Owning My Beauty Past High School: I Am Proud of Who I'm Becoming

7 years ago

Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one’s self and influence the lives of those around us – our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.

Now I must first admit that for my entire life, I have never owned up to my own beauty. In fact, I am as self-deprecating as they come. People have told me my entire life that I was beautiful, but I have never truly believed it. No matter how many compliments I'd receive, I always manage to chalk it up to polite conversation.

When I was in high school, I was a petite size 5 with blonde waist length hair and 36 D breasts. I dressed like a cross between Tank Girl and Cher from Clueless and really was quite striking. However, I never felt beautiful. I was always ostracized by the other girls and boys would only speak to me in secret. At night I would listen to The Cure while crying and cutting myself. Yes, I was a cutter, too. In my mind, everyone else was far more beautiful than me, and my place was sitting alone.

One day, my mother picked me up early for a doctor's appointment, and as we were taking a shortcut down an alley, I saw the prettiest, skinniest girl and remarked to my mother that I wished I looked like her. To my astonishment, my mother informed me that I had not seen the entire picture. I had only noticed a skinny, pretty brunette walking down the alley. What I failed to notice was her arms crossed over her stomach, her reddened face and the tears streaming down her cheeks. How had I missed that? I was so consumed by jealousy and inferiority that I had failed to see the entire picture. I promised myself I would never forget that girl, or what I had failed to see.

Flash forward to last weekend.

A friend of mine hired me to do her and her sister's make-up for a Halloween wedding, and we met early for breakfast. Now Alysia and I had not actually been friends in high school. I had seen her around, and she knew who I was, but our paths did not cross until after high school when we became friends. Over coffee, we began catching up and explaining to her boyfriend how we knew each other, and she stated something to the effect of, “Tori was this super gorgeous blonde; she was intimidating. Girls talked a lot behind her back, but no one actually knew her.” As she continued to speak, I began running her words through my head over and over ... they were intimidated by me? All that time, all that loneliness, all of that fear that no one liked me, every cut and tear and lonely moment I had in high school may have been tied to myself being pretty and blonde. It really opened my mind that we are all intimidated by each other’s beauty at some point.

Since high school, my weight has fluctuated more than my moods, my boobs are still big and my hair is no longer completely blonde. In fact, when I first gained weight after high school, I actually noticed that girls were nicer to me. What a Catch-22! Skinny and pretty, girls talk smack and I feel good about my body. Chubby and pretty, girls are less intimidated and they take the time to get to know me, but I feel constantly disgusted with my own body. Go figure!

So here I am, still a work in progress. As of today, I will work harder to own my beauty and not be so hard on myself. I will tell the girl in the mirror that she is gorgeous, and I will not ask my husband if he minds that I am 60 pounds heavier since we got together. I am a caring, intelligent woman with hips to bear children (or at least for now, chocolate cake) and I am proud of who I am becoming as a person.

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