In my English class, I was tasked to write an empowering speech on a topic that I felt strongly about, and of course I jumped at the chance. As quite an eccentric individual, I pride myself on the fact that I can also be quite passionate about a lot of things; hot chocolate, literature, OTPs....
And so I sat at my computer, staring at the unforgiving screen before me, and readied myself to begin, confident that I could write this thing without even stopping to think.
But when my fingers hit the keyboard, they refused to type.
No, actually, they didn't: I did. I refused to write my speech because of one simple thing: I didn't have a clue what I was writing about. I mean, in theory, I had it all planned down to the last detail: I knew the dictionary definition of body dysmorphia (because by then I had decided that my topic would be on body image), I knew the statistics that I had gotten from a quick Google search, I knew what words to use, what the right thing to say was, and what people wanted to hear me say.
But that was in theory.
I only knew how I wanted it to look on paper.
I didn't, however, have a clue on how I felt about my own body image. How could I stand before my class and preach about how we should love and accept our bodies for what they are if I didn't even know if I liked my own?
So I slammed the computer shut, quickly checked to see that I hadn't cracked the screen, and marched into my bedroom and looked at myself in the mirror.
And I don't just mean that in the literal sense, as in I looked in the mirror with my eyes and saw my reflection. No, no, no, no.....
I made myself look into the mirror with my soul. I made myself drink in every inch of my reflection: the little creases at the corners of my eyes, the size of my hips, my verging-on-porcelain complexion, the little dip in my nose from where I whacked it on a radiator aged six....
And after a while, I began to notice something. Something that I didn't like.
I noticed that the first thoughts to enter my mind were entirely negative. My nose is too long, my hips are too wide, my skin is too pale, my eyes look like diluted apple juice...
So I made a decision that day: I would not allow myself to stand before that class a hypocrite. I was going to act on what I was preaching to my classmates with immediate effect.
I started making myself look in the mirror and notice the positives. I let the negative thoughts float into my mind and evaporate like water droplets, while the positive thoughts burned at the forefront of my mind like the brightest sunshine.
And slowly but surely, I noticed a change in myself. Not in my body, not in the dip in my nose or the size of my hips, but in myself.
I was a better person for it. By making myself recognise my individual beauty, I began to also recognise the beauty in other people around me too: the different shades of someone's hair, the striking colour of someone's eyes....
And so when I eventually stood before that class and read my speech, I put my heart and soul into every word I spoke and you know what?
I meant it. Every single sentence on that paper, I meant it.
And I mean what I am telling you all now.
Beauty is not in the number on your bathroom scales, nor is it the size of the clothes you wear. Beauty is not in the magazines and images that are constantly shoved down our throats on a daily basis. Beauty is not in the eyes of other people.
True beauty comes from yourself. It comes from the positivity in your mind, in your heart and in your soul. It shines through from every inch of your being, from your glowing smile and your radiant eyes to the dips in your nose and the curve of your spine.
Beauty is around us all, every day and every day.
If only we allow it to be.
- Sunset xx