic norms upon women. Skinny waists, large butts, long hair, plumped lips, long legs, toned stomachs: these are the standards that women are expected to live up to.
Everyone is beautiful in their own way. We don’t need and shouldn’t have magazines and Hollywood dictating how we view each other. It’s truly sad how rarely we are told that we are all beautiful.
Celebrities and Instagram models are praised for their unrealistic bodies. Society somehow expects us to look and act like them, and if we don’t, we’re unattractive. We obsess over trying to look and be like others so much that we lose ourselves and our own self identity. Looking a certain way doesn’t bring happiness, and until we realize that, we’ll continue to feel miserable in our own skin.
At school, I always see girls “hating” on each other because of their appearance and I find it disgusting. While I myself have been guilty of indulging in such behavior, I’ve come realize that it is wrong. When you pick apart another girl’s appearance they start to doubt themselves and feel as if they are not good enough.
We all have enough insecurities as it is, the last thing we need is someone judging us.
Magazines, media, and social media make it so hard for young girls to come to love themselves. I want to be able to walk down the halls and look at the girls around me and acknowledge their beauty while also trusting mine. I want to be freed from the shackles of America’s beauty standards. I don’t want to keep comparing myself to Kylie Jenner. I don’t want anyone to think that if they don’t look like her, they’re not attractive.
I want to be able to look in the mirror and say that I like myself for who I am, and not that I hate myself because I don’t look like the heavily photoshopped celebrities in tabloids.
Eventually, you get to a place of self-love by empowering yourself. Making yourself aware of how extraordinary you, as a person, are. You also get to a place of self-love by empowering others, making them aware of their beauty also, from the inside and out.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all perfect. I’m still on my journey to self-love and acceptance and finding who I am. But I have realized that we are all beautiful, no matter what size or body type.
Hate is such a strong force, but love is even stronger. If we could just all love who we are, and love each other’s differences we could truly accept ourselves and everyone around us. If we are all liberated, then no one can tear each other down. I am who I am. I am beautiful in my own way and I am happy with that.
Read the original version of Aaliyah Jensen’s piece at We ‘Ced Youth Media.