The title of this post was a request from someone who had read a couple of my other blog posts, and was somewhat alarmed by the tone.
So there you have it: A blog post titled I Am Beautiful.
You also need to know that I strive to create a world where women don't have to make affirmations like that. I've explored my self-image in this space on separate occasions, and even if it seems to be a fractured reflection in a cracked mirror, that is no excuse for other people's petty cruelty towards anyone that does not fall into their specific, and often narrow, definition of "beautiful". Believe me when I say, that when you post to your blog with a title like this one, the anonymity provided by the internet will bring you unlimited numbers of people gleefully willing to list all of the reasons you are not, which is why I was reluctant to use this title.
The world is a very big place, and there is room in it for more than one strictly enforced, exceptionally hard to attain, definition of "beautiful". And goodness only knows that just because someone has the desired physical appearance, there is no guarantee that what is going on on the inside is beautiful in any way, shape, or form. But I have talked about that before as well.
This blog post is not about either of those ideas.
Somewhere in the world tonight, a girl is looking at herself in the mirror, and wondering why her classmates are so mean about her super frizzy hair. No, it doesn't look like the girls in the magazines, but she thinks it's okay. Her parents tell her to suck it up, and that people are mean in general, and to get used to it, not knowing that their ideas about "toughening her up" are only partially useful. Yes, people can be short-sighted and evil, and kids are often no more than their parents instill in them at a certain age, but it wouldn't hurt to explain these things while emphasizing that other people's opinion of you is none of your business no matter how hard they try to make it so.
Somewhere else in the world tonight, a teenager is contemplating another Monday at school, where she has to wonder why she gets the grief she does from both her peers, and now, even some of the teachers in her life. Whip-smart, funny and kind almost to a fault, she has begun to notice that she is treated more harshly than her conventionally attractive peers. She is in the season in her life where she is exploring her identity, and the negative feedback she receives for her maybe too brown skin and prominent ethnic features has her questioning her worth in ways that, if not countered with any positive messages about accepting oneself as is, and being comfortable in one's own skin, could lead to devastating psychological consequences.
In yet another location, a woman stares in her closet for the thousandth time, wondering what to wear to work in order to best camouflage her "flaws", whether real or imagined. Stomach not flat by any means; hips maybe a little too wide, breasts not as, well, anything, as they once were. She contemplates the inevitable signs of aging, and silently laments the teeth she never had a chance to get straightened. She does all of the right and correct things regarding eating in moderation and getting regular physical activity, and yet she still just looks like, well, herself. She gets dressed in everything she needs for the day, including the mask she wears to hide the fact that she is thinking anything other than all is right in her world, knowing that if she shows her actual vulnerability, there are those in the world that will see it, and take it as license to show her absolutely no mercy.
And I know them, and they know me.
We are all bound spiritually by the knowledge that not conforming to convention can make for an attractive target for some of the worst people. What that we could live in a world where we could live in the peace of being comfortable with our imperfection. Whatever we want to fix would be between us and the God of our choosing, and those that would spew their own insecurities and negativity in our direction would either keep it to themselves, for once, or re-direct their energies into changing whatever it is that they don't like about themselves that causes them to expend their venom on others.
If you still don't get the point: Whatever you think of what someone looks like is on you, and yes everyone is entitled to their opinion. But no one with an ounce of decency would dare to treat anyone like less of a person merely because they do not find them aesthetically pleasing.
No. you don't get to treat people badly because you don't like the way they look. Most people have more than enough going on in their lives without you dumping your fears and projections onto them. Keep that crap to yourself.
If my experiences on the internet, or in real life, are any example, that might be too much to hope for.
But a girl can dream, can't she?