Originally posted on tumblr here on June 26, 2014.
Lately I’ve felt very comfortable in my own skin. Most days I even feel pretty. Part of this is simply due to finally perfecting the art of making myself look good. I know exactly which clothes flatter my body and personality, I know exactly what kind of makeup looks good on me, I know exactly how to do my hair, and I rarely stray from that path. But when I do that I feel prettier than I used to. Like I am “enough”. I used to feel like it wasn’t enough to just be kind of cute – I had to be cute and pretty and beautiful and hot and sexy all at once, and I was maybe only two of those things at best.
I know I’ll never be the hot girl that guys check out on the street or at the club, and I’ll never be a girl that men view as a sexual object. This used to make me sad. Now, I’m actually kind of grateful. Even when I do get hit on and grabbed, I’m intensely uncomfortable, to the point where someone is probably going to get physically injured. And I don’t think it’s just because I’m not used to it – my heart is elsewhere, and the only way I could ever be distracted from that for a moment is if something real and genuine came along. Someone who could make me laugh but also think at the same time. I don’t know if that will ever happen, but at least I’ll never have to question a guy’s motivations. Granted, yes, I do wish that I hadn’t been rejected by the two guys I have actually pursued, and that’s a major blow to my confidence and probably always will be, but it doesn’t mean I’m not pretty. Their loss, really.
I’m not really sure how this shift in attitude came about. It may have just been a combination of getting out of high school, which was full of nasty people saying nasty things, and then getting out of a relationship in which I was mostly only criticized for my appearance.
You’d think I’d feel amazing and have some sort of inspiring revelation, but…I feel the same. Feeling confident in my appearance hasn’t changed my life at all, other than making it easier and quicker to get ready in the morning. It means nothing. I guess you could say that’s my revelation.
What’s on the inside really is more important than what’s on the outside. People often apply this saying to people who are lacking in confidence, but it works the other way around too. It just doesn’t matter, period. I may be beautiful, or I may be hideous, who knows, but no matter what I wear or how I do my hair, nothing I can do to my exterior will change how I feel inside.
I’m pretty happy with a lot of the more superficial aspects of my life now – my appearance, my internship, school, my extracurriculars, some of my friends, my family sometimes. I float along, absorbed in these things, feeling relatively happy, but then I’ll somehow be reminded of relationships that have fallen apart, people who I love but don’t want me around, and I break down. All of those superficial things seem important when you’re surrounded by people who love you, but when that love goes away you realize that they’re not. Not without those people. It’s hard to fully, 100% enjoy the work that I do, with my internship, with Active Minds, with this blog, without the person who got me here and believed in me.
So I just have to push through those moments, try not to cry, and make a mental list of all the things I’d want to tell them if I ever got the chance. Big things, like new relationships and new jobs, but little things too, like those seemingly meaningless things that are suddenly so special with someone you love. Like the cute outfit I was wearing today, or the sweet deals I got at the grocery store (literally the most exciting part of my week), or something I heard about that I know they would like. But even though I push it down, further and further all the time so that I can keep going, it will always be there. I will always be missing something.
At worst the most I’ll allow myself to do is cry for a night, then I’ll take a shower, get cleaned up, maybe do my hair or my nails, and pick out a cute outfit for tomorrow. And I will feel pretty.
Chelsea Ricchio is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the SPEAK OUT blog. She is also the Communications Manager for Healthy Minds Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2015 with a BA in English Literature and Book & Media Studies. She was the former president of the student group Active Minds at UofT, which hosts SPEAK OUT events on campus (from which this blog takes its name). She was diagnosed with Dysthymia and Social Anxiety. She is 22 and lives in Toronto with her cat Genie and her roommate.